Davenport Panthers
UniversityDavenport University
ConferenceGreat Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
NCAADivision II
Athletic directorPaul Lowden
LocationGrand Rapids, Michigan
Varsity teams22 NCAA
3 Non-NCAA varsity
11 non-varsity
Basketball arenaStudent Center
Baseball stadiumBaseball Sportsplex
Softball stadiumChristian Recreation Center
Soccer stadiumFarmers Insurance Athletic Complex
Other venuesPatterson Ice Center
MascotPounce the Panther
ColorsRed and black[1]

The Davenport Panthers are the athletic teams of Davenport University located in Caledonia Township, Michigan. DU is a member of the NCAA and compete at the Division II level in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) for most sports. Men's lacrosse and wrestling currently compete as an NCAA independent;[2] although both sports will join the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) in 2020–21.[3] In addition the university's competitive cheer and Stunt teams compete National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) while the DU competitive dance team competes in the National Dance Association (NDA).[2] Davenport added varsity Esports as a member of National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) in 2018.[4]

In addition to NCAA sports, DU also offers additional sports that the NCAA does not currently sponsor championships.[5] Men's rugby competes at the Division I level of USA Rugby's Midwest Rugby Union,[6] as well as a JV team at the DII level. Men's ice hockey competes in the ACHA Division I in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL),[7] as well as a JV team at the ACHA DIII level.

Davenport gained full membership in the NCAA in 2019 after successfully completing the multi-year transition process. Formerly the panthers were a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Wolverine–Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).[8]


Men Women
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Bowling
Bowling Competitive Cheer
Cross country Cross country
Football[9] Dance
Golf Golf
Ice Hockey Ice Hockey
Lacrosse Lacrosse
Rugby Rugby
Soccer Soccer
Swimming and Diving Swimming and Diving
Tennis Softball
Track and field Tennis
Volleyball Track and field
Wrestling Volleyball

Men's basketball

The men's basketball team plays its games at 1,500-seat DU Student Center.[10] The Panthers won their first WHAC conference champions in 2012.[11] The team appeared three NAIA Men's Division II Basketball Championships tournaments 2010, 2011, and 2012.[12] The team reached the quarterfinal round in 2011 and in 2012, the Panthers reached the NAIA DII Final Four for the first time in the program's history.[13] In their first NAIA Final Four appearance, the third-ranked Panthers lost to the second-ranked and eventual 2012 Champions, Oregon Tech 50–55.[14]

Ice hockey

DU hockey player in an away uniform (2010).
DU hockey player in an away uniform (2010).

The Davenport men's ice hockey program started in 2002 through the 2009–2010 season the program competed in at the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II level in the Great Midwest Hockey League (GMHL). Since the 2008–2009 season, DU has also fielded a second/JV team participating at the ACHA Division III level in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference (MCHC).

Davenport hockey captured three straight Division II National Championships in 2008, 2009, and 2010.[15] As of the conclusion of the 2009–10 season the Panthers had a record of 325–75–13 (.803).[16]

In the 2010–11 season, the program moved to the ACHA Division I level in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League.[7] The team finished their first season at the ACHA DI level with an overall record of 36–10–0 and 15–4–0 in the GLCHL. On March 9, 2011, Davenport won the ACHA Men's Division I National Championship 3–2 in overtime against two-time defending champions Lindenwood.[17] The team finished the 2011–12 regular season with an overall record of 21–21–0 and 15–5–0 in the GLCHL.[18] Despite losing in the GLCHL playoffs, the Panthers received an at-large bid to the 2012 ACHA Men's Division I National Championship, ranked 14th.[19] In the opening round, the team defeated Drexel 4–1 before the team lost 1–3 to Delaware,[20] the eventual 2012 ACHA DI Champions.[19]

Men's lacrosse

Men's lacrosse program began in 2008 and joined the NCAA ranks in the 2019–20 academic year.[21] Prior to NCAA competition, the Panthers competed as a member of the MCLA Division I in the Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association;[22] In 2011, the Panthers defeated the two-time defending champion, St. Thomas 14–9 in the MCLA Division II National Championship game to win the school's first lacrosse championship. The win concluded a program best record of 18–5. In addition to the 2011 Championship, the Panthers have received bids to the MCLA Division II Tournament three straight seasons in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The 2013 season was their 1st season as a MLCA Division I program.[21] In addition to MCLA competition, DU won the first NAIA men's lacrosse national invitational tournament with a 13–10 win on May 7, 2016.[23] DU elevated the program from MCLA to NCAA status in 2019 and after playing the 2020 season as an independent, announced the team will join the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) in 2020–21.[3]

