New Orleans Privateers

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New Orleans Privateers
University University of New Orleans
Conference Southland Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic directorTim Duncan
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Varsity teams14
Basketball arena Lakefront Arena
Baseball stadium Maestri Field at Privateer Park
Other arenas Human Performance Center
Lake Oaks Park
Tad Gormley Stadium
University Tennis Center
UNO Beach Courts
MascotCaptain BrUNO (debuted Feb. 2017)
Fight song Let's hear it for UNO
ColorsRoyal Blue, Silver, and Navy [1]

The New Orleans Privateers are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of New Orleans (also known locally as UNO), located in the Lake Terrace/Lake Oaks neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The Privateers compete in NCAA intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Southland Conference at the Division I level. [2]


UNO's athletic teams participated in NCAA Division II from 1969 to 1975 before moving to Division I and becoming a charter member of the Sun Belt Conference. [3] In December 2009, the LSU Board approved a proposal from UNO to move its athletic program from Division I to Division III following a drop in enrollment and associated budget cuts following Hurricane Katrina. [4] The school submitted an application in May 2010 and in June 2010, received initial approval from the NCAA Division III Membership Committee to move forward with its transition. The school originally announced that it intended to add football, along with women's golf and women's soccer as part of the transition to NCAA Division III. [5]

UNO left the Sun Belt on June 30, 2010 and competed as an NCAA Division I Independent in all sports during the 2010–11 academic year as part of the transition from Division I. Following the findings of the financial analysis and institutional research, the LSU Board of Supervisors meetings approved the move down from Division I to Division II instead of Division III. UNO was placed on the NCAA Division II Membership Committee spring agenda, to compete in Division II sports. The Privateers added women's golf, men's cross country and women's cross country to reach Division II's minimum requirement of 10 sports. [3] UNO was to begin playing at the Division II level and competing as an independent team during the provisional 2011–12 academic year before becoming a full member of Division II and member of the Gulf South Conference in 2012–13. [6]

On March 7, 2012, however, UNO President Dr. Peter Fos announced that UNO would remain in Division I. [2] On August 21, 2012, UNO announced that it would be joining the Southland Conference, effective the 2013–2014 academic year. [7]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Beach volleyball
Cross country Cross country
Golf Tennis
Tennis Track and field
Track and field Volleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.


The UNO baseball team plays its home games at Maestri Field at Privateer Park. New Orleans's most notable baseball rivals are LSU and Tulane. Despite being a relative newcomer to college baseball, the UNO baseball team has a history of fielding competitive teams. Most of the early success belongs to Ron Maestri who led the team to the Division II World Series in 1974. [8] After making the jump to Division I, Maestri once again brought success to the Privateers. In 1984, the Privateers became the first university in Louisiana to make the Division I College World Series. [8] During the tenure of Tom Walter, the Privateers made post-season appearances in 2007 (as an automatic qualifier) & 2008 (as an at-large).

Augie Schmidt won the Golden Spikes Award with the Privateers in 1982.

Privateers in the majors

Privateers baseball has seen a number of alumni go on to Major League careers, including: [9]

Men's basketball

The Privateers play at 8,933-seat Lakefront Arena.

UNO qualified for four NCAA tournaments in 10 seasons between 1987 and 1996, and for a fifth in 2017. UNO won the Sun Belt Conference in 1978 and '96. Tim Floyd coached UNO to tournaments in 1991 and '93, and is currently the head coach for the University of Texas at El Paso. The Privateers have been ranked nationally four times: 1987, '91, '93 and '96. The highest rank was 16th by the Associated Press in 1987. The schools best winning percentage (23-7/.767) came when it was an NCAA Division I Independent in 1983. In the 2017 NCAA tournament, UNO earned an automatic bid by winning the Southland Conference tournament. They played in the East Region of the First Four, losing to Mount St. Mary's 66–67.

NCAA Tournament history:

  • Tournament appearances: 5
  • Final Fours: 0
  • NCAA Tournament record: 1–5

Privateers in the NBA

Women's basketball

  • Head coach – Keeshawn Carter Davenport

Head coach Keeshawn Davenport, previously served as a student-athlete, graduate assistant and assistant coach on team's coached by Joey Favaloro and Amy Champion. The Privateers play at 8,933-seat Lakefront Arena.

On March 19, 1983, the Buck-ettes as they were known, won their third game in three days in Amarillo, Texas defeating Memphis 68–58 to win the Women's National Invitational Tournament. The team previously defeated Weber State (100–70) in the semifinals and Texas Tech (66–65) in the quarterfinals. [10]

Women's beach volleyball

  • Head coach – Millicent Van Norden

The New Orleans Privateers women's beach volleyball team competes in the Southland Conference. [11] The program was founded in 2015. [12]

1Women's golf was dropped and substituted with Women's sand volleyball beginning with the 2014–15 season. [12]
2Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which had its first national championship in the spring of 2016. [13]

Men's golf

  • Head coach – Chris McCarter

Men's and women's tennis

  • Head coach – Burzis Kanga

The UNO men's tennis team is currently a member of the Southland Conference as an affiliate member. [14] The team's home venue is the University Tennis Center.

