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Garnet and blue come together to provide exciting athletic competition for the local community throughout the year.

The South Carolina State Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs represent the university in a number of sports, including basketball, cross country, tennis, and track and field. There’s also women’s soccer, softball and volleyball, and men’s football.

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The Bulldogs compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championship subdivision and most teams are members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

South Carolina State is a charter member of MEAC. The Bulldogs’ football team leads MEAC in conference championships.

The university’s historically dominant football program started in 1907.

The team has won 16 conference titles (the last in 2014) and has a 6-7 bowl record.

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The school has produced three players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Harry Carson, Deacon Jones and Marion Motley.

Other legendary Bulldog players include Robert Porcher and Donnie Shell.

Legendary former S.C. State Coach Willie Jeffries became the first African American head coach of a predominantly white Division 1-A football program in 1979 when he was hired to coach the Wichita State football program. Jeffries is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The team plays its home games at Oliver Dawson Stadium and its logo is the strutting Bulldog.

The men and women's basketball teams play home games at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. The men's basketball team has appeared in the NCAA tournament five times and has been regular season conference champs seven times since 1977.

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The Lady Bulldogs won the MEAC Tournament four times in an eight-year span from 1978 to 1986, while winning back-to-back tournaments in 1992 and 1993.

The university's other athletics programs have seen success over the years as well.

Here is a sampling of their success over the years:

• S.C. State won the MEAC Championship in men's indoor track and field in 1981, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1991 and in 2002.

Just this year, Tyrell Richard won the 2019 NCAA Indoor National Championship in the 400 meters. The Georgetown native nabbed the gold medal at the NCAA Indoor Championship on March 9 with a clocking of 44.82, the fastest time in the nation this season.

• S.C. State’s Lady Bulldogs won the MEAC Championship in outdoor track and field from 1982-1986 and in 1988.

Both the men and women's cross country teams have competed for the MEAC cross country championship several times.

• S.C. State's men's tennis team won the 2018 MEAC men’s tennis championship. It was the Bulldogs’ 15th overall title and their ninth in the last 11 years.

• The women's tennis team won the MEAC title in 2017 and 2018. It has won the title 13 times.

• The women's volleyball team won the MEAC championship in 2010 and 1990.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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