Mercer Bears



Mercer Bears Highlights

General Information

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Southern Conference
Past Conferences: Trans America Athletic Conference, Atlantic Sun Conference, Dixie Conference, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
City: Macon, Georgia
Arena: Hawkins Arena
NCAA Tournaments: 3 (1981, 1985, 2014)


National Championships: 0
Conference Titles: 3 (2003, 2013, 2014)

Team History

Mercer first took to the courts for the 1906-07 season, although the university says “no records available for this season” for the team’s first two seasons. The team was 1-6 in the 1908-09 season, but, by the time the 1920s rolled around, Mercer had developed a pretty strong program.

Mercer won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference tournament in 1922, 1924 and 1925. The Bears qualified for their first NAIA Tournament in 1948 and competed in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1972.

The Bears made the jump to Division I in time for the 1973-74 season and played as an independent for their first five seasons before joining the Trans America Athletic Conference for the 1978-79 season. Mercer won the TAAC conference tournament in 1981, giving the team its first NCAA Tournament berth. The Bears repeated as TAAC tournament champions in 1985, returning to the NCAA Tournament.

Mercer was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference for the 2001-02 season and had its best three-year run of the modern era, beginning with the CIT Tournament championship in 2012 and an appearance in the NIT in 2013, where the Bears knocked off Tennessee in the first round. Mercer made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014, which saw the Bears pull off a huge upset over Duke.

Mercer Bears All-Time Records

Points Scored

James Florence, 2,286
Sam Mitchell, 1,986
Tommy Mixon, 1,801


Steve Moody, 1,058
Scott Emerson, 930
Stephon Jelks, 844


Langston Hall, 633
Elston Harris, 541
Jordan Strawberry, 494

Mercer Bears FAQs

Have Mercer Always Had the Bears Nickname?

Before 1924, the official nickname of Mercer was the Baptists, named after the founders of the school. A student vote saw the change to the name Bears.

How Many Mercer Players Have Played in the NBA?

Sam Mitchell is the only Mercer player to play in the NBA. After being drafted by Houston in the third round of the 1985 draft, Mitchell was waived by the Rockets in 1985 and 1986. After several seasons in the CBA and overseas, Mitchell signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989 and went on to play in the NBA for 13 seasons.

What Was Mercer’s Biggest Win?

Upsetting No. 3 seed Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament as a No. 14 seed is naturally the biggest win ever for Mercer. The Bears were 13-point underdogs and trailed by five points, with 4:53 remaining, but ended the game on a 20-8 run to take the 78-71 victory.

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