Women's lacrosse

Women's lacrosse joined the NAIA independent National Women's Lacrosse League (NWLL) starting in the 2011–12 academic year. The NWLL served as the governing body during emerging sport status for NAIA women's lacrosse. Following creation of a national invitational tournament, DU won the inaugural NAIA title.[24] The program began in 2008 as a member of the WDIA Division II in the Women's Collegiate Lacrosse League.[25] In the first four seasons the team compiled a record of 27–35–1 at the WDIA club level and a record of 10–9 in its first season of NAIA competition with a 4–6 NWLL record in 2011–12.[26]


Davenport Rugby competes in the Division 1-A of college rugby. The team plays its home games at DU Turf Field. College rugby is governed by USA Rugby as the sport is not governed by the NAIA or NCAA.[27] Men's rugby is one of the newest varsity sport offerings by Davenport University, first played in 2009. Davenport began its rugby program, in part due to the growth of rugby in Grand Rapids and throughout western Michigan.[27] Davenport began its rugby program with big ambitions, stating their goal of becoming a premier rugby program in the midwest and advancing to the USA Rugby national championship playoffs.[27]

Davenport played its inaugural 2009–2010 season in Division II. The team opened its season in September 2009 with a 100–0 shutout win over Wayne State.[28] The Panthers finished the 2009–2010 season with a record of 11–3, went 8–0 in conference play, and notched an impressive non-conference 27–5 win over DI-AA program Michigan State.[29]

The Panthers first-year success led the Panthers to compete in Division I-AA in the 2010–2011 season. Despite stepping up to a higher level of competition, the Panthers had another strong season, going 3–1 in conference play, and notching impressive non-conference wins against College Premier Division (DI-A) opponents Notre Dame and Ohio State, as well as DI-AA powerhouses Michigan State and Wisconsin.[30] A come-from-behind 29–27 win over Indiana in the fall of 2010 meant that Davenport qualified for the spring 2011 USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship tournament.[31] In the university's first appearance in the tournament, Davenport entered the 16-team tournament as the 16th seed and only at-large bid.[32] Davenport first shutout Minnesota 27–0 in the round of 16, before defeating Kansas State 46–5 in the quarterfinals to earn a spot in the USA Rugby semifinals, held in Stanford, California.[33] Davenport defeated Harvard 62–21 in the D1 National Semifinals to clinch a berth in the championship. In the championship game Davenport defeated UC-Santa Barbara 38–19 to win the USA Rugby Men's Division I Rugby Championship, in only the program's second season of play and the program's first season in Division 1.[34] Davenport's freshman flyhalf JP Eloff was named the tournament MVP, scoring 22 points in the semifinal and 25 points in the final.[34] Davenport finished the championship season with a record of 15–2 and outscored opponents by a combined score of 595 to 255.[30]

In its third season, the Panthers began the 2011–2012 season ranked #1 in preseason polls.[35] The 2011–2012 season was another successful campaign for the Panthers, going 6–0 in conference play, and finishing the regular season ranked #1 in D1-AA.[36] The strong play of flyhalf J.P. Eloff, the leading scorer in D1-AA,[37] led to Eloff being selected to participate in trials for the US national team. In the playoffs, Davenport beat Texas 87–0 in the round of 16, defeated Wisconsin 34–11 in the quarterfinals, and defeated Dartmouth 35–18 in the semifinals.[38] The win over Dartmouth placed the Panthers in the championship for the second consecutive season. In the 2012 championship game, Davenport shutout San Diego State 39–0 to win 2012 USA Rugby Division I-AA National Championship.[39] The Panthers 2011–12 season was marked by the Panthers going undefeated in collegiate competition.[39] The team had a loss to Utah in the semifinal round of Qualifier Tournament for the 2012 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship and exhibition losses against the Chicago Griffins and Chicago Lions, both of the Rugby Super League.[30][40]

For the 2012–13 season, Davenport moved up to play in Division 1-A.


