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Although classes have been held on the Old Dominion campus for 83 years and counting, Old Dominion University is just a little older than FIU with ODU starting in 1969, three years before FIU.
Like FIU the Monarchs joined Conference USA today, except ODU will have three of its teams playing in other conferences.
Old Dominion went 68 years without football after the program was dropped but is a Division I independent this season before playing a Conference USA schedule in 2014. The folks in Norfolk were eagerly anticipating the return of football at ODU as the program’s sellout streak shows.
A former U.S. President went to ODU as did the leader of FIU women’s basketball.
In the previous FIU’s Conference USA Opponents Series you got to know:
East Carolina Pirates
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Marshall Thundering Herd
Let's go to Virginia and learn about the Old Dominion Monarchs. . . .
TWO BECOMES ONE
Before Old Dominion became a full-fledge university, the school was a branch for two established universities. William & Mary and Virginia Tech offered classes on the campus of what would later become Old Dominion. Classes were first held on campus in September of 1930. Tuition was $50 that first year. ODU awarded its first bachelor's degrees in 1956.
Old Dominion is about as old as FIU when it comes to being a university. ODU became a university in 1969. FIU opened its doors as a four-year school in 1972.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?. . . A NICKNAME
Old Dominion is located in Norfolk, Virginia. One of Virginia's state nicknames is "The Old Dominion," given to the state by King Charles II of England for remaining loyal to the crown during the English Civil War. Thus it comes as no shock that ODU teams’ nickname is the Monarchs.
ODU MOVES TO C-USA, MAC, BIG EAST, A-SUN
Although with today’s move to Conference USA the majority of Old Dominion’s teams will play in C-USA, the Monarchs will also have teams playing in the Mid-American Conference, the new Big East Conference and the Atlantic Sun.
ODU’s wrestling team will compete in the MAC because C-USA does not have lucha libre. ODU’s field hockey team will play in the new Big East – that’s the one with the Catholic Seven and not the new-new Big East (American Athletic Conference). ODU women’s lacrosse, which starts July 2014 will play in the Atlantic Sun Conference. ODU also fields men and women’s sailing teams.
THIS BUD’S FOR YOU
ODU athletic director Camden Wood Selig is not related to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Still, Camden Selig had a terrific run as WKU’s athletic director before joining ODU in 2010. Selig spent 11 years at WKU where the Hilltoppers won 70 Sun Belt Conference championships under his watch and a national-record 19 Sun Belt crowns during the 2008-10 seasons. Selig helped the WKU football program move from NCAA Division I-AA to I-A in 2007, and spearheaded more than $100 million in new construction and renovations of Hilltopper facilities. WKU also won more individual Sun Belt academic honors than any other league school from 2005-2010, and every men's and women's athletic team exceeded the NCAA-required 925 Academic Progress Rate.
SCREWY START TO RIVALRY
ODU and Virginia Commonwealth are pretty big rivals in college basketball. The series began in 1969, but the intensity of the rivalry got a kick start the following year. During the 1970 season, a group of about 50 ODU fans chartered a bus to Richmond for a game at VCU. After mailing a check to VCU for the tickets, the ODU group received a package in return from VCU. But no tickets were inside. Instead, somebody had sent a box of screws.
Old Dominion teams have captured 28 national championships and four individual titles. The Lady Monarchs basketball team has won three national championships in 1979 (AIAW), 1980 (AIAW) and 1985 (NCAA). The Lady Monarchs also made it to the 1997 Women's NCAA Championship Game, losing to Tennessee. Other ODU national championships have come in men's and women's sailing (15 titles) and nine championships in women's field hockey.
WORTH THE 68-YEAR WAIT
The first football team on the ODU campus was created in 1930 and was known as the William & Mary Norfolk Division Braves. The Braves played football for eleven seasons (1930-1941) and compiled a record of 62-19-4. The program was discontinued due to a rule against freshman players and a $10,000 debt.
The football program was resurrected in 2009 and the Monarchs finished 9–2. Last season ODU had the best record (7-1) in the Colonial Athletic Association, but was not eligible to play for the championship because it announced its 2013 departure for Conference USA in May 2012. Under CAA bylaws, a school that announces its departure for another conference is automatically ineligible for CAA championships in team sports.
ODU's home stadium is Foreman Field (above top photo) where the half-moon shaped stands resemble the Big Sombrero -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' old stadium (photo below Foreman Field). Except Foreman Field would be the Little Sombrero compared to the Big Sombrero.
Among the notables to either attend or graduate from Old Dominion are: former President Jimmy Carter (attended), FIU women’s basketball coach Cindy Russo, poet Maya Angelou (attended), and Detroit Tigers All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander.
Season tickets for the Monarchs' 2009 inaugural football season sold out quickly and the school had to refund 1,065 orders. ODU football has sold out every game (28 games) since restarting the program.
Old Dominion awarded the first athletic scholarship to any woman in the state of Virginia for a varsity sport when Nancy Lieberman was awarded a scholarship to play women's basketball.
Old Dominion has a Marriott Spring Hill Suites hotel in the middle of campus.
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