Big West Conference
|Big West Conference|
|Division||Division I non-football|
|Sports fielded||16 (men's: 7; women's: 9)|
|Former names||Pacific Coast Athletic Association|
|Commissioner||Dennis Farrell (since 1992)|
The Big West Conference (BWC) is a mid-major collegiate athletic conference affiliated with NCAA Division I. When the conference began in 1969, its name was the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). After nineteen years, in 1988, its name was changed to the Big West Conference. The conference stopped sponsoring college football after the 2000 season.
- 1 History
- 2 Membership
- 3 Sports
- 4 Champions
- 5 Facilities
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Creation of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association
The Big West Conference was formed on July 1, 1969, as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The charter all-sports members of the PCAA were Cal State Los Angeles, Fresno State, Long Beach State, San Diego State, San Jose State, and UC Santa Barbara. The University of the Pacific joined only for football, becoming an all-sports member two years later.
Four of these charter members (Cal State Los Angeles, Fresno State, Long Beach State, and San Diego State) had previously been members of the nation's premier Division II conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). After capturing multiple national championships, the members sought a higher level of play, which could be found within the university ranks. Charter football member Pacific and charter all-sports members San Jose State and UC Santa Barbara had also been CCAA members in the past, but had moved to the West Coast Athletic Conference (now West Coast Conference) before joining the PCAA.
The seven schools formally met in May 1969 and finalized the creation of the PCAA less than two months later.
Since its inception as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, the conference has seen many changes throughout the years. Utah State was the first institution outside of California to join the conference in 1978. This opened the floodgates for many other schools to affiliate with the PCAA; notable schools include UNLV, Nevada, Louisiana Tech, and Boise State, among others.
In 1983, the PCAA became the first western conference to introduce women's athletic programs, giving the opportunity for all its members to have their women student-athletes compete at the same level as their male counterparts. This proved vital for Hawaiʻi as their only participation in the conference was for their women's sports.
However, turnover of universities started to take its toll. Many left to join conferences that were perceived as more well-known, such as the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference, while others did not see the benefit of travel since historically many of the teams have been California-based. From the departures of Idaho and Utah State in 2005 until the arrival of Hawaiʻi in 2012, all members were based in California, reducing both the cost and travel time between the universities. When Hawaiʻi joined, it agreed to help defray a portion of travel costs to that state for the league's California members. Between full and associate members, there have been no fewer than 25 members in the conference's history, while only two of the original seven charter members remain (Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara).
The change to the Big West
To mark its 20th year as an athletic conference, in 1988 the Pacific Coast Athletic Association decided to change its name to the Big West Conference. The move signaled the changing landscape within the conference. With such schools as Utah State, UNLV, Nevada, New Mexico State, and Hawaii now in the fold, the name change was more representative of the population. In addition, the conference had signed a contract with ESPN to have its men's basketball games telecast as the third game of a triple header known as "Big Monday" - the other conferences being featured were the Big East and the Big 12 so the name Big West fit the "big" theme. Despite the eventual departure of all non-California based teams, the widely known "Big West Conference" name has remained constant.
- Division I Champions
|Primary Conference||Big West
|California State University, Sacramento
|Hornets||Sacramento, California||1947||Public (California State University system)||24,388||2012||0||Big Sky||Men's soccer|
Many of the former members of the Big West are now members of either the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference. Of the nine schools that were in the WAC before the 2010–13 conference realignment, only Hawaii has not spent some time in the Big West as a football participant – it was a Big West member only in women's sports. Of all the former members, Cal State Los Angeles is the only team that reverted to Division II level.
School names and nicknames reflect those used by the institutions when they were Big West members. One school has changed its name (Southwestern Louisiana, now Louisiana–Lafayette) and one its nickname (Arkansas State, from Indians to Red Wolves).
Former full members
Former football-only members
at the time of joining
Big West football
|Arkansas State University||Indians||Jonesboro, Arkansas||1909||Public||13,438||1993,
|Louisiana Tech University||Bulldogs||Ruston, Louisiana||1894||Public||11,581||1993||1996||Sun Belt||C-USA|
|Northern Illinois University||Huskies||DeKalb, Illinois||1895||Public||25,313||1993||1996||Summit||MAC|
|University of Southwestern Louisiana*||Ragin' Cajuns||Lafayette, Louisiana||1898||Public||16,885||1993||1996||Sun Belt|
* - Currently known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Full members Full members (non-football) Assoc. members (football only) Assoc. member (list sports) Other Conference Other Conference
- UC Santa Barbara was an independent from 1974–1976.
