If we’ve learned anything at all from the past five years of conference realignment, it’s that two things ultimately matter for schools looking to improve their lot in life: recent football success and the ability to tap into large sums of money. And not necessarily in that order.
The Sun Belt is set to announce Coastal Carolina as its 12th member on Tuesday. The Chanticleers beat out Eastern Kentucky in a vote of Sun Belt presidents on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. Eastern Kentucky has played football since 1909, winning national championships in 1979 and 1982, claiming 21 conference titles and 20 playoff appearances. The Colonels play in 20,000-seat Roy Kidd Stadium. Coastal Carolina, on the other hand, didn’t launch football until 2003, and its home, Brooks Stadium, holds just 9,214, well below FBS standards.
But the Chanticleers have Joe Moglia, the former banking executive and billionaire that left the business world to pursue his dream of coaching football. After a stint with Nebraska and the Omaha Nighthawks, Moglia landed the Coastal head job before the 2012 season and has gone 32-10 since, reaching the FCS quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons.
“On behalf of all of us at Coastal Carolina University, I’m honored to accept the invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference,” Coastal president David A. DeCenzo said in a statement. “I am grateful to Sun Belt Commissioner, Mr. Karl Benson, for his steadfast support of CCU, and to the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors, who honored CCU by selecting their 12th member school.”
Adding the Myrtle Beach, S.C., based school will allow the Sun Belt to split into two divisions of six apiece. Coastal Carolina figures to join with Appalachian State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Troy and South Alabama in the East division, while Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State, New Mexico State and Idaho figure to from the West division.
— CCU Chanticleers (@GoCCUsports) September 1, 2015
Coastal Carolina will join the Sun Belt in all sports except football in 2016-17 and in football in time for the 2017 season.