Men’s Basketball

Posted on July 07, 2016

Basketball was one of the first sports played at the school now known as UNCG. The university, however, did not admit degree-seeking undergraduate male students until Fall 1964, but men’s basketball was played on campus in 1932. President Julius Foust decided that year to allow young men from the Greensboro area to enroll at Woman’s College due to dire financial constraints caused by the Great Depression. A group of these students formed a basketball team, known as the Tom Cats.

One year after the era of co-education was ushered in with the enrollment of male undergraduates in 1964, Frank Pleasants was hired to coordinate competitive athletics for male students at UNCG. The first team to see competition was the men’s basketball team, which formed in October 1967. The team officially adopted the “Spartans” as their mascot. Pleasants noted they “were looking for a name which had a masculine ring, and one also which had associated with it a tradition of courage.” The first Spartan men’s basketball squad, coached by Jim Swiggett, faced College of Charleston in its opening game on November 20, 1967. While the match with Charleston was a close one, ultimately a lack of height coupled with a lack of experience resulted in a one-point loss for UNCG (80-79).

The 1979-1980 men’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament behind David Whiteside, who led the nation in free throw percentage. The Spartans transitioned from Division III to Division II in 1988, and from Division II to Division I in 1991. Since moving to Division I competition in the 1991-1992 season, the men’s basketball team has made two NCAA Tournament appearances (1996 and 2001).

Three men’s basketball players’ jerseys have been retired by UNCG Athletics: Kyle Hines (#42), Courtney Eldridge (#23), and Scott Hartzell (#5).


Head Coaches:

  • Jim Swiggett (1967-1975)
  • Jack Mehl (1975-1978)
  • Larry Harget (1979-1982)
  • Ed Douma (1982-1984)
  • Bob McEvoy (1984-1991)
  • Mike Dement (1991-1995)
  • Randy Peele (1995-1999)
  • Fran McCaffery (1999-2005)
  • Mike Dement (2005-2011)
  • Wes Miller (2011-present)
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