Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs

Are part of the Big South Conference, were established in 1905, and their home arena is Paul Porter Arena, Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs

The journey of the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs in NCAA basketball is a compelling narrative of perseverance, teamwork, and achievement. Situated in the heart of North Carolina, this team, though not as widely known as some of its colossal counterparts, has etched its name in the annals of collegiate basketball with its unique attributes, rich history, and a culture that resonates with tenacity and unity. The story of the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs is not just about basketball; it’s about a community’s passion, a university’s spirit, and an unwavering drive to excel against all odds.

Intriguing Facts About the Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs

The Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs’ history is peppered with fascinating facts that reveal the depth and breadth of the program. Perhaps the most significant milestone is their first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2019, a testament to the program’s growth and competitive spirit. This landmark event was so impactful that it became the subject of a documentary titled “The Dancin’ Bulldogs”, chronicling the team’s journey. Demonstrating a unique achievement, Gardner-Webb stands as the only Division I school in North Carolina to have clinched championships in football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball since 2019.

This feat highlights the university’s overall athletic prowess. The team’s roster reflects a global outreach, with players hailing from countries like Nigeria and the UK, illustrating the program’s diverse and inclusive nature. Lastly, the Paul Porter Arena, serving as the team’s fortress since 1982, is more than just a venue; it’s a symbol of the community’s unwavering support and the team’s enduring legacy.

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The Historical Tapestry of the Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs

Tracing back its roots, the Gardner-Webb basketball program has undergone a remarkable evolution. From its early days, the team has steadily climbed the ranks, participating in various national tournaments at the NJCAA, NAIA, and NCAA Division II levels, before ascending to the NCAA Division I stage. This journey is a narrative of a small program’s undying commitment to excellence, overcoming challenges, and gradually building a reputation that commands respect in the collegiate basketball landscape. The team’s history is not just a series of wins and losses; it’s a story of a community rallying behind its team, fostering a culture of hard work, and instilling a sense of pride that transcends the boundaries of the basketball court.

The Golden Era

The recent years, particularly the 2018-2019 season, stand out as a golden era in the history of Gardner-Webb’s basketball program. Under the stewardship of head coach Tim Craft, the team not only clinched its first NCAA tournament appearance but also signaled its emergence as a formidable force in college basketball. This era was characterized by strategic gameplay, skillful execution, and a coaching philosophy that emphasized teamwork, resilience, and a winning mindset. Players from this period left an indelible mark with their talent and dedication, contributing to the team’s growing legacy and setting new benchmarks for the program.

Legendary Figures in Gardner-Webb History

Throughout its history, Gardner-Webb’s basketball program has been shaped by influential figures who have left an indelible mark on its legacy. Coach Tim Craft stands out as a pivotal figure in the team’s recent success, guiding them to their first NCAA tournament appearance and instilling a culture of winning. Former players like David Efianayi have also played a crucial role, not only in terms of on-court performances but also in inspiring future generations of players.

A Game to Remember

Among the many memorable games in the program’s history, the Big South Conference Championship game on March 10, 2019, holds a special place. This game was not just a win; it was a historic moment that secured the team’s first NCAA Tournament appearance, marking a new chapter in the program’s history. The game exemplified the team’s fighting spirit, strategic acumen, and the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs [year] Schedule

Regular Season

Week Date Opponent Result
Week 1 Date: Mon 06/11/2023 Opponent: Erskine Flying Fleet Result: W 98-58
Week 1 Date: Fri 10/11/2023 Opponent: Arkansas Razorbacks Result: L 68-86
Week 1 Date: Sun 12/11/2023 Opponent: Baylor Bears Result: L 62-77
Week 2 Date: Fri 17/11/2023 Opponent: Weber St. Wildcats Result: W 62-61
Week 2 Date: Sat 18/11/2023 Opponent: Colgate Raiders Result: L 52-59
Week 2 Date: Sun 19/11/2023 Opponent: Yale Bulldogs Result: L 70-71
Week 3 Date: Sat 25/11/2023 Opponent: Limestone Saints Result: W 92-51
Week 4 Date: Wed 29/11/2023 Opponent: Queens University of Charlotte Royals Result: L 80-83
Week 4 Date: Sat 02/12/2023 Opponent: Western Carolina Catamounts Result: W 82-77
Week 5 Date: Wed 06/12/2023 Opponent: Wofford Terriers Result: L 66-81
Week 6 Date: Mon 11/12/2023 Opponent: North Greenville Crusaders Result: W 79-60
Week 6 Date: Tue 12/12/2023 Opponent: Erskine Flying Fleet Result: TBD
Week 6 Date: Sat 16/12/2023 Opponent: Appalachian St. Mountaineers Result: L 59-80
Week 7 Date: Tue 19/12/2023 Opponent: Chattanooga Mocs Result: L 66-69
Week 7 Date: Thu 21/12/2023 Opponent: Akron Zips Result: L 90-94
Week 8 Date: Sat 30/12/2023 Opponent: VCU Rams Result: L 73-87
Week 9 Date: Sat 06/01/2024 Opponent: High Point Panthers Result: L 76-85
Week 10 Date: Wed 10/01/2024 Opponent: Charleston Southern Buccaneers Result: L 74-86
Week 10 Date: Sat 13/01/2024 Opponent: Presbyterian Blue Hose Result: W 76-60
Week 11 Date: Wed 17/01/2024 Opponent: Radford Highlanders Result: W 74-68
Week 11 Date: Sat 20/01/2024 Opponent: Winthrop Eagles Result: W 79-74
Week 12 Date: Wed 24/01/2024 Opponent: Longwood Lancers Result: W 76-64
Week 12 Date: Sat 27/01/2024 Opponent: South Carolina Upstate Spartans Result: W 75-70
Week 13 Date: Wed 31/01/2024 Opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs Result: W 80-73
Week 14 Date: Wed 07/02/2024 Opponent: Presbyterian Blue Hose Result: L 75-77
Week 14 Date: Sat 10/02/2024 Opponent: High Point Panthers Result: L 62-78
Week 15 Date: Wed 14/02/2024 Opponent: Charleston Southern Buccaneers Result: W 85-77
Week 15 Date: Sat 17/02/2024 Opponent: South Carolina Upstate Spartans Result: W 73-65
Week 16 Date: Thu 22/02/2024 Opponent: Radford Highlanders Result: L 74-90
Week 16 Date: Sat 24/02/2024 Opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs Result: W 78-77
Week 17 Date: Thu 29/02/2024 Opponent: Longwood Lancers Result: W 72-69
Week 17 Date: Sat 02/03/2024 Opponent: Winthrop Eagles Result: W 65-64

Post Season

Week Date Opponent Result
Conf. Tournament Date: Fri 08/03/2024 Opponent: Presbyterian Blue Hose Result: W 61-60
Conf. Tournament Date: Sat 09/03/2024 Opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs Result: L 72-83

Home of Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs:  Paul Porter Arena

The Paul Porter Arena, the bastion of Gardner-Webb basketball, is more than just a physical structure. It’s a venue steeped in history, alive with the cheers of passionate fans, and a witness to countless memorable moments. Since 1982, this arena has been the heart of the basketball program, providing a home-court advantage that is both intimidating for opponents and comforting for the home team. Its significance goes beyond hosting games; it’s a symbol of the community’s commitment to its team and a testament to the enduring spirit of Gardner-Webb’s basketball program.

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