West Coast Conference
|West Coast Conference
|Division||Division I non-football|
|Sports fielded||14 (men's: 6; women's: 8)|
|Region||Western United States|
|Former names||West Coast Athletic Conference (1956–1989)
California Basketball Association (1952–1956)
|Headquarters||San Bruno, California|
|Commissioner||Jamie Zaninovich (since 2008)|
All of the current members are private, faith-based institutions. Seven members are Catholic Church affiliates, with four of these schools being Jesuit institutions. Pepperdine is an affiliate of the Churches of Christ. Brigham Young University is an affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The conference's newest member, the University of the Pacific (which joined in 2013), is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, although it has not been financially supported by the church since 1969.
During the massive upheaval of conference affiliations in the 1990s, the WCC remained very stable. Before the 2010 realignment that eventually led to Brigham Young joining the conference, the last change of membership was in 1980, when Seattle University left the conference. At the time, only the Ivy League and Pac-10 (now Pac-12) had remained unchanged for a longer period.
The league was chartered by five northern California institutions, four from the Bay Area (San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara, San Jose State) and one, Pacific, from Stockton. It began as the California Basketball Association, playing its first game on January 2, 1953. After two seasons under that name, the conference expanded to include Los Angeles-area schools Loyola (now Loyola Marymount) and Pepperdine in 1955 and became the "West Coast Athletic Conference" in 1956. After more than three decades as the WCAC, the name was shortened in the summer of 1989, dropping the word "Athletic."
The WCC participates at the NCAA Division I level and is considered to be one of the better mid-major conferences in the country. The conference sponsors 13 sports but does not include football as one of them. San Diego (Pioneer Football League) and Brigham Young (FBS independent) are the only schools fielding a football team. The rest have all dropped the sport, some as early as the 1940s, before the conference existed (Gonzaga and Portland), and one as late as 2003 (Saint Mary's).
Historically, the WCC's strongest sports have been soccer (nine national champions, including back-to-back women's soccer titles in 2001 and 2002) and tennis (five individual champions and one team champion). The conference has also made its presence felt nationally in men's basketball. San Francisco won two consecutive national titles in the 1950s with all-time great Bill Russell and was reckoned as a "major" basketball power until the early 1980s. Also of note was Loyola Marymount's inspired run to the Elite Eight in 1990 following the death of Hank Gathers during that season's WCC championship tournament.
More recently, Gonzaga's rise to national prominence after being invited to the NCAA Tournament every year since their Cinderella run to the "Elite Eight" in 1999 has helped make the WCC a household name. The addition of Brigham Young University (BYU) in 2011 gave the WCC another nationally recognized basketball power. In 2011, BYU player Jimmer Fredette was the National Consensus Player of the Year, as he led BYU to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. As San Francisco was from the 1940s to the early 1980s, Gonzaga and BYU are nationally recognized basketball powers. Currently, the longest consecutive NCAA appearance streak in the Western U.S. belongs to Gonzaga (15), which is tied for the seventh-longest consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance streak among all tournament years. Gonzaga's streak is tied for the fourth longest active streak and is the seventh longest streak in history. BYU made the NCAA Tournament six straight times before failing to do so in 2013. Saint Mary's has also made marks for the conference as the Gaels appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2012 (making the "Sweet Sixteen" in 2010). On May 28, 2009, NBA referee Violet Palmer was hired as coordinator of women's basketball officials for the West Coast Conference and will remain with the NBA, where she has worked for 12 seasons.
Eventually, with the 2010 realignment opening up new avenues for expansion, the WCC decided to revisit expansion plans. The conference decided that it would only seek out private schools, but would not limit its search to faith-based institutions.
On August 31, 2010, Brigham Young University (BYU) announced plans to join the WCC for the 2011–12 season in all sports the conference offers. BYU joined the conference on July 1, 2011. A list of locations for sports not offered by the WCC is found below for all schools, along with the location of where they compete. BYU is the first member of the WCC since Nevada's departure in 1979 to be located within an Interior West state rather than a West Coast state.
