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VMI Keydets

VMI Keydets
University Virginia Military Institute
Conference Southern Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Dave Diles, Jr.
Location Lexington, VA
Varsity teams 16
Football stadium Alumni Memorial Field
Basketball arena Cameron Hall
Baseball stadium Gray–Minor Stadium
Soccer stadium Patchin Field
Lacrosse stadium Alumni Memorial Field
Mascot Kangaroo (Moe)
Nickname Keydets
Fight song "The Spirit"
     Red       White       Yellow

The VMI Keydets are the athletic teams that represent the Virginia Military Institute. All sports participate in the NCAA's Division I, and all but four compete in the Southern Conference (the exceptions being men's and women's swimming and diving in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association, water polo in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and rifle in the Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference). VMI fields teams in sixteen different sports, ten for men and six for women.[1]

Notably, VMI is one of only two Division I schools that do not sponsor women's basketball. The other is fellow Southern Conference member and senior military college The Citadel.


A member of the Southern Conference, VMI sponsors teams in eleven men's and seven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[2]

The women's cross country team was the first women's team at VMI, as it was formed in 1997. The newest women's sport for the Institution, water polo was announced in 2009.[3]

Conference affiliations

VMI Conference Affiliations
1891-1918 Independent
1918-1921 South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1924-2002 Southern Conference (dropped men's swimming & diving after 1981–82 school year)
1978- Southern Conference (wrestling only)
1983-2002 USILA (lacrosse only)
1990- Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference (rifle only)
1990-2003 Southern States Conference (men's swimming & diving only)
2003-2014 Big South (except wrestling, lacrosse, swimming & diving, rifle, & water polo)
2003-2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (lacrosse only)
2003-2007 Northeast Conference (men's swimming & diving only 2003-05; women's swimming & diving added in 2005)
2007- Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (men's and women's swimming & diving only)
2011- Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (water polo only)
2014 Atlantic Sun Conference (lacrosse only)
2014–present Southern Conference (except rifle, swimming & diving, and water polo)

The Keydets played every sport independently until 1918, when they joined the short-lived South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1918 for all sports. With the demise of the conference in 1921, VMI stayed an independent until joining the Southern Conference (SoCon) in 1924, and a massive one at the time.

The next change to be made would not come until 1982, when VMI dropped swimming and diving.[4] The following year, VMI formed a lacrosse program that would play in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.[5]

VMI's next changes came in the 1990s, reinstating men's swimming and diving in the Southern States Conference in 1990[4] and also joining the Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference (MAC). MAC records are incomplete; the earliest record of VMI participation in that conference is in the 1991 championships (during the 1990–91 school year), when the Keydets only competed in air rifle. The first records of VMI participation in MAC smallbore competition date to 1995 (1994–95 school year).[6] While VMI would later move its swimming and diving program to two other leagues, it has never moved its rifle program.

In 2003, after 79 years in the SoCon, VMI departed for a then fledgling Big South Conference in all sports but lacrosse, rifle, swimming and diving, and wrestling. Wrestling stayed in the SoCon and rifle in the MAC, while the lacrosse program moved to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Men's swimming and diving moved to the Northeast Conference (NEC); when women's swimming and diving was added in 2005, that program also joined the NEC.[4] Both swimming and diving teams left the NEC in 2007 to become charter members of the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA), where both teams remain to this day.[4] When water polo became the newest sport at the Institute in 2009, they accepted their invitation also to the MAAC in 2011.[7]

VMI announced two changes in conference affiliation in 2013. On February 11, the Atlantic Sun Conference (A-Sun) announced that VMI would move its men's lacrosse program to that league effective with the 2014 season (2013–14 school year).[8] On May 30 of that year, the SoCon extended an invitation to the Keydets to rejoin the conference.[9] VMI accepted, along with East Tennessee State and Mercer, and became a member on July 1, 2014, replacing Davidson, Appalachian State, Elon, and Georgia Southern.

When first announced, the return to the SoCon did not include the lacrosse team. However, on January 9, 2014, the A-Sun and SoCon announced a lacrosse partnership which divided sponsorship of the sport between the two leagues effective in 2014–15. Men's lacrosse sponsorship switched to the SoCon, while women's lacrosse sponsorship remained with the A-Sun. Accordingly, the men's lacrosse team also joined the SoCon on July 1, 2014. [10]


Main article: VMI Keydets football

VMI football history dates back to 1891 with the formation of a team under Walter Taylor. It actually dates back farther, with a one game season in 1873, though is not really considered an official season (there were also no player or coaching records). Today, the Keydets play at 10,000-seat Alumni Memorial Field, as they have since 1962. Sparky Woods is the current head coach. He was named VMI's 30th all-time coach on February 13, 2008.[11] Woods replaced Jim Reid who left to coach outside linebackers for the Miami Dolphins. The Keydets are still looking for their first winning season since 1981.


Arguably the most famous years for the Keydets were in 1976 and 77. The first year, VMI made their way to the Elite 8 led by future Laker Ron Carter. The Keydets prevailed over Tennessee and DePaul, before bowing to Rutgers 91-75. However, they wouldn't have to wait long for another chance. The next season, VMI edged Duquesne by 7 to get to the Sweet Sixteen. The Keydets second tournament run came to a halt with a 93-78 loss to Kentucky. Since then, VMI has not won a conference championship or made an NCAA tournament appearance. VMI is coached by Duggar Baucom, who will be entering his 9th year in 2013–14. Cameron Hall has been the home of VMI basketball since 1981.


Main article: VMI Keydets baseball

Baseball is in fact the oldest sport at VMI, when the team was formed in 1866. Recorded schedules only go back as far as 1951, when the team was under the command of Frank Summers.[12] Since 2004, the Keydets have been coached by Marlin Ikenberry. VMI has been SoCon finalists on numerous occasions, but have never won a SoCon championship and did not win a Big South championship while in that conference.


Main article: VMI Keydets wrestling

For 25 years, VMI has been coached by John Trudgeon, a William and Mary graduate, and is assisted by Chris Skrtetkowicz and Jon Kemmerer. Two All-Americans have wrestled for the Institute. In the 1994 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Charlie Branch finished 4th at 142 lbs. Ghanaian wrestler Leslie Apedoe placed sixth in the heavyweight in the 1999 tournament. VMI has played in 1,200-seat Cocke Hall since 1926.

Club sports

VMI fields eleven different club sports, only one of which are women's.[13]

Radio networks


City Call Sign Frenquency
Lexington, VA WWZW 96.7 FM
Richmond, VA WLEE 990 AM
Lynchburg, VA WWZW 96.7 FM
Roanoke, VA WRTZ 1410 AM


City Call Sign Frenquency
Lexington, VA WWZW 96.7 FM


City Call Sign Frenquency
Lexington, VA WREL 1450 AM


See also


External links

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