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.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Mascot: Blue Raiders
Distance to Lynchburg: 483 miles
TV market: No. 28 in US (Nashville, TN)
Joined CUSA: 2013
CUSA football championships: N/A
Coach: Rick Stockstill
Stadium: Johnny Red Floyd Stadium
Middle Tennessee moved to the FBS ranks, originally as an Independent, in 1999 before joining the Sun Belt in 2001. The Blue Raiders remained there until 2013 when they made the jump to Conference USA. Rick Stockstill is one of the longest tenured head coaches in college football, having guided MTSU since 2006. He owns a 98-97 overall record at Middle Tennessee, and he has made eight bowl games including a streak of four straight from 2015-2018. Over the past three seasons, the Blue Raiders have been unable to surpass the four win mark including a 4-5 record so far this season.
On the hardwood, MTSU has won Conference USA championships in 2016 and 2017 with regular season titles in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018. The Blue Raiders have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2013, 2016, and 2017 during that time while advancing to the second round in both 2016 and 2017. Former UNC Asheville head coach Nick McDevitt is entering his fourth season as head coach of Middle Tennessee, but he has failed to record a winning season during his time, finishing near the bottom of the CUSA standings each of the past three years. Prior to McDevitt, current Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis, Jr manned the sidelines for 16 seasons, leading the Blue Raiders to being a top 50 ranked KenPom team in four out of his final seven seasons.
Former Liberty skipper Jim Toman has been Middle Tennessee’s head baseball coach since June 2018. In nine years as head coach of the Flames, he posted a winning record in all nine of his seasons while averaging 37 wins per season and leading Liberty to five tournament championship appearances and consecutive Regional appearances in 2013 and 2014. Toman is currently trying to lead MTSU back to its former glory days when they advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2009. Last season, MTSU finished the season with an overall record of 24-29-1.