Privateers Highlights

General Information

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Southland Conference
Past Conferences: Sun Belt Conference, American South Conference
City: New Orleans, Louisiana
Arena: Lakefront Arena
NCAA Tournaments: 5 (1987, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2017)


National Championships – 0
Conference Titles – 8 (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991,1993, 1996, 1997, 2017)

Team History

The New Orleans Privateers began play in the 1969-70 season and came out of the gate fast. After losing their first two games, New Orleans finished the season on an 18-3 run and won its first 22 games of the 1970-71 season before finishing 23-3. The Privateers advanced to their first NCAA Division II Tournament and followed that up with trips in 1972, 1974 and 1975. New Orleans did reach the championship game in 1975 but lost to Old Dominion 76-74.

New Orleans made the move to Division I for the 1975-76 season and joined the Sun Belt the following year but left the conference after four seasons, becoming an independent. The Privateers received an NIT invitation in 1983 after going 22-6. The Privateers received their first invitation to compete in the NCAA Tournament in 1987, beating BYU in the first round before falling to Alabama.

New Orleans joined the American South Conference for the 1987-88 season and three straight NIT berths in 1988-90; in 1991, they returned to the NCAA Tournament, where, as a No. 16 seed, they battled No. 1-seeded Kansas before falling 55-49. The Privateers promptly returned to the Sun Belt Conference for the 1991-92 season. In 1993, New Orleans again advanced to the NCAA Tournament and played in the NIT the following season.

After no postseason berth in 1995 despite a 20-11 record, New Orleans was back in the NCAA Tournament in 1996 and in the NIT in 1997. The Privateers left the Sun Belt after the 2009-10 season and joined the Southland in 2013-14. New Orleans was back in the NCAA Tournament in 2017 but lost to Mount St. Mary’s 67-66 in a play-in game. The Privateers played in the CBI in 2018 and in the CIT in 2019, and they were participants in the first Basketball Classic tournament in 2022.

New Orleans Privateers All-Time Records

Points Scored

Bo McCalebb, 2,679
Mel Henderso, 1,900
Troy Green, 1,824


Ervin Johnson, 1,287
Melvin Simon, 941
Wayne Cooper, 920


Gabe Corchian, 456
Terry Gill, 442
Jordan Crump, 403


New Orleans Privateers FAQs

Have New Orleans Ever Been Ranked?

The Privateers have been ranked in three separate seasons. The first year New Orleans were ranked was the 1986-87 season, when they entered the poll at No. 19 in Week 14 before finishing No. 16 in the final poll of the season. The Privateers spent three weeks in the polls in 1990-91 before falling out after Week 12. New Orleans reached No. 13 in 1992-93 before falling to No. 17 in the final poll of the year. The Privateers were ranked for six weeks.

How Many New Orleans Players Have Played in the NBA?

New Orleans have had six players play in the NBA. Wilbur Holland has the highest scoring average at 13.62 points per game, while Wayne Cooper played the longest with a career that spanned 14 seasons and included 10 postseason appearances.

Why are New Orleans Called the Privateers?

When the school first opened, it was a branch of Louisiana State University and was called Louisiana State University in New Orleans. The team’s mascot was an extension of the LSU Tiger, so students held a vote in 1965 and selected the Panthers. A petition was started to choose something that reflected the history of New Orleans, so another vote was held and Privateers was eventually selected. According to the University of New Orleans website, a privateer is a “pirate who was pardoned by the government and then commissioned to hunt down and dispose of other pirates.”

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