ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The 2019-20 Southern Conference Basketball Tip Off took place Monday at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. All 10 league men’s head coaches and all eight women’s head coaches were on hand to meet the media and local supporters.
Both sets of coaches met with the local and regional media members in attendance. The women’s coaches made the media rounds in the morning while the men’s coaches met with new SoCon Commissioner Jim Schaus. In the afternoon session, the roles reversed.
In between, there was a reception and luncheon in which Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission President Demp Bradford and Schaus addressed the league’s coaches, media, local organizing committee, sponsors and select elected officials from the community.
The men’s and women’s preseason polls and all-conference teams were also highlighted during the luncheon, with Furman picked by the women’s coaches to win the league and four-time defending regular-season champion and two-time defending tournament champion Mercer picked by the SoCon media to win the league. Wofford redshirt senior guard Chloe Wanink was tabbed the preseason player of the year.
On the men’s side, ETSU was the consensus choice between the coaches and media to win the league. UNC Greensboro junior guard Isaiah Miller was the named preseason player of the year.
The regular season begins Nov. 5 for both the men and women, with seven men’s teams and five women’s squads taking the floor on opening night.
All 18 teams will be back in Asheville in March for the 2020 Ingles SoCon Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. Tickets will go on sale Nov. 1. The 2020 edition of the tournament will be the 100th, as the SoCon championship is the nation’s oldest collegiate basketball tournament.
Southern Conference Basketball Tip Off attendees
The Citadel: Duggar Baucom (men)
ETSU: Brittney Ezell (women) and Steve Forbes (men)
Furman: Jackie Carson (women) and Bob Richey (men)
Mercer: Susie Gardner (women) and Greg Gary (men)
UNC Greensboro: Trina Patterson (women) and Wes Miller (men)
Samford: Carley Kuhns (women) and Scott Padgett (men)
Chattanooga: Katie Burrows (women) and Lamont Paris (men)
VMI: Dan Earl (men)
Western Carolina: Kiley Hill (women) and Mark Prosser (men)
Wofford: Jimmy Garrity (women) and Jay McAuley (men)