Catamounts Highlights

General Information

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Southern Conference
Past Conferences: North State Conference, Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
City: Cullowhee, North Carolina
Arena: Ramsey Center
NCAA Tournaments: 1 (1996)


National Championships: 0
Conference Titles: 0

Team History

Western Carolina first appeared on the courts in the 1927-28 season, taking a 57-19 beating at the hands of Appalachian State in its only game of the year. Somebody in the WCU athletic department didn’t think basketball was going to stick around, as the school has little more than win-loss records on hand throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s.

That changed in the 1945-46 season, when the school began keeping records of every game. It’s unknown whether it was a change in philosophy or the fact that WCU qualified for the NAIA Tournament in 1947 and prompted going back a few years and creating an archive, but the Catamounts became a solid NAIA team and made six more NAIA Tournament appearances between 1959 and 1972.

The Catamounts made the move to Division I and became members of the Southern Conference for the 1976-77 season. Western Carolina won its only Southern Conference Tournament title in 1996, which gave them its only NCAA Tournament appearance. The No. 16 seed Catamounts made the most of it, nearly becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 before falling to Purdue 73-71.

While Western Carolina hasn’t returned to the NCAA Tournament, the Catamounts did receive an invite to the CIT in 2010 and the CBI Tournament in 2016 but fell in the first round both times. WCU likely would have received a postseason berth after going 19-12 in 2019-20, but COVID forced the cancelation of postseason tournaments.

Western Carolina Catamounts All-Time Records

Points Scored

Henry Logan, 3,290
Mel Gibson, 2,020
Trey Sumler, 1,996


Greg Whittman, 1,354
Tommy Lavelle, 1,281
Darrell Murray, 1,208


Henry Logan, 1,037
Casey Rogers, 647
Larry Grant, 557

Western Carolina Catamounts FAQs

Have Any Western Carolina Players Ever Played in the NBA?

Western Carolina has had five players play in the NBA, with Kevin Martin being the most successful. Martin played for four teams between the 2004-05 and 2014-15 seasons, finishing with a solid 17.36 points per game average.

When Did Western Carolina Become the Catamounts?

Western Carolina was officially called the Catamounts in 1932. According to Merriam-Webster, a catamount is “any of various wild cats: such as a cougar or lynx.”

What Is Western Carolina’s Ronnie Carr Known For?

Carr is credited for making the first 3-point basketball in college basketball history on November 29th, 1980. The ball is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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