The Liberty Flames are headed to Conference USA where the Flames will compete as all-sports members beginning with the 2023-24 athletic season. Over the next several days, we will be profiling each member of C-USA as we all get to know Liberty’s new home a little better.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Location: Miami, Florida
Distance to Lynchburg: 917 miles
TV market: No. 18 in US
Joined CUSA: 2013
CUSA football championships: N/A
Coach: Butch Davis
Stadium: Riccardo Silva Stadium
Florida International University is the fourth largest public university in the country, behind Central Florida, Texas A&M, and Ohio State. Their athletic history includes time with the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC), which is now known as the ASUN, the Sun Belt, and Conference USA.
FIU’s football program is younger than Liberty’s, not getting its start until 2002 as an FCS Independent. They joined the Sun Belt three years later, making them one of the fastest teams to transition from FCS to FBS. To date, they only have one conference championship which came in 2010 and is shared with Troy. Major realignment was sparked in 2013 with the likes of Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF moving from CUSA to the AAC. FIU, in turn, went to CUSA.
Butch Davis was announced as their head coach in 2017 and took them to three straight bowl games. The honeymoon phase is over for Davis though as FIU has totaled seven wins over the last three seasons. Their only win this year has come against FCS opponent Long Island University. Things have been slow-going for the Panthers over the years. Only four of their 18 seasons competing as an FBS squad have been winning seasons.
Since joining CUSA in 2013, their men’s basketball team has posted six losing seasons. The 2018 and 2019 seasons offered two of their best finishes in eight years though. They earned a trip to the College Insider Tournament in 2019 where they made it to the second round. The only NCAA tournament appearance for the Panthers came in 1995 when they were apart of the TAAC. Overall, FIU has been a mid-tier team for CUSA in men’s basketball.
The Panthers’ baseball team is one of the most successful programs in the school’s history. The team has reached the post-season 14 times in school history, including nine times as a Division I program. FIU advanced to the Super Regionals in 2001, part of a successful run when they advanced to the NCAA Regionals seven out of eight seasons a run that ended in 2002. Since that time, the Panthers have advanced to a Regional in 2010, 2011, and 2015.