The Big West sponsors championship competition in seven men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports:
|Track and Field (Outdoor)||
The Big West is strong in several sports. Men's Baseball/Women's Softball and Women's Volleyball have been the strongest historically. Cal State Fullerton has won 4 College World Series in 1979, 1984, 1995, and 2004. Cal State Fullerton also has won an NCAA Championship in Women's Softball winning the conference's only title in 1984. Long Beach State has won 5 Women's Volleyball championships in 1972, 1973, 1989, 1993, 1998, the last three being NCAA sanctioned titles. In 1998 Misty May-Treanor led the 49ers to a 36-0 record en route to the program's most recent title. Pacific won back to back Women's Volleyball titles in 1985 and 1986.
The Big West has also become competitive in Men's Volleyball. Long Beach State won the first NCAA title for the conference in 1991 while UC Irvine has created a dynasty for itself recently. They are the defending Men's Volleyball Champions (2012) and have also won championships in 2007 & 2009.
Water Polo is also a strength for the conference with four NCAA championships won. UC Irvine won three national championships (1970, 1982 & 1989) in Men's Water Polo while UC Santa Barbara won a title in Men's Water Polo in 1979.
The current members of the Big West have won a total of nineteen NCAA national championships including UC Santa Barbara’s most recent Men’s Soccer Championship in 2006. The conference has won a total of twenty NCAA titles counting the UNLV College Basketball Championship when they were a member of the Big West back in 1990 after defeating Duke 103-73.
The most recent winner of the Big West Conference Tournament is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (2014), who won the tournament as the number 7 seed.
|1969||San Diego State*|
|1970||Long Beach State* & San Diego State|
|1971||Long Beach State|
|1972||San Diego State|
|1973||San Diego State|
|1974||San Diego State|
|1975||San Jose State|
|1976||San Jose State|
|1978||San Jose State and Utah State|
|1980||Long Beach State|
|1981||San Jose State*|
|1983||Cal State Fullerton*|
|1984||Cal State Fullerton (UNLV* forfeited)|
|1986||San Jose State*|
|1987||San Jose State*|
|1990||San Jose State*|
|1991||Fresno State* & San Jose State|
|1993||Utah State* & Southwestern La.|
|1994||UNLV*, Southwestern La., & Nevada|
|1996||Nevada* & Utah State|
|1997||Utah State* & Nevada|
The Big West Conference discontinued football following the 2000 season.
|School||Basketball Arena||Capacity||Baseball Stadium||Capacity||Soccer Stadium||Capacity|
|Cal Poly San Luis Obispo||Mott Gym||3,032||Robin Baggett Stadium||1,734||Alex G. Spanos Stadium||11,075|
|Cal State Fullerton||Titan Gym||4,000||Goodwin Field||3,500||Titan Stadium||10,000|
|Cal State Northridge||Matadome||1,600||Matador Field||1,000||Matador Soccer Field'||1,550|
|Hawaiʻi||Stan Sheriff Center||10,300||Les Murakami Stadium||4,312||Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium||4,500|
|Long Beach State||Walter Pyramid||5,000||Blair Field||3,238||George Allen Field||1,000|
|Sacramento State||Men's Soccer Member Only||Hornet Field||1,500|
|UC Davis||The Pavilion||7,600||Dobbins Baseball Complex||3,500||Aggie Field||1,000|
|UC Irvine||Bren Events Center||4,984||Cicerone Field||2,900||Anteater Stadium||2,500|
|UC Riverside||UC Riverside Student Recreation Center||3,168||Riverside Sports Complex||2,500||UCR Soccer Stadium||900|
|UC Santa Barbara||UCSB Events Center (the Thunderdome)||5,600||Caesar Uyesaka Stadium||1,000||Harder Stadium||17,000|
- Dhillon, Jagdip (March 29, 2012). "Tigers back 'home'". The Record (Stockton, California). Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- UC Santa Barbara joined the conference when it was founded in 1969, left to become an independent after the 1973–74 season, then rejoined in the 1976-77 season.
- Arkansas State joined the conference for football in 1993, left to become an independent after the 1995–1996 season, then re-joined in 1999, only to leave again after the 2000–2001 season.
- Big West Football. Web.archive.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Big West Conference. Web.archive.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- "The Mike and Arlene Walter Pyramid". California State University, Long Beach. Retrieved February 12, 2012.