Lipscomb was hesitant to follow Nashville neighbor Belmont from the NAIA to the NCAA.
At the time, longtime Lipscomb basketball coach Don Meyer didn’t believe it was in the school’s best interest to move to the NCAA.
It was basically a three-year move to be fully vested at the NCAA level. And Meyer was Lipscomb’s winningest basketball coach.
Belmont took its lumps during the transition, which is pretty much the norm for every institution that takes that leap of faith. But the Bruins actually thrived after going through the tough times. They have been to the NCAA Tournament four times, in addition to getting an NIT bid.
Lipscomb eventually decided to follow Belmont to the NCAA. Meyer resigned, refusing to make the move. It created a messy situation, pitting Meyer fans against Lipscomb.
The school hired Scott Sanderson, son of former Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson. He is the one who would take the brunt of making the transition. I remember Wimp telling me he didn’t think Scott should have taken the job because Wimp knew Scott was going to get his brains beat out.
Scott survived. Both Lipscomb and Belmont joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. In recent years Lipscomb basketball has fallen on hard times. Last year Belmont left the Atlantic Sun and joined the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Bruins won a hard-fought two tournament games in its first year to win an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Lipscomb forced Sanderson to resign and 40 days later hired longtime Belmont assistant Casey Alexander. Even though Alexander has been head coach at Stetson the past two years, he is a familiar name in Williamson County. He was a three-sport athlete at Brentwood Academy and was Rick Byrd’s top assistant for 16 years.
In the near future I predict we will see Lipscomb leave the Atlantic Sun and join the OVC. The Atlantic Sun is all over the map and in danger of losing East Tennessee State and Kennesaw State.
The OVC should covet Lipscomb and vice versa. Can you imagine the financial savings Lipscomb would realize in cutting travel costs?
But here is where the OVC can profit. It will give the conference three teams located in Nashville – Tennessee State, Belmont and Lipscomb. That means increased attendance.