National championships

Ice Hockey (M) (ACHA) 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Lacrosse (M) (MCLA) 2011, (NAIA) 2016
Lacrosse (W) (NWLL, NAIA) 2016
Rugby (M) (USARugby) 2011, 2012
Cheerleading (NCA) 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
STUNT (NCA) 2015, 2016, 2017
Soccer (M) (NAIA) 2014

Conference championships

i. Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC):

Basketball (M) 2012
Basketball (W) 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013
Golf (M) 2006, 2007, 2008
Soccer (M) 2005, 2010
Softball 2011, 2012
Tennis (W) 2012

ii. American Heartland Conference Champions

Bowling (W) 2010, 2011

iii. Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL): 2011

iv. Great Midwest Hockey League (GMHL): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

v. Great Lakes Intercollegiate Hockey Association (GLIHA): 2004

vi. Midwest Rugby Eastern Conference (MREC): 2011


  1. ^ Davenport University 2016-17 Sports Information Style Guide (PDF). June 28, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Athletic Communications Quick Facts". Davenport Panthers Athletics. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Jeff (November 12, 2019). "Davenport to Become GLVC Associate Member in Men's Lacrosse, Wrestling". GLVC. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Davenport University to add Esports for the 2019-20 season". Davenport Panthers. December 19, 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Athletic Communications NV Quick Facts". Davenport Panthers Athletics. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  6. ^ VanOchten, Brian (July 13, 2010). "Davenport rugby program promoted to Division 1 Eastern Conference". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Staff (November 13, 2010). "All-Michigan GLCHL League To Debut in 2010–2011". American Collegiate Hockey Association. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Kaminski, Steve (July 12, 2019). "It's official: Davenport granted Division 2 active membership". MLive Sports. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Davenport University".
  10. ^ "Main Arena". Davenport University. 2011-03-22. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  11. ^ Hodge, Taylor (February 27, 2012). "Davenport Wins WHAC Tournament Championship". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  12. ^ "2011–12 Davenport Men's Basketball Media Guide". Davenport University. November 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  13. ^ VanOchten, Brian (March 10, 2012). "Davenport men's basketball team makes Final Four for first time". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Amorose, Steve (March 13, 2012). "Davenport Falls in NAIA Semifinals". WXMI Fox 17. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Staff (March 20, 2010). "Davenport men's hockey club seals third ACHA Division II title in a row with 12–4 win". The Grand Rapids Press. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |url= (help)
  16. ^ "Hockey Records" (PDF). Davenport University. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  17. ^ "2010–2011 ACHA D1 National Champions! Panthers Defeat Lindenwood 3–2". Davenport University. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "2011–2012 Men's Ice Hockey (DI) Schedule". Davenport University. March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "2012 M1 National Tournament". ACHA. March 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  20. ^ Backer, Joe (March 4, 2012). "Late goals key Delaware's 3–1 tournament victory over Davenport". Dover Post. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  21. ^ a b Hanson, Tim (May 31, 2011). "Davenport Lacrosse Wins MCLA National Championship". MLive.com. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  22. ^ Staff (May 1, 2010). "Davenport Edges Grove City in CCLA Quarterfinals". laxpower.com. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  23. ^ Staff (May 8, 2016). "2016 Lacrosse National Invitational". NAIA. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  24. ^ Staff (May 7, 2016). "Davenport Wins Inaugural Women's Lacrosse Invitational Title". NAIA. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  25. ^ "WCLL Locations". Women's Collegiate Lacrosse League. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  26. ^ "2012 Women's Lacrosse Schedule". Davenport University. 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  27. ^ a b c "Varsity Rugby Team Accepted into Midwest Rugby League". Davenport University. June 12, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  28. ^ "Ruggers Dominate Wayne State for Program Opening Victory". Davenport University. September 5, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  29. ^ "2009–10 Men's Rugby Schedule". Davenport University. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  30. ^ a b c "2010–11 Men's Rugby (DI) Schedule". Davenport University. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  31. ^ "Ruggers Earn National Tournament Berth with 29–27 Win over Indiana". Davenport University. November 6, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  32. ^ Clifton, Pat (May 14, 2011). "Davenport Wins DI National Title". Rugby Magazine. Archived from the original on October 13, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  33. ^ "D1 Rugby Advances to Final Four with 46–5 Win over Kansas State". Davenport University. May 1, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  34. ^ a b Chaney, Jeff (May 14, 2011). "Davenport rugby team beats University of California-Santa Barbara for national title". Mlive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
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  36. ^ Staff (April 9, 2012). "Men's D1-AA College Top 25, April 9, 2012". Rugby Magazine. Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  37. ^ Ganline.us, Davenport 39 San Diego State 0, May 20, 2012, http://www.gainline.us/gainline/
  38. ^ "2011–12 Men's Rugby (DI) Schedule". Davenport University. 2011–2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  39. ^ a b Staff (May 20, 2012). "Davenport claims second consecutive club rugby title in a rout". MLive.com. Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  40. ^ "2012 LVI Scores – CRC Qualifier". Rugby Magazine. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2012.

Coordinates: 42°50′59″N 85°31′51″W / 42.8498°N 85.5307°W / 42.8498; -85.5307