All-Americans for the UNO tennis team include Kanga in the early 1980s and more recently, the doubles' team of Hossam Meligy and Ricardo Campos. Meligy and Campos received Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American honors in 2012 at the NCAA Division II level as part of the school's intended transition. [15]

Men's and women's track and field/cross country

  • Head coach – Benjamin Dalton

The men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field teams was reinstated in 2012–13, a year after the cross country program was reinstated in 2011–12. All six programs were cut in 2006 following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Both the men's and women's outdoor track and field teams hold their home meets at Tad Gormley Stadium. [16] Lake Oaks Park is the home course for the men's and women's cross country teams. [17]

In 2000, the UNO women's cross country team won the Sunbelt Conference championship, making it the only female team in school history to win a conference championship.


  • Head coach – Kim Young-Buford

Women's Volleyball is coached by Kim Young-Buford, who came to UNO from Grambling in 2010. [18] Her tenure at UNO began with a 23-match home regular season win streak. Nicky Valenti, one of the school's all-time dig leaders and a native of River Ridge, La. serves as Young-Buford's assistant. The Privateers play their home matches in the 1,760-seat Human Performance Center.

The volleyball program won the Sun Belt Conference West Division championship in 2009 under former head coach Jozsef Forman. The division championship was the first of its kind for the Privateer program. Former Privateer volleyball players include former NCAA Division I career kills leader Javonne Brooks. Brooks broke the collegiate women's volleyball record for career kills in a 3–0 win over UT-Pan American on October 29, 1992. The 5'10" senior from Wharton, Texas broke the old record 2,767 held by Long Beach State's Tara Cross. Brooks finished with 2,932 kills and in 2005 was named the Sun Belt's All-Time Greatest Volleyball Player. [10]

Former varsity sports

  • Women's golf
  • Women's gymnastics
  • Men's and women's soccer
  • Softball
  • Men's and women's swimming and diving
    Former coaches of the UNO program include U.S. Olympian Ashley Tappin, current Florida International head coach Randy Horner, and James Winchester. The women's program originally competed from 1983–1992 with the men competing from 1988–1992. The women were reinstated in 2004 with the men following in 2008. The team has called the UNO Aquatic Center at Lakefront Arena as its home. The facility was damaged during Hurricane Katrina in Aug. 2005 with the team resuming competing in the pool ahead of the 2009 men's home opener against Stanford. [19] In 2011 the university cut the swimming programs as part of the transition to Division II. Without a conference home the teams competed independent during the 2010–11 academic year with minimal members. [20]
  • Men's and women's tennis

Non-varsity sports



The university fielded a club football team from 1965–1970 and it was the first team sport played at UNO. The team had a modest beginning, losing 21–0 to Loyola University-New Orleans in their only game in 1965. The Privateers played two games in 1966, finishing 1–1, beating Spring Hill College for their first victory ever but losing 20–6 to Loyola once again. The Privateers recorded their first winning season in 1967, finishing 2–1, but lost to Loyola for the third year in a row.

In 1968 head coach Tom Gruber directed the Privateers to a 3–1 record, defeating cross-town rival Loyola to win the South District championship of the National Club Football Association. That same year the Privateers finished the season ranked 8th in the NCFA national poll. George Baud, a Privateer defensive lineman was named a club football All-American as well.

In 1969 the Privateers, under new coach Dale Hoffpauir, again beat Loyola and finished 3–2–1, repeating as the South District champs and attaining a No. 4 preseason national ranking in the NCFA poll. The 1969 season was the first in which the Privateers played under the UNO banner rather than LSUNO, even though it would be five more years before the university officially became the University of New Orleans. Also in 1969, the Privateers moved their home field to East Jefferson Stadium from Tad Gormley Stadium where they had played their first four seasons.

The 1970 Privateers played a seven-game schedule, finishing 3–4 but winning the South District for the third consecutive season because of their 2–0 district record which included a victory over Loyola. 1970 again saw a change in venue for the Privateers as they alternated home games between East Jefferson Stadium and West Jefferson Stadium.

In its first six seasons of football, UNO's overall record was 12–10–1 with three district championships. The series record with arch-rival Loyola stands at 3–3. UNO owns a 2–0 advantage over Nicholls State after beating the Colonels in 1969 and 1970. The Privateers did play the Tulane JV squad in 1970 at Tulane, with the Green Wave beating UNO 56–13. UNO's Founding Chancellor Homer Hitt recalled the six years of Privateer football as a "kind of glory period for LSUNO. We competed with schools from all over, including Loyola and Nicholls."


In 1971, when club football programs faded and the NCFA folded, UNO dropped the program while Nicholls State, [21] a club football rival of the Privateers, elevated their team to full intercollegiate status. UNO had considered expanding its football program to a fully funded level, but it was thought to be too costly at the time. The club football team had spent $22,000 in 1970. Doc Costanza stated in his 1989 Driftwood article on UNO football: "When one considers the costs and benefits of a modern college football team, it seems that it may have been a mistake for UNO to phase out its team rather than expand it."

