Stetson basketball is in March Madness! Where is it? 8 things to know about the school

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The Hatters are going dancing!

The Stetson University men's basketball team beat Austin Peay on Sunday to claim the Atlantic Sun Conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. It's the first time since the team rose to Division I status in 1971 that Stetson will be a part of March Madness.

The small private university in DeLand, Florida, now gets its turn in the spotlight. Stetson is primarily known for its prestigious law school and a couple of ace pitchers in Major League Baseball, not to mention the famous hat made by the school's namesake.

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Last year, Florida Atlantic rose to prominence after its team made its unlikely run all the way to the Final Four. Though its stay in "The Big Dance" is not expected to be nearly that long, Stetson is ready for its chance to shine. Here's what you need to know about the university:

Where is Stetson University located? What to know about DeLand, Florida

Stetson University is a private university in DeLand, Florida. It is on the I-4 corridor, about 22 miles southwest of Daytona Beach and roughly 40 miles north of Orlando.

One of the oldest universities in Florida, Stetson was founded in 1883. For the spring 2024 semester, Stetson reported 2,158 undergraduate students and 1,320 grad students.

What is Stetson University famous for? Is Stetson a good school?

Stetson is known for its academics, especially its law school, which was the first in Florida. The Stetson College of Law is considered among the best in the country in legal writing and trial advocacy.

Stetson is featured among the Best Colleges of the South by The Princeton Review and is the No. 4 regional university in the South according to U.S. News & World Report.

What is the tuition for Stetson University?

The 2023-24 tuition for Stetson is $54,820, according to the university.

How did Stetson University get its name? Why are they called the Hatters?

When it was founded in 1883, the university was known as DeLand Academy after Henry DeLand, founder of the town and the school. In 1889, it was renamed after John B. Stetson, the inventor of the iconic cowboy hat, who was a major donor to the university.

"After a disastrous freeze affecting the citrus industry left DeLand in financial distress, Stetson, who had a winter home in DeLand, became interested in the school," according to the Stetson athletics website. "At Deland's request, Stetson was made chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1889 and the university was renamed in his honor."

Stetson began its football team, the first in Florida, in 1901 and went by the Hatters as a nod to the university's namesake.

Is Stetson a Division 1 school? Does it have football?

Stetson has 19 sports teams, competing in NCAA Division I. Its football team plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, though it's had just two winning records since 2013.

What sport is Stetson University known for?

Stetson has seen the most success in baseball, which has made the NCAA Tournament 19 times. The Hatters made it as far as the Super Regionals in 2018. The team's most successful pro athletes are pitchers Corey Kluber, who won two Cy Young awards with Cleveland over his 13-year career, and Jacob deGrom, won won two Cy Youngs with the New York Mets and is currently on the World Series champion Texas Rangers.

The women's basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament three times, most recently in 2013. They have yet to win a game in the tournament.

Who are famous Stetson University alumni?

Here's a sampling of notable Stetson alumni:

  • Pam Bondi: Former Florida attorney general and adviser to President Donald Trump

  • Ted Cassidy: actor who played Lurch on "The Addams Family"

  • Jacob deGrom: Two-time Cy Young award-winning MLB pitcher

  • Louis DeJoy: U.S. postmaster general

  • Corey Kluber: Two-time Cy Young award-winning MLB pitcher

  • Britt McHenry: Former ESPN and Fox News personality

  • Rich McKay: CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, general manager of the Super Bowl champion 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Ashley Moody: current Florida attorney general

  • Kathleen Passidomo: Florida Senate president

  • John E. Thrasher: former president of Florida State University

How far is Stetson University from the beach?

Stetson is about 25 miles inland off Florida's Atlantic coast. To get to the closest beach, you would have to drive about 35-40 minutes down Route 44 to New Smyrna Beach, or up U.S. 92 to Daytona Beach.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Stetson University: 8 things about the Hatters, DeLand, March Madness