Congratulations Paladins and the entire Furman Family

March 20, 2023

Dear Furman Family,

How about those Paladins!

I know you all join me in congratulating our men’s basketball team, Coach Bob Richey and his staff, and our entire Athletics department for their success all season, and especially for their historic win over the University of Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

We encountered a more difficult opponent on Saturday, but our team, and our university, had already made an indelible impression on the tournament and on the country. Not just because of our play, but because of our character. I was so proud to hear Coach Richey and our players in interviews after the game. They were poised, confident and introspective, just what we hope The Furman Advantage instills in our students.

All of our student-athletes play such important and integral roles at Furman. Their dedication and hard work, in addition to their academic responsibilities, is admirable, and our faculty and staff are to be commended for teaching, mentoring and supporting them. Athletics, and other activities, from our stellar mock trial teams to our band (which won the top prize at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland on Friday) give Furman unique opportunities to showcase our excellence and share our story, inspiring donors and sparking pride among alumni.

While I felt immense pride in our team and our coaching staff for winning in the NCAA Tournament, what I was proudest of was the way the games brought us together to support something bigger than ourselves, and bigger even than a game. On Thursday, we experienced a collective ecstatic feeling, as evidenced by hoarse voices and tears of joy. And on Saturday we all shouldered a bruising defeat, but with certainty that we will be back.

On Thursday, some national news headlines asked, “What is a Paladin?” What their stories didn’t explain is that at Furman, our teams and our community are one. We are all Paladins. We come from disparate places and diverse backgrounds, our varied perspectives strengthening the whole, and our shared ideals and values are larger than any one person. We are focused, determined and worthy of celebration.

Congratulations to Coach Richey and our men’s basketball team – and to the entire Furman Family. Thank you for a memorable season and all you do for Furman University!


Elizabeth Davis