Pacific To Join West Coast Conference In 2013-14

            SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The West Coast Conference announced today the University of the Pacific has formally accepted an invitation to join the WCC on July 1, 2013, for the 2013-14 academic year.

            Pacific was one of five founding members of the WCC (then the California Basketball Association) in 1952-53 and remained in the conference until 1971.

            "We are pleased to welcome back the University of the Pacific as the 10th member of the West Coast Conference," Saint Mary's College President and WCC Presidents' Council Chair Brother. Ronald Gallagher, F.S.C., Ph.D, said. "The University of the Pacific is an outstanding fit with our membership as an independent institution with a strong academic reputation and rich athletic history. It is a great opportunity to bring one of our founding members back into the conference and once again extend our footprint into the rapidly growing markets of Sacramento, Stockton and the Central Valley."

            "We are delighted to join the West Coast Conference," University of the Pacific President Dr. Pamela A. Eibeck, Ph.D., said. "This is a conference built on deeply held values that Pacific has in common with the other WCC institutions: developing the whole student intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally and spiritually."

            Pacific joined current WCC members Saint Mary's College, the University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University, as well as San Jose State, as the five founding members of the California Basketball Association. The league began play on January 2, 1953, as a convenient way for five Northern California schools to play basketball. The league became the West Coast Athletic Conference in 1956 after adding both Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University in 1955. Pacific left the WCAC in 1971, and since that time, the conference has added the University of Portland (1976), Gonzaga University (1979), the University of San Diego (1979) and Brigham Young University (2011) and shortened its name to the West Coast Conference.

            The University of the Pacific has enjoyed an impressive recent history of men's basketball success, including back-to-back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Tigers upset fifth-seeded Providence in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, and after receiving an at-large bid as a No. 8