BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Football) – When Florida Tech takes the gridiron for its first Gulf South Conference (GSC) game in fall 2013, it will line up against six-time league champion Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. The game is the first of six on the Panthers’inaugural conference schedule, released Thursday.
“The Gulf South Conference has some of this country’s top athletes and we are excited to bring this high level of football to the Space Coast,” Director of Football Operations John Thomas said.
The league office has scheduled each game within a three-day date range because of possible TV games through the conference’s football package, GSC-TV Live. Official dates and times for all six of FIT’s conference games will be announced when finalized.
“We know that this schedule will be a huge challenge for us,” Head Coach Steve Englehart said. “We are honored to compete against some of the best teams in the country in the Gulf South Conference. It will be an eye-opening experience for our young team when we go to perennial power Delta State for our first conference game. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
After opening GSC play, the Panthers will host the University of West Alabama in their first conference home game the following week. As the calendar turns to October, they will prepare for a trip to play two-time national champion Valdosta State University. Heading into the 2011 season, Valdosta State had the highest winning percentage of all five of the conference’s active members at .686 (225-102-3).
FIT will welcome Shorter University to the Space Coast in the middle of October. Presently an NAIA member, Shorter will begin playing a full GSC schedule in 2012, but will not become an active member until fall 2014.
In their second to last conference game, the Panthers will travel to the University of West Georgia before concluding the conference portion of their schedule at home against the University of North Alabama. Currently coached by Terry Bowden, son of legendary coach Bobby Bowden, North Alabama has won nine GSC Championships and three NCAA Division II Championships.
Viewed as one of the strongest, if not the strongest Division II football conference in the country, the GSC sent three teams – Delta State, North Alabama and West Alabama – to the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs this season. Over the last 37 years, a member institution has represented the conference 36 times. Of the previous 24 national champions, 10 have come from the GSC. In the last decade alone, the GSC won three national championships and finished as national runner-up two times.
Florida Tech will pursue games with non-conference opponents on the open dates, but details have not yet been finalized.
2013 Florida Tech Gulf South Conference Football Schedule
Week 1 Sept. 5-7 TBD
Week 2 Sept. 12-14 TBD
Week 3 Sept. 19-21 at Delta State
Week 4 Sept. 26-28 West Alabama+
Week 5 Oct. 3-5 at Valdosta State
Week 6 Oct. 10-12 TBD
Week 7 Oct. 17-19 Shorter+
Week 8 Oct. 24-26 TBD
Week 9 Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at West Georgia
Week 10 Nov. 7-9 North Alabama+
Week 11 Nov. 14-16 TBD
Home Games denoted by +