On March 27, 2012, the University of the Pacific (UOP), a charter member of the conference, announced that it accepted an invitation to re-join the WCC on July 1, 2013. The move removed Pacific from the Big West Conference back to the WCC, which Pacific left in 1971 in order to pursue its interests in football, which it later abandoned in 1995.
|Brigham Young University||Provo, Utah||1875||Private
|Cougars||Blue, White & Tan
|Gonzaga University||Spokane, Washington||1887||Private
|Bulldogs||Blue, White & Red
|Loyola Marymount University||Los Angeles, California||1865||Private
|Lions||Blue & Crimson
|University of the Pacific||Stockton, California||1851||Private
|Tigers||Orange & Black
|Pepperdine University||Malibu, California||1937||Private
Churches of Christ
|Waves||Blue & Orange
|University of Portland||Portland, Oregon||1901||Private
Congregation of Holy Cross
|Pilots||Purple & White
|Saint Mary's College of California||Moraga, California||1863||Private
De La Salle Brothers
|Gaels||Red, White & Blue
|University of San Diego||San Diego, California||1949||Private
Columbia blue & White
|University of San Francisco||San Francisco, California||1855||Private
|Dons||Green & Gold
|Santa Clara University||Santa Clara, California||1851||Private
|Broncos||Red & White
* - Pacific previously withdrew from the WCC from 1971-72 to 2012-13
|San Jose State University||Spartans||San Jose, California||1857||Public||30,448||1952||1969||Mountain West|
|California State University, Fresno
|Bulldogs||Fresno, California||1911||Public||22,565||1955||1957||Mountain West|
|University of California, Santa Barbara
|Gauchos||Santa Barbara, California||1891||Public||21,927||1964||1969||Big West|
|University of Nevada, Reno
|Wolf Pack||Reno, Nevada||1874||Public||18,227||1969||1979||Mountain West|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas
|Rebels||Paradise, Nevada||1957||Public||28,203||1969||1975||Mountain West|
|Seattle University||Redhawks||Seattle, Washington||1891||Private||7,500||1971||1980||WAC|
Full members Other Conference Other Conference
- Due to space limitations, the following affiliations are not linked within the timeline:
- Fresno State had dual membership with the California Collegiate Athletic Association during their tenure in the WCAC before committing full-time with the CCAA from 1957 to 1969:
- UC Santa Barbara joined what was then the PCAA in 1969. It left in 1974 to become independent and returned in 1976.
- Seattle was a member of the Northwest Conference, then affiliated with the NAIA, from 1997 to 1999. The school then returned to the NCAA as a Division II institution and played as an independent until 2001.
The West Coast Conference sponsors championship competition in six men's and eight women's NCAA sanctioned sports, with the newest addition being softball, a women's sport that will play its first conference season in the 2013-14 school year.
- + = Pacific is adding men's soccer for 2014.
|School||Football||Rowing||Swimming & Diving||Track & Field (Indoor)||Track & Field (Outdoor)||Volleyball||Water Polo|
|Brigham Young||FBS Independent||No||MPSF||MPSF||IC4A||MPSF||No|
|San Diego||Pioneer League||WIRA||No||No||No||No||No|
- † = Former golf associate member Cal State Bakersfield is now a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
- * = Associate member Creighton.
|School||Gymnastics||Lacrosse||Sand volleyball *||Swimming & Diving||Track & Field (Indoor)||Track & Field (Outdoor)||Water Polo|
|Loyola Marymount||No||No||Independent||MPSF||Independent||Independent||Golden Coast|
|Santa Clara||No||No||No||No||No||Independent||Golden Coast|
- * = Sand volleyball is an NCAA "emerging sport" which is fully sanctioned, but does not yet have a national championship.
