Furman University 2023 President’s Report


What does the next generation of student athletes need to thrive, to achieve, to belong?

Furman Athletics answers this question by building on its mission, not only for today’s competitors and those who come after them, but for the citizens our student-athletes will become after they graduate.

At Furman, this means creating a culture of mentoring and belonging, and building on our reputation for combining academic excellence and athletic achievement.

Furman Athletics is guided by these values to win – for the exhilarating moments, the finish line, the buzzer, the leaderboard – but also to realize a guiding vision, a long-term project to develop the student-athletes of the future and to support the enduring success of the university.

In this same way, philanthropist and businessman Ravenel Curry ’63 is building on the deep and historic commitment of the Furman community to strengthen the future of the university through giving. His $10 million pledge in January, anchoring a $40 million renovation of Timmons Arena, will give Furman athletes and fans a premier facility. These renovations will directly advance Furman basketball and the prestige of the university while helping to advance the long-term success of Furman Athletics.

This past year was remarkable for many other reasons. The men’s basketball team made its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1980, after capturing their first Southern Conference Tournament title in 43 years. No. 13 seed Furman then defeated No. 4 seed Virginia, 68-67, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The football team claimed a 31-6 first-round FCS playoff win over Elon, and both men’s and women’s cross country recorded their 10th straight SoCon titles.

Meanwhile, Furman student-athletes, coaches and staff representing Furman’s 18 intercollegiate sports collected a combined 710 individual honors and awards across school, conference, NCAA and sports and professional organizations.

Paladins also excelled academically. Half of our student-athletes earned Dean’s List honors, 36 of them had perfect 4.0 GPAs, 234 made the 2022- 23 SoCon Academic Honor Roll, and the overall grade-point average for the spring semester was 3.37. Sixty student-athletes earned Commissioner’s Medals for posting GPAs of 3.8 or higher for the year, and 98 were named to the SoCon’s fall and spring All- Academic Teams.

A $40 million impact
For the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Furman gained $40.1 million worth of media value, according to an analysis conducted by The Nielsen Co., which factored in social engagement, TV coverage, and print, TV and web news mentions of Furman. According to Nielsen, Furman would have had to spend the same amount on paid advertisements to reap a comparable benefit. Since March 1, the @FurmanPaladins accounts have had over 3 million impressions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To greater heights
Several former Paladins reminded us that athletic excellence can extend beyond Furman and into remarkable professional careers. Walker Zimmerman ’15 played for the U.S. team in the World Cup, Stanford Jennings ’84 was elected to the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame, Ryan Miller ’22 signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent and Jalen Slawson ’23 became the first Paladin to be drafted since 1984 when he was chosen in the NBA’s second round by the Sacramento Kings.

Division 1
SoCon championships
(in 2022)

Achievements at the highest levels

  • 6 NCAA team tournament qualifiers
  • 6 Southern Conference Player of the
    Year awards
  • 6 Southern Conference championships
  • 2 Southern Conference Coach of the
    Year awards:
    • Robert Gary, women’s cross country
    • Matt Davidson ’04, men’s golf

Southern Conference Male
Athlete of the Year

  • Jalen Slawson ’23, men’s basketball

Southern Conference Female
Athlete of the Year

  • Anna Morgan ’23, women’s golf