Western Carolina Catamounts

Are part of the Southern Conference, were established in 1889, and their home arena is the Ramsey Center, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
Western Carolina Catamounts

Embarking on a journey through the rich history of the Western Carolina Catamounts men’s basketball team is to explore a narrative filled with resilience, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of greatness. Representing Western Carolina University in the Southern Conference, this team has not only showcased its skill on the court but also epitomized the spirit of collegiate sportsmanship. Their story, woven into the fabric of NCAA basketball, reflects a unique combination of talent, teamwork, and a deep-rooted passion for the game.

The Historical Tapestry of Western Carolina Catamounts

The Western Carolina Catamounts basketball program’s evolution is a tale of growth and achievement. Since their first team in the 1928-29 season, they have consistently built a legacy of competitive spirit and athletic excellence. Early successes included winning the 1930 Southeastern Junior College championship and several appearances in the NAIA tournament starting in 1947. Under the guidance of Coach Jim Gudger in the 1950s and 1960s, the Catamounts enjoyed their first 20-win season, multiple conference championships, and appearances in NAIA tournaments. The transition to NCAA Division I was a significant milestone, culminating in a Southern Conference tournament victory in 1996 and the team’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

 The Golden Era – The Larry Hunter Years

The tenure of Coach Larry Hunter from 2005 to 2018 marked a golden era for the Catamounts. Hunter, a visionary coach, revitalized the team, leading them to their first winning season in the new millennium. His leadership saw the team clinching co-Southern Conference North Division titles and making significant post-season appearances. The 2009-10 season was particularly notable, with the Catamounts achieving a 22-12 record and participating in the CIT. Hunter’s legacy is defined by his ability to build a competitive and resilient team that consistently challenged its rivals and aspired for greater heights.

The Current Landscape

The Western Carolina Catamounts continue to evolve under the leadership of current head coach Justin Gray. The team has faced a mix of successes and challenges in recent years, navigating the complexities of the competitive NCAA landscape and the unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. This period has tested and showcased the team’s adaptability and resilience, underlining their commitment to maintaining a high standard of basketball excellence.

 Legendary Figures in Western Carolina Catamounts History

Several individuals have left an indelible mark on the Western Carolina Catamounts’ history. Coaches like Jim Gudger and Larry Hunter have been instrumental in shaping the team’s destiny, guiding them through periods of growth and success. Players who went on to have successful NBA careers, such as Kevin Martin, have also played a pivotal role in the team’s development and reputation. These legendary figures represent the excellence and spirit that define Catamounts basketball.

Western Carolina Catamounts [year] Schedule

Regular Season

Week Date Opponent Result
Week 1 Date: Tue 07/11/2023 Opponent: Dalton St. Roadrunners Result: W 106-65
Week 1 Date: Sat 11/11/2023 Opponent: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Result: W 71-61
Week 2 Date: Mon 13/11/2023 Opponent: Middle Tennessee St. Blue Raiders Result: W 66-64
Week 2 Date: Sat 18/11/2023 Opponent: McNeese St. Cowboys Result: W 76-74
Week 3 Date: Sun 26/11/2023 Opponent: North Alabama Lions Result: W 81-63
Week 4 Date: Tue 28/11/2023 Opponent: Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles Result: W 69-65
Week 4 Date: Sat 02/12/2023 Opponent: Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs Result: L 77-82
Week 5 Date: Tue 05/12/2023 Opponent: High Point Panthers Result: L 71-97
Week 5 Date: Sat 09/12/2023 Opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs Result: W 78-63
Week 6 Date: Sat 16/12/2023 Opponent: South Carolina Upstate Spartans Result: W 70-53
Week 7 Date: Tue 19/12/2023 Opponent: Vanderbilt Commodores Result: W 63-62
Week 7 Date: Thu 21/12/2023 Opponent: Brescia Bearcats Result: W 85-47
Week 8 Date: Sat 30/12/2023 Opponent: King College Tornado Result: W 90-62
Week 9 Date: Wed 03/01/2024 Opponent: The Citadel Bulldogs Result: W 80-71
Week 9 Date: Sat 06/01/2024 Opponent: Wofford Terriers Result: W 70-66
Week 10 Date: Wed 10/01/2024 Opponent: East Tennessee St. Buccaneers Result: W 80-66
Week 10 Date: Sat 13/01/2024 Opponent: Mercer Bears Result: W 64-52
Week 11 Date: Tue 16/01/2024 Opponent: Samford Bulldogs Result: L 71-75
Week 11 Date: Sat 20/01/2024 Opponent: Furman Paladins Result: L 62-65
Week 12 Date: Wed 24/01/2024 Opponent: UNC Greensboro Spartans Result: L 82-85
Week 12 Date: Sat 27/01/2024 Opponent: VMI Keydets Result: W 102-77
Week 13 Date: Wed 31/01/2024 Opponent: Chattanooga Mocs Result: L 85-91
Week 13 Date: Sat 03/02/2024 Opponent: Wofford Terriers Result: L 86-88
Week 14 Date: Wed 07/02/2024 Opponent: The Citadel Bulldogs Result: W 71-64
Week 14 Date: Sat 10/02/2024 Opponent: Mercer Bears Result: W 79-46
Week 15 Date: Wed 14/02/2024 Opponent: Samford Bulldogs Result: L 62-88
Week 15 Date: Sat 17/02/2024 Opponent: East Tennessee St. Buccaneers Result: W 70-65
Week 16 Date: Wed 21/02/2024 Opponent: UNC Greensboro Spartans Result: L 65-71
Week 16 Date: Sat 24/02/2024 Opponent: VMI Keydets Result: W 84-51
Week 17 Date: Wed 28/02/2024 Opponent: Furman Paladins Result: W 85-77
Week 17 Date: Sat 02/03/2024 Opponent: Chattanooga Mocs Result: W 82-63

Post Season

Week Date Opponent Result
Conf. Tournament Date: Sat 09/03/2024 Opponent: Furman Paladins Result: L 76-79

Home of Western Carolina Catamounts: Ramsey Center

The Ramsey Center, the home arena of the Western Carolina Catamounts since 1986, is more than just a basketball venue; it is a symbol of the team’s spirit and history. With a capacity of over 7,800, it has been the site of some of the most memorable moments in Catamounts’ basketball history. The record crowd at the opening game against N.C. State and the hosting of major teams like Kansas, Florida State, and South Carolina underscore the significance of this venue in the Catamounts’ storied history.