Famous sports figures
Some of the famous athletes who played collegiately for WCC schools, and coaches and executives that attended WCC schools, include:
- Jimmer Fredette, current NBA player with the Chicago Bulls. Selected with the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Led nation in scoring on his way to becoming 2010-11 Division I Consensus National Player of the Year (2007-2011) (BYU)
- Rick Adelman, head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves since 2011 (Loyola Marymount)
- Dennis Awtrey, former NBA player, (1970-1982) (Santa Clara)
- Bernie Bickerstaff, former NBA head coach (San Diego)
- Mike Brown, NBA head coach for Cleveland (NBA head coach (San Diego)
- Ricardo Brown, one of the Philippine Basketball Association's 25 Greatest Players
- Bill Cartwright, former NBA player and head coach, current NBA assistant. Former NBA All-Star (1980) (San Francisco)
- Doug Christie, former NBA player (1993–2007), selected 17th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics (Pepperdine)
- Darwin Cook, former NBA player (1980-1989) (Portland)
- Richie Frahm, former NBA player (2003-2008) (Gonzaga)
- Dan Dickau, former NBA player (2002-2008) (Gonzaga)
- Maggie Dixon, head women's coach at Army at the time of her unexpected death in 2006 (San Diego)
- Mike Champion, former NBA player (1988-1989) (Gonzaga)
- Hank Gathers, college star who led the nation in scoring and rebounding in 1990 before collapsing and dying during the WCC tournament (Loyola Marymount)
- Bruce Hale, former NBA player, (1948–51), (Santa Clara)
- Elias Harris, current Germany international (Gonzaga)
- Dennis Johnson, former NBA player (1976-1990), 1979 NBA Finals MVP, and 5-Time NBA All-Star. Coached the LA Clippers for one season (2003) (Pepperdine)
- K. C. Jones, former NBA player (1958-1967), and Basketball Hall of Famer (San Francisco)
- Bo Kimble, former NBA player ( 1990-1993) (Loyola Marymount)
- Harold Keeling, former NBA player, (1986), (Santa Clara)
- Tom Meschery, former NBA player (1961-1971), and NBA All-Star (1963) (Saint Mary's)
- Patrick Mills, current Australia international with the San Antonio Spurs (Saint Mary's)
- Adam Morrison, former NBA player known for being the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats and the 2005-06 National College Co-Player of the Year (Gonzaga)
- Austin Daye, current NBA player with the Detroit Pistons. Selected with the 15th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft (Gonzaga)
- Eric Musselman, former NBA head coach (San Diego)
- Steve Nash, point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and 2005 and 2006 NBA MVP (Santa Clara)
- Dick O'Keefe, inaugural season NBA player, (1947–51) (Santa Clara)
- Bud Ogden, former NBA player, (1969-1971) (Santa Clara)
- Michael Olowokandi. former NBA player (Pacific)
- Kelly Olynyk, current Canada men's international with the Boston Celtics (Gonzaga)
- Kurt Rambis, former NBA player (1981-1995) and NBA head coach (1999 and 2009-2011) (Santa Clara)
- Bill Russell, Basketball Hall of Fame Player (12-Time All-Star, 5-Time NBA MVP, and 11-Time NBA Champion) and coach, 1956 College Player of the Year (San Francisco)
- Robert Sacre, current NBA player with the Los Angeles Lakers, and current Canada international (Gonzaga)
- Omar Samhan, currently playing in Lithuania and the Euroleague with Žalgiris (Saint Mary's)
- Ken Sears, former NBA Player (1955–64), First basketball player on a Sports Illustrated cover. (Santa Clara)
- Jose Slaughter, former NBA player (1982-1983) (Portland)
- Mike Smith, former NBA player (1988-1991) (BYU)
- Erik Spoelstra, current head coach of the Miami Heat (Portland)
- Jeremy Pargo, current NBA player with the Cleveland Cavaliers (Gonzaga)
- John Stockton, Basketball Hall of Famer ((10-Time All-Star, and All-Time NBA Leader in Assists and Steals) (Gonzaga)
- Stew Morrill, current college head coach Utah State (Gonzaga)
- Ronny Turiaf, current Los Angeles Clippers player (Gonzaga)
- Courtney Vandersloot, current WNBA player with the Chicago Sky (Gonzaga)
- Nick Vanos, former NBA player, (1985–87) (Santa Clara)
- Conor Casey, 2010 MLS Cup MVP, 2009 MLS Best XI, and former United States men's national soccer team forward (Portland)
- Brandi Chastain, member of the USA national team that won the 1999 Women's World Cup (Santa Clara)
- Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96 captain and three-time World Cup veteran (2002, 2006, 2010) with the United States men's national soccer team (Portland)
- Brian Ching, USA men's national team player (Gonzaga)
- John Doyle, general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, former USA men's national team player (San Francisco)
- Kasey Keller, former US international goalkeeper and four-time World Cup (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) veteran (Portland)
- Shannon MacMillan, member of the 1999 Women's World Cup winners (Portland)
- Tiffeny Milbrett, member of the 1999 Women's World Cup winners (Portland)
- Christine Sinclair, two-time Hermann Trophy winner and all-time leading goal scorer for the Canadian women's national team (Portland)
- Aly Wagner, 2002 Hermann Trophy winner and member of the US women's soccer team that won gold at the 2004 Olympics (Santa Clara)
- Dale Murphy, former MLB Player (1976-1993). 7-time All-Star, and 2-Time NL MVP (1982 and 1983) with the Atlanta Braves (BYU)
- Jason Bay, 2004 National League Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star (Gonzaga)
- Vern Law, former MLB Pitcher (1950-1967). Won the 1960 Cy Young, as he led the Pittsburgh Pirates to the 1960 World Series Championship (BYU)
- Vance Law, former MLB player, and 1-time MLB All-Star (1988). Former BYU Baseball Coach (2000-2012). Son of MLB Pitcher Vern Law. (BYU)
- Randy Winn, former MLB outfielder and 2002 All-Star (Santa Clara)
- Dan Haren, 2007 American League All-Star Game starting pitcher, currently with the Washington Nationals (Pepperdine)
- Noah Lowry, major-league pitcher (currently a free agent) and former college roommate of Dan Haren (Pepperdine)
- Mike Redmond, former MLB catcher and current manager of the Florida Marlins (Gonzaga)
- Mark Teahen, former MLB player (Saint Mary's)
- Tom Candiotti, former MLB pitcher (Saint Mary's)
- Mike Scott, former major-league pitcher (Pepperdine)
- Randy Wolf, former MLB pitcher (Pepperdine)
- Brian Matusz, pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles (San Diego)
- CJ Wilson, pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Loyola Marymount)
- Theo Epstein, President of the Chicago Cubs and former general manager of the Boston Red Sox (San Diego – School of Law only; earned bachelor's degree at Yale)
- Bill Bavasi, MLB executive (San Diego)
- Ken Dayley, former major league pitcher, 1980 1st round draft pick, 3rd overall, pitched in both the '85 and '87 World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals (Portland)
- Bill Krueger, former major league pitcher (Portland)
- Pat Casey, current Oregon State baseball head coach, his team winning both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series (Portland)
- Von Hayes, former major league outfielder/first baseman (Saint Mary's)
- Water polo:
- Terry Schroeder, former NCAA player, two-time Olympic silver medal winner (1984 and 1988), and Head Coach of silver medal winning men's water polo team at the 2008 Summer Olympics (Pepperdine)
- Merrill Moses, silver medal winner at the 2008 Summer Olympics (Pepperdine)
- Jesse Smith, silver medal winner at the 2008 Summer Olympics (Pepperdine)
- Big East Conference, a conference with similar makeup based in the Eastern United States
- "History & Mission". University of the Pacific. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "Transactions: College". Times Daily (Florence, AL). Associated Press. July 14, 1989. p. 2B.
- "WCAC shortens its name to West Coast Conference". Spokane Chronicle. July 14, 1989. p. B5.
- West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site – On Campus. Wccsports.cstv.com (July 1, 2011).
- [dead link]
- Katz, Andy (August 31, 2010). "BYU leaving MWC for 2011–12 season". ESPN. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
- VanderBeek, Brian (March 28, 2012). "University of the Pacific joins West Coast Conference". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- The West Coast Conference Official Athletic Site. Wccsports.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Pepperdine Athletes Prepare for Beijing Olympics | Pepperdine University. Pepperdine.edu.
- National Men Water Polo Team USA Men's Olympic Team. Usawaterpolo.org.