A Brief History of Clayton State Athletics
Founded in September of 1989 with the hiring of Mason Barfield as the first Director of Athletics and head men’s basketball coach, Clayton State Athletics began competition as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1990 before becoming a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1997.
Starting with just men’s basketball that first year, the program expanded to include women’s basketball a year later and men’s soccer in 1992. With the proposed move to the NCAA, first begun in 1994 at the behest of new president Rick Skinner, the Lakers sport offerings grew to include women’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s golf and men’s and women’s cross country by the fall of 1995, just under a year long process from start to finish.
With the major changes already underway with the program, another came that same fall as the entire athletics program was granted membership in the Peach Belt Conference. Clayton State was a provisional member from 1995-1997 before gaining eligibility to compete for league championships and automatic berths in NCAA Tournament competition beginning in the Fall of 1997. In 1998 and 2005, respectively, the addition of men’s and women’s outdoor and indoor track & field would bring the program to its current complement of 12 intercollegiate sports.
In the 26-year history of the program, Lakers student-athletes have produced an incredible 60 NCAA Tournament Appearances, 11 Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championships, 14 PBC Tournament Titles and 72 All-Americans, all with just 12 sports. Highlighting these performances is the 2010-11 women’s basketball program, which claimed the first NCAA Division II National Championship in program history, doing so with a commanding 69-50 victory over Michigan Tech on March 25, 2011 in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Clayton State Championship History
In just 26 years, Clayton State Athletics has produced a rich championship tradition. In that time they have earned a total of 60 titles and every program has had at least four champions. Women's basketball has delivered an amazing 17 championships, including the only NCAA Division II title in the history of the Southeast Region.
They are followed by men's soccer and men's outdoor track & field with eight titles apiece while men's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, women's soccer, men's golf and women's tennis each have four. Women's outdoor track & field rounds out the championship pedigree with three titles.
Most recently Job Kemboi claimed the 2014 Peach Belt Cross Country Championship as an individual and the PBC 5,000-meter championship. The most recent team championship was women's basketball earning the 2013-14 Peach Belt Conference Regular Season championship.