The NCAA on Friday awarded Greenville’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena men’s basketball tourney games for 2017.
The games were initially scheduled for Greensboro, NC but were removed last month, with other championships, in opposition to the HB2 bill in that state.
Greenville previously was host to NCAA contests in 2002.
The Southern Conference and Furman will serve as official hosts. The SoCon provided the following release upon Friday’s morning announcement:
Furman University and the Southern Conference will serve as co-hosts of NCAA Tournament First/Second Round games, scheduled for March 17 & 19, 2017, at the 13,765-seat Bon Secours Wellness Arena in downtown Greenville.
“We are thrilled the NCAA has entrusted us to host one of its most celebrated championships and look forward to welcoming the student-athletes, coaches, and fans of competing schools to our home next March,” said Furman Director of Athletics Mike Buddie. “It’s great to be back in the business of hosting NCAA Championships in our community and state, and we are dedicated along with our Main Street Area, Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and VisitGreenvilleSC partners to provide an unparalleled, first-rate championship experience.”
Furman, the Southern Conference, and Greenville last served as host of NCAA Basketball Tournament First/Second Round action in 2002 when Duke, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Kent State, Notre Dame, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, and Winthrop comprised the eight-team field for six South Region Tournament contests at the BI-LO Center (now Bon Secours Wellness Arena).
“Both the Southern Conference and Furman University are honored to co-host the NCAA Tournament,” said Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino. “We’re proud to have the NCAA place their trust and confidence in us and look forward to working with the leaders in Greenville and the Upstate of South Carolina to make this a great event.”
“Our community as a whole, but especially the business community, has been tremendously supportive and encouraging of our efforts to host NCAA events since the ban was lifted last year,” says Beth Paul, General Manager at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena General. “This announcement is another example of how Greenville continues to move in a forward direction. We are honored to host such a prestigious tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena and will continue to uphold values of respect and inclusion for all guests and student athletes.”
“We’re excited to welcome thousands of basketball fans this March to Greenville, South Carolina!,” said Chris Stone, President of VisitGreenvilleSC. “Fans and student-athletes are in for a treat as Greenville boasts a new standard of “Wow!” As eager as we are to show off our destination, we’re even more honored to represent the State of South Carolina, known world-wide for its special blend of Southern Hospitality.”
The NCAA announced in September the relocation of several neutral site championships from North Carolina, including 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament First/Second Round games originally scheduled for Greensboro, N.C.
Said Furman men’s head basketball coach Niko Medved: “This is exciting news for the Greenville community, Furman University, and for all sports fans around the Upstate. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is one of the premier sporting events in the world, and it will be great for so many people to see first-hand all that our community has to offer.”