Francis Marion University athletic teams compete under NCAA affiliation. The university sponsors 12 intercollegiate sports: six each for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and tennis) and women (basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball). The athletic department telephone number is 843-661-1240 and the fax number is 843-661-4645.
Two athletic programs (men's golf, women's soccer) compete as Division I independents, while the other 10 sports compete in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference. The PBC includes 13 members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Plans have been discussed to move the entire FMU athletic program to Division I membership in the near future.
Despite its relative youth (founded in 1970), the Patriot athletic program has a rich and storied tradition. FMU has produced five national championships and won 52 conference or district championships. The women's basketball program captured the 1982 AIAW Division II national title and the 1986 NAIA championship. The women's tennis duo of Lee Whitwell and Mary Hirst won the 1993 and 1994 NCAA Division II doubles national championship. The 2003 golf team won the NCAA Division II national title. In addition, the 1987 Patriot softball team advanced to the NAIA national title game, but fell 1-0.
Francis Marion graduate and former hoops player Pearl Moore holds the all-time women's college basketball scoring record with 4,061 points. The ball she used to break the previous career mark is displayed in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Current University of North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell headed the FMU program for 11 seasons (1975-86) prior to moving to Chapel Hill. Currently five former Patriot baseball players are active in the professional ranks.
The FMU Athletic Hall of Fame lists 34 members, representing 11 different sports.
During the 2008-09 academic year, Francis Marion placed 88 student-athletes on the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll, which requires a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the entire academic year. That total figure represents half of the school's student-athletes. The overall grade point average and graduation rate of the University's student-athletes exceeds that of the overall University student body.
Francis Marion has an active chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society. Over the past nine years, 80 different Patriot student-athletes have earned induction.
Francis Marion captured the PBC Commissioner's Cup in 1998 and 1999, signifying the best all-around athletic program in the conference.
Students, parents, and fans are encouraged to join the Swamp Fox Club, the fund-raising arm of the FMU athletic department, by calling 843-661-1240.