West Coast Conference History
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 to provide a convenient venue for five San Francisco Bay Area schools to compete in basketball. Since that modest beginning, the Conference has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in intercollegiate athletics, with 13 league-sponsored sports: baseball; both men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and tennis; and women's volleyball and women's rowing.
The league began in 1952-53 as the California Basketball Association, and included College of the Pacific, Saint Mary's College, University of San Francisco, San Jose State University, and Santa Clara University. It remained five teams until 1956-57, when Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, and Fresno State joined the conference, giving it eight teams. At that time, the conference's name was changed to the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC).
After just one season, Fresno State departed and the WCAC remained a seven-member conference until welcoming UC Santa Barbara in 1965-66. Four years later UC Santa Barbara and San Jose State left the WCAC, and were replaced by Nevada-Reno and Nevada-Las Vegas - expanding the conference's footprint to a second state.
Pacific announced its departure in 1971, and was replaced by Seattle University for the 1971-72 school year. Four years later, UNLV announced its independence after winning a WCAC men's basketball crown. The WCAC was left with seven member institutions for two years, before welcoming the University of Portland prior to the 1977-78 school year.
Nevada left the WCAC in 1979, and the conference welcomed Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego to the mix beginning in 1979-80. One year later, Seattle ended its participation at the Division I level, reducing the number of schools in the WCAC from nine to eight.
The WCAC shortened its name to West Coast Conference in 1989, and developed a new logo in 1995 that lasted until 2011. Thirty years after its most recent expansion, the WCC welcomed its ninth member by extending an invitation to Brigham Young University in September of 2010. BYU officially joined the West Coast Conference on July 1, 2011, followed by the return of University of the Pacific on July 1, 2013.
Today, the 10 WCC members span the western coast of the United States from Canada to Mexico, from the pine forests of Eastern Washington, to the Columbia River Basin, to the dynamic San Francisco Bay Area, to the sunny beaches of Southern California, to the majestic mountains of Utah. The Conference is characterized by the stability of its membership - only two conferences have been together longer - and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics.
The Conference recognizes championships in each of its sports, has hosted NCAA championship events, and produced 26 NCAA Division I individual or team champions. And, many outstanding WCC student-athletes have gone on to excel in professional sports.
The long and rich history of the WCC demonstrates that success in intercollegiate athletics can be built on the foundation of values, character, and academics.