2023 Shorter vs North Greenville

Shorter University Football In 2023: What To Know About The Hawks

Shorter University Football In 2023: What To Know About The Hawks

The Shorter University football team returns in 2023 as a member of the Gulf South Conference. Here’s what to know about the program.

Oct 10, 2023 by Matt Cannizzaro
Shorter University Football In 2023: What To Know About The Hawks

The Shorter University football team finished the 2022 season in the cellar of the Gulf South Conference, so there’s nowhere to go but up for the Hawks. 

The season started with 79 points over a pair of wins, but that was followed by a seven-game losing streak.

Shorter was 3-8 overall last year and 1-6 in conference play. The lone GSC win came against North Greenville, which finished just above Shorter in the conference standings, tied with Valdosta State at 2-5.

Head coach Zach Morrison returns for his sixth season, and he remains focused on adding to the tradition and success he enjoyed as a player at Shorter from 2005-2008.

The Shorter football team has not had a winning season since going 6-5 in 2012. From 2015-2019, Shorter actually lost 48 consecutive games, before ending the run with a 37-7 win over Allen University in November 2019.

In 2023, the Gulf South Conference will include nine teams (up from eight) and return three that finished with winning records in 2022. Among the returning teams are the University of West Florida and Delta State, which posted 6-1 records in conference play to share the Gulf South title. 

West Florida finished 2022 with a 12-2 overall record, and Delta State was 11-2. West Florida made the NCAA Division II semifinals, losing to eventual national champion Ferris State.

Gulf South football action will be streamed live on FloFootball and the FloSports app, including all of Shorter’s Gulf South games.

Here’s What To Know About Shorter University Football:

What Year Did Shorter University Start Playing Football?

The first season of varsity football at Shorter University was 2005, and the Hawks played at the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) level as part of the Mid-South Conference, where they remained through the 2011 season.

In What Division Of College Football Does Shorter University Play? 

After a successful run at the NAIA level, Shorter University began the transition process into the NCAA Division II level in 2011 and in time to compete in the Gulf South Conference for the 2012 football season. 

However, until the three-year transition was complete, postseason play would not be possible for the Hawks.

How Many Times Has Shorter Football Made It To The Playoffs?

The Shorter University football team has not been to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Prior to moving up to Division II, Shorter did appear in the NAIA Football Championship Series (2008). The Hawks suffered a 31-7 first-round loss to Cumberlands (Kentucky).

In 2014, Shorter appeared in the Victory Bowl, a championship game for schools that are members of the National Christian College Athletic Association and didn’t qualify for the NCAA or NAIA playoffs.

The Hawks lost to North Greenville University, 42-16.

When Did Shorter Football Join The Gulf South Conference?

Shorter University joined the Gulf South Conference in time for the 2012 football season, but the Hawks were not full members of the conference (or of NCAA) until after a three-year transition period that began in 2011. 

Shorter’s first full season in the GSC was in 2014. That year, Shorter was 3-8 overall and 1-6 in conference play. 

With Conference Carolinas now adding football, Shorter will be moving on again. 

Conference Carolinas will debut six programs for football in 2025: Barton, Chowan, Erskine, UNC Pembroke, North Greenville and Shorter. 

North Greenville and Shorter currently play in the Gulf South Conference, while Erskine’s football team will join the GSC for the 2024 season, before moving on again. Shorter will play as an independent in 2024 before the move.

Has Shorter Football Ever Won The Gulf South Title?

Shorter has not won a Gulf South Conference football title.

Who Is The Shorter University Football Head Coach?

The head football coach at Shorter University is Zach Morrison, who played center for the inaugural Shorter football team from 2005-2008.

He took over coaching duties at the end of 2017 and is ready to embark on his sixth season at the helm.

Morrison only won one game over his first two seasons in charge (0-11 and 1-10), but his squad has shown improvement, going 2-2 in the COVID-19 shortened 2020-2021 season and 3-8 in both 2021 and 2022.

Prior to taking the top job at Shorter, Morrison enjoyed nine years at the high school level, spending time at a variety of schools across Georgia. 

As a player, Morrison was a standout at Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, Georgia, and he went on to start every game of his collegiate career at Shorter. He was a three-time all-conference selection and a two-time NAIA All-American. The Hawks were 25-18 across his playing career and made their lone playoff appearance.

Who Is Shorter University Football’s Biggest Rival? 

The biggest game the Shorter football team has played was the 2014 NCCAA Victory Bowl, in which it lost to North Greenville University, 42-16.

If not, maybe it was the 31-7 first-round loss to Cumberlands (Kentucky) in the 2008 NAIA playoffs.

Given the age of the Shorter football program, there may not yet have been time to develop a formal rivalry, but getting retaliation against North Greenville is a fun annual storyline, now that they’re in the same conference and will be again when they join Conference Carolinas. 

In all, they’ve played six times since 2008, with North Greenville winning four times. In 2023, they’ll meet at NGU on Nov. 4. 

If North Greenville isn’t a logical rival, another GSC team could fit the bill.

Tagging Cumberlands probably doesn’t make sense, as the teams haven’t met since 2011, before Shorter jumped divisions. In their last five meetings, Cumberlands won four times.

Where Is Shorter University?

Shorter University is located in Rome, Georgia, and opened in 1873 as the Cherokee Baptist Female College.

After great financial support from Alfred and Martha Shorter, the school’s name was changed to Shorter College in 1877. 

A new Shorter campus opened in 1910, and men were admitted for the first time for the 1948-1949 academic year. A century after celebrating the new campus, continued growth led to the school becoming Shorter University in 2010.  

In 2014, the NCAA officially welcomed Shorter as a full member of the Division II level. 

Notable Shorter University Alums

Among the noteworthy alumni of Shorter University are Jamie Barton (opera singer), Anthony O’Garro (professional soccer player), I.M. Ibrahim (The Father of Clemson Soccer), Vivian Louise Aunspaugh (painter and art teacher), Patrick Montgomery (politician), and Marilyn Lloyd (businesswoman/politician).

Shorter University Football Schedule 2023

  • Aug. 31: at Samford University, 7 p.m. ET
  • Sept. 9: Erskine College, 2 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 16: Chowan University, noon ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 23: at Delta State University, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 30: Mississippi College, noon, FloSports
  • Oct. 7: at University of West Florida, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 14: Clark Atlanta University, noon
  • Oct. 21: at Valdosta State University, 3 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 26: University of West Georgia, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 4: at North Greenville University, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 11: University of West Alabama, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports