Changing the Culture: Piedmont College Freshmen Athletes


Brett Loftis, Sports Editor

Piedmont College athletics has accomplished a number of impressive goals over the past ten years; there has always been a strong attitude of winning put in place at Piedmont. This culture has been instilled in each athlete, and this is largely due to the freshmen classes that arrive in Demorest every August.  


“Dr. Cleere was the first president that ever told me in an interview that we could compete on a national stage and that we could win national championships here,” said Piedmont College Athletic Director Jim Peeples. “Then, when Dr. Mellichamp took over, he unbelievably supported our athletics, and he also understood the importance of Division-III athletics.” 


Since 2010, the Lions have won 14 USA South Conference Tournament championships, three overall President’s Cups and have made 18 NCAA D-III postseason appearances across their respective men and women’s sports. 


Although there has been a great deal of success on the field for Piedmont, there has been strong, quality work off the field, as well.  


“We demand excellence from our student-athletes in the classroom, on the field and in the community,” said Coach Peeples. “There are a lot of people who understand x’s and o’s, but they are not good in all of the areas. It is so critically important to have quality people in place to understand the direction of the institution.” 


In all types of success in life, great leadership must be at the top of the ladder; this is no different in collegiate sports. Coaches must put together exceptional teams, athletic directors must put together exceptional coaching staffs and presidents must put together exceptional faculty and staff members to help create a winning atmosphere and one of success.  


“We, as Piedmont sports, are just one small part of the institution,” said Coach Peeples.  “I think we have the most outstanding coaching staff and support staff in our conference. I say that confidently and not to disparage any other schools in the USA South Conference. I think I am very fortunate and blessed to work with very fantastic people and to be on the same page with everyone on where we want to go.”


Student-athletes are able to experience this on a daily basis. As of 10 years ago on the campus of Piedmont College, the school had only 170 total student-athletes across all athletics.  The incoming class of 2024 has 170 student-athletes in their graduating class alone. Many of the freshman student-athletes have already fallen in love with the college, and this is due in large part to the main focus on both academics and athletics. 


“Coming from Orlando, Fla., Piedmont College gives me a new type of atmosphere that has connected me with my academics and athletics,” said Piedmont freshman men’s basketball player, Noah Reardon.  “I believe Piedmont College has a great educational environment with small class sizes that can prepare me for my future. Piedmont is also helping me accomplish my dream of playing collegiate basketball and being a student-athlete.”