Between 1971 and 2007 there were several unsuccessful attempts to establish NCAA football at UNO. In 1984, UNO Football, Inc. was organized by Professor Stephen Ambrose to secure the funding for a full-fledged Division I football program at UNO. Dr. Ambrose was ambitious. He was quoted by the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate in April, 1984 as offering this scenario: "September 1990: LSU 58, UNO 0. September 1991: LSU 28, UNO 7. And then in the third out!" UNO athletic director Ron Maestri was also supportive of the plan to bring football to UNO at the time. He was quoted in the same Morning Advocate article as saying, "Our students are hooked on football. They attend LSU and Tulane games. Students, faculty and staff can rally around a football program. It's a dimension most other major universities have." But because the 1980s were times of financial crisis in Louisiana and because academic and athletic budgets were being slashed around the state, the fundraising drive for UNO football stalled and the idea was dropped.

In April, 2000 a proposal for non-scholarship football at UNO was released to the public. This proposal was authored by Roy Raspanti, former executive director of the UNO Athletic Association. In May, 2000 the UNO Athletic Association was reorganized as the Privateer Athletic Foundation. During then-AD Bob Brown's tenure, a PAF committee was formed to study the feasibility of football at UNO. The committee researched the issues extensively, but no action was ever taken to move forward with implementing the football program. UNO went 38 years without football until the club program was revived for the 2008 season.


Football was reinstated in 2008 with the university's admissions director, Andy Benoit, as head coach. Operating on a limited budget and with only eight players, the Privateers set out to raise the funds and build a team in order to play. In their first season on the gridiron, the Privateers played two games and drew 3,700 fans to its first game at Tad Gormley Stadium; which was the team's home stadium from 2008–2011. During the 2008 season, UNO club football outdrew NCAA Division I, II and III programs for some of their home games. The 2009 season saw UNO finish with a 5–3 record.

In 2010, the team finished with a record of 7–2 and won the 2010 NCFA National Championship. [22] [23]

In 2011, the team played under the direction of Sean Santos and later Austin Thomas.


The 2012 season played at Pan American Stadium was suspended due to fielding players who were not enrolled at UNO; claims that the season was cancelled due to budget cuts were incorrect as club football was privately funded.

Future endeavors

UNO has not fielded a team since the 2012 season and the UNO athletic department is studying the feasibility of fielding a football team on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level.

New Orleans Privateers traditions

Fight song

The official fight song of The University of New Orleans is "Let's hear it for UNO." [24] The song was adopted after a competition in 1981. The winner was Lois Ostrolenk. [24] Before this, the melody from William Tell Overture was used. A variation of the overture is still played to honor this tradition. [24]


At one time the mascot was Lafitte the Instigator, an anthropomorphized alligator dressed as a pirate, as seen in a 2013 video posted on the Southland Conference's YouTube channel. [25]

A new mascot, Capt. Bruno, debuted as part of a "Let the Good Times Roll" parade through campus on February 23, 2017. [26]

See also


  1. ^ New Orleans Privateers – Official Brand Identity (PDF). July 13, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Yellin, Lyons (March 7, 2012l). "UNO athletic program to return to competition in NCAA Division I". The Times-Picayune.
  3. ^ a b Hogan, Nakia (March 4, 2011). "UNO plans for Division II to go before LSU Board of Supervisors". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Varney, James (December 12, 2009). "Board approves move to Division III for UNO". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  5. ^ Stewart, Robert (October 15, 2010). "Amy Champion officially named UNO athletic director". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "New Orleans looks to Division II: UNO hopes to become part of Gulf South Conference in '12–'13". NCAA. February 4, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  7. ^ "New Orleans Privateers will join Southland". August 21, 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012..
  8. ^ a b "History of Baseball in New Orleans". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  9. ^ "University of New Orleans Baseball Players Who Made it to the Major Leagues". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ "Southland Conference Showcase". Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "UNO to add sand volleyball, drop golf". New Orleans Advocate. May 4, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2015. UNO announced Thursday it will add women’s sand volleyball and drop women’s golf beginning in 2014–2015.
  13. ^ "NCAA DII, DIII membership approves Sand Volleyball as 90th championship". NCAA. January 17, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "University Of New Orleans – UNO Men's Tennis Named Affiliate Member of Southland Conference". University of New Orleans. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  15. ^ "University Of New Orleans – UNO's Campos and Meligy Tabbed ITA All-Americans". University of New Orleans. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Tad Gormley Stadium". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  17. ^ "Lake Oak Park". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Staff. "UNO Cuts Swimming". Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  21. ^ "Former coach still keeps close watch on Nicholls football". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  22. ^ "New Orleans Wins National Title". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  23. ^ "UNO Club Football Declared NCFA National Champions". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  24. ^ a b c "University of New Orleans: 1958 - 2008". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  25. ^ Southland Conference (2013-09-19), Mascot Challenge: Lafitte the Instigator (UNO), retrieved 2017-03-17
  26. ^ "University of New Orleans Celebrates New Orleans' Favorite Tradition in Privateer Style | University of New Orleans". Retrieved 2017-03-17.

External links