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FMU Celebrates Homecoming on Saturday; Pats Host Jaguars

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to Augusta State University in a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader as part of Homecoming 2004 and Senior Day festivities Saturday (Feb. 28).

The women’s basketball game will tip-off at 2 p.m. in the Smith University Center, followed by the men’s contest at 4 p.m.

Homecoming activities will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with a women’s soccer alumni match, followed at 11 a.m. by an Old Timers’ women’s basketball game, and at 11:30 a.m. by an Old Timers’ Game for men’s basketball.   Admission to the Old Timers’ events and the regularly scheduled basketball doubleheader is free.

Between noon and 2 p.m., PatriotFest will be held on the lawn between the Smith University Center and Rogers Library (or inside the Smith University Center in the event of rain).  This will include live entertainment, an All-American Food Fest, an opportunity for alumni to interact, and activities for children.

From 1:30 p.m. until approximately 5 p.m., the sixth-annual Swamp Fox Club Benefit Silent Auction, featuring sports memorabilia and merchandise, will be held in the Smith University Center gym.  Admission to the silent auction is free.  A live auction with additional items (Honda ATV, vacation packages and sports memorabilia) will take place in the university’s newly completed faculty/alumni house, The Cottage, at 6:30 p.m., following the men’s basketball game.  Tickets to the live auction will be available at the door.

Between games of the regularly scheduled basketball doubleheader, at approximately 3:45 p.m., former Patriot men’s basketball coach Lewis Hill will be inducted into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Hill, a native of Greensboro, N.C., served as the head men’s basketball coach at Francis Marion for 21 seasons, from 1976 to 1997, recording a 339-276 record.  He is responsible for 74 percent of the program’s all-time win total.  In only his second year (1977-78), he guided Francis Marion to its first winning season (20-8) and the program’s first post-season berth (NAIA District Six Tournament).  He piloted Francis Marion to its best-ever record (24-7) in 1979-80, and to the program’s only NAIA District Six championship and NAIA national tournament appearance in 1990-91. His Patriot teams won at least 19 games in 11 of his 21 seasons, including seven 20-win campaigns.  He was named NAIA District Six “Coach of the Year” twice, in 1978 and 1991.  After leaving FMU, Hill spent several years in private business, but recently returned to coaching at the high school level.  He just concluded his second year as boys’ varsity basketball coach at Woodland High School in Dorchester, S.C.

The 2004 Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at halftime of the FMU/ASU men’s game.

The 2003-04 FMU men’s basketball team will look to better Hill’s 1979-80 squad when it takes on ASU (11-15, 9-6) on Saturday.  The 24-2 Patriots will look to win their 25th contest and thereby set a new team record for victories in a season.  At 14-1 in the PBC, FMU has already locked up the No.1 seed from the North Division for next week’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament in Augusta.  However, the Patriots are still looking for their first-ever NCAA Division II tournament berth and the possibility of hosting the regional tournament.  ASU, which lost to Francis Marion 74-65 two weeks ago in Augusta, has secured the number two seed from the North Division.

Prior to the game, FMU will honor its seven seniors, guards David Hawkins, Jarron Hinton, Mike Buglione, and James McQueen; forward Randy Williams; and centers Jaquan Bracey and Petar Vujovic.  This group has helped the Patriots win 24 games this season, equaling the combined win total of the last three seasons.

The FMU women are 13-11 overall and 7-8 in the PBC, while the ASU women are 20-6 and 10-5.  The Patriots, picked to finished next-to-last in the PBC preseason coaches poll, have grabbed the No.3 seed from the North Division, and with a win Saturday against the second-place Lady Jaguars could finish at .500 in the conference and guarantee themselves a winning season record.  The Patriot women will also recognize their two seniors: post players Joanna Tincher and Marta Losonczy. 


Last Published: March 29, 2004 8:02 AM
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