The Lenoir-Rhyne University Football Team was picked to repeat as South Atlantic Conference Champions in 2012. The Bears were voted first in the league's preseason coaches poll, announced Monday by the SAC office. Lenoir-Rhyne, which finished 7-3 overall last fall including a 6-1 mar
in conference play, received four of the eight first-place votes and 46 points overall.
The conference title in 2011 was the Bears' first league championship since 1994.
Lenoir-Rhyne returns several key players this fall including senior linebacker Demetrius Green (Cedartown, Ga.), senior defensive lineman Brandon Martin (Roebuck, S.C.) and junior defensive back Michael Green (Kingsland, Ga.). Demetrius Green is the reigning South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player Of The Year while all three players earned preseason NCAA Division II All-American accolades.
All told, the Bears return 18 starters including seven on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Mars Hill (8-3, 6-1), who shared the league title with Lenoir-Rhyne last year, was voted to finish second after picking up two first-place votes and 35 total points.
Lenoir-Rhyne opens the 2012 season on Saturday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m., against Concord on the road in Athens, W.Va. L-R will then face rival Davidson in its home opener on Saturday, September 8, at 7:00 p.m., at Moretz Stadium.
2012 South Atlantic Conference
Football Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (4) 46
2. Mars Hill (2) 35
3t. Newberry (1) 33
3t. Wingate (1) 33
5. Carson-Newman 26
6. Tusculum 24
7. Catawba 18
8. Brevard 9
Photo Courtesy: Bears Coach Mike Houston, L-R Athletics