The Valparaiso University Crusaders compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. Valparaiso competes in the Horizon League in all sports except for football, which is not sponsored by the conference. The football team is a member of the Pioneer Football League. On May 27, 2006, Valparaiso announced it would join the Horizon League, effective July 1, 2007. This move has rejoined the school with six former Mid-Con rivals.
- 1 Conference affiliation
- 2 Teams
- 3 Venues
- 4 Mascot
- 5 Football
- 6 Men's basketball
- 7 Baseball
- 8 Women's basketball
- 9 Women's volleyball
- 10 Women's soccer
- 11 Men's soccer
- 12 Softball
- 13 Track & field
- 14 References
- 15 External links
|Years||Football||Men's Basketball||Women's Basketball|
|1982–1987||Division II||Mid-Continent Conference|
|1987–1992||Division II||Mid-Continent Conference||North Star Conference|
|1992–1993||Division II||Mid-Continent Conference||Mid-Continent Conference|
|1993–2007||Pioneer Football League||Mid-Continent Conference||Mid-Continent Conference|
|2007-||Pioneer Football League||Horizon League||Horizon League|
Men's Intercollegiate Sports
Women's Intercollegiate Sports
- † = The football team competes in the Pioneer Football League.
- ‡ = The bowling team competes as an independent.
VU plays its home football games, as well as men's and women's soccer games, at Brown Field (capacity 5,000), opened in 1919. Its basketball, swimming and volleyball teams play at the ARC, which has a capacity of 5,000. The Crusaders' baseball team plays at Emory G Bauer Field. The tennis teams use the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex. The cross country teams compete at Sunset Hills Farm.
After years of going without one, Valparaiso University pursued a mascot in 1931. The Uhlan was chosen over the Dunesmen and the Vandals. After debate in 1941 over choosing a mascot less proximate to the Nazi cause, the Crusader was chosen as the new mascot in 1942. The original illustrated mascot was penned by a Disney artist and patented in 1951, and used until 2010, when the school rebranded itself athletically and academically.
The Valparaiso football program was started in 1919, as prior to this point the administration believed athletics were a distraction from academic pursuits. George Keogan, who also coached the men's basketball team, was the first coach. The first game was October 4 at Brown Field, a win over the Chicago YMCA team 26-0. The team had a 5-3 record that year. . In 1943 and 1944, the Crusaders did not field a football team due to World War II.
The Crusaders resumed their football program in 1945. That year, they joined their first conference, the Indiana Collegiate Conference, their home until 1976. The post-war years began a tremendous run of coaching stability. They hired Emory Bauer in 1946. Bauer would coach the team until 1967. Walt Reiner would also coach the team from 1957 until 1964. Until 2006, only four other men would coach the Crusaders. This includes Stacy Adams who in 2005 became the university's first African American head coach.
In 1977, the Crusaders joined the Heartland Collegiate Conference. In 1990, the Crusaders moved to the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference. During their time in these conferences, they would lose more often than win.
Division I years
In 1993, the NCAA mandated that schools playing Division I basketball may only play football in Division I. The Crusaders along with five other schools formed the Pioneer Football League, where they remain today. Playing primarily against non-scholarship teams, the Crusaders' reversed their fortunes. They won their first outright championship in 2003, when they won the PFL championship game.
|1951||Cigar Bowl||Wisconsin-La Crosse||47||Valparaiso||14|
The Crusaders basketball program began in 1917. Since then, they have won 8 conference championship tournaments and appeared in the NCAA tournament 7 times. They are currently coached by Bryce Drew (son of former coach Homer Drew) and play their home games at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Crusaders baseball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, where they lost to play Purdue and Kentucky in the Gary Regional. The regional was played at the U.S. Steel Yard. The Crusaders advanced in 2013 after winning their second straight Horizon League title, where they lost to Indiana, eliminated Florida, and lost to Austin Peay in the Bloomington Regional.
The Crusaders women's basketball team started play during the 1971-1972 season. The team joined the North Star Conference for the 1987-1988 season. In 1990-1991, the Crusaders reached the finals of the North Star Conference Tournament before losing to DePaul. The Crusaders' best season in the North Star Conference was 1991-1992. That year, they finished with a record of 20-9. The 1992-1993 season was their first season in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2004 seasons under coach Keith Freeman. The Crusaders lost in the first round each of these years, to Purdue and Kansas State, respectively. Marlous Nieuwveen is the only Crusader to appear in a WNBA game. Debbie Bolen (1989–1993) and hall of fall class of 1999, is the current holder of 18 single game records, season and career women's basketball individual records including points scored, scoring average, most field goals, most free throws, assists, and steals.
The women's volleyball team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1994, 1995 and 2003–2005.
In 2005, the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
In 1996, the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Crusaders softball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, where they lost to Louisville in the first round of the Louisville Regional. In the second round, the Crusaders lost to Kentucky. The Crusaders softball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2013, where they lost to Michigan in the first round of the Ann Arbor Regional. In the second round, the Crusaders eliminated Central Michigan. However, they lost to California in the third round.
Track & field
In 2007, the women's team finished in third place in the Mid-Continent Conference championships, only losing to Southern Utah and Oral Roberts. The men's team finished fifth. In addition, sophomore Laura Rolf was named an All-American in the mile run, finishing tenth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.