Welcome to C-USA: Old Dominion

From the CAA to C-USA, Old Dominion becomes a conference partner with East Carolina Monday for the 2013-2014 season. Here's our first of eight features on each of Conference USA's new additions.

Old Dominion University is among eight teams packing up and heading for Conference-USA on July 1. The Monarchs, who will visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the football season-opener, will join in all sports except football.

If you flashback to three years, the Monarchs' football program was being restarted and since then, has come a long way. This past season, ODU finished with a record of 11-2 and first in the Colonial Athletic Association. However, after announcing their departure, the Monarchs were ineligible to play for the conference's championship.

Even though they were excluded, the team is hungry for an opportunity at playing for an NCAA postseason opportunity in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"We are excited that our first ever game vs. an F.B.S. opponent will be televised on Fox Sports," said head football coach Bobby Wilder. "Playing East Carolina will be a tremendous challenge for our program but one we await with great anticipation."

The football program will join C-USA in 2015.

Unfortunately, their other major sports programs haven't seen as much success in the CAA lately. ODU's men's basketball team finished last season with a measly 5-25 (3-15 CAA) record.

The Monarchs got a preview of C-USA basketball competition in December when they took on UCF. ODU Freshman Aaron Bacote scored 19 points en route to a four-point loss to the Knights, who went on to finish third in C-USA.

ODU baseball team struggled as well. During their CAA farewell tour in 2013, their 19-34 (9-21 CAA) record left a lot to be desired. The Pirates and Monarchs were slated to meet twice this past season, too, but their encounter in Norfolk was cancelled. The Pirates claimed a 5-3 win in their lone meeting at Clark-LeClair stadium.

Current Monarchs in the pros

ODU has produced arguably, the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. Justin Verlander, who finished his college career as ODU's all-time strikeout leader, has been playing for the Detroit Tigers since 2005. The seven-year, $180 million deal he signed with the Tigers this past March makes him the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. Verlander has had quite the prolific MLB career so far. He led the MLB in strikeouts in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and won Rookie of the Year in 2006, among many other accolades.

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson is also an ODU alumnus. But following two successful campaigns in 2010-2011, Hudson has been unable to stay healthy for the last two years. Since last July, he has undergone Tommy John Surgery twice.

As for the basketball program, Kent Bazemore is one of the most notable alumni. In 2011, he won the Lefty Driesell Award—an award given to the best defensive player in the NCAA. After graduating, he went undrafted and now plays for the Golden State Warriors. Bazemore's career highlight thus far came in the 2013 playoffs, where he scored a go-ahead basket in the final seconds of double overtime against the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

Background

Located in Norfolk, VA, ODU has an undergraduate student body of over 18,000. The school's name stems from one of the state's nicknames—"The Old Dominion"—which was given to Virginia for remaining loyal to the England's King Charles II during the English Civil War.

The Monarchs spent 22 years as one of the most recognizable schools of the CAA.


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