JACKSON, Tenn. - 12/3/2003 - The Jackson Rotary Club's Annual Rotary Classic will showcase some of the NAIA's top women's basketball teams and the place will be Union University's Fred Delay Gymnasium. Four of the five teams participating are ranking in the NAIA's Top 10. The three-day classic, December 4-6, will feature No. 2 Southern Nazarene (8-1), No. 3 Union University (9-0), No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist (7-0), No. 10 Freed-Hardeman (8-0), and Lambuth University (4-6).
This year's Jackson Rotary Classic will prove to one of the nation's top NAIA women's basketball tournament, outside of the NAIA Nationals. Not only are four of the five teams ranked in the NAIA's Top 10, but all four are with out a loss in the NAIA.
Mark Campbell, the head coach of the No. 3 Union Lady Bulldogs, says, "The (Rotary) classic always showcases some of the best teams in the nation and helps raise money for Youth Town. It's a great event all the way around." Campbell adds, "It's a way for all the teams involved to get better by learning the things that need to be improved on. This is national tournament kind of atmosphere."
Represented in this classic are two of the last six NAIA National Champions, Southern Nazarene's title last season and Union's title back in 1998. Union's title in 1998 ended a run of four straight titles for Southern Nazarene from 1994-1997. Since 1981, the teams participating in the 2003 Rotary Classic have made their presence know in the NAIA's Final Four. Southern Nazarene and Union have made their share of appearances in the NAIA Championship game, Southern Nazarene has won six titles (1989, 1994-1997, 2003), and Union has one title (1998), second place finishes include Southern Nazarene (1998, 2002) and Union (1993, 1997). NAIA Final Four appearances since 1981, Southern Nazarene has been 12 times, Union has been five times, and Freed-Hardeman has been once (1999)
In the past, this classic included Union and Lambuth playing two national powers from the NAIA at Oman Arena. However, this year, the Rotary Classic has changed venues in favor of moving the Classic to a college campus. Also new in 2003, the Rotary Classic has expanded to include Freed-Hardeman and make the classic a three night event. A cancellation by a visiting team early this fall forced the classic to just two games per night. Now instead of having all three local teams playing each night, each local team will have a night off in the classic.
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Fax: (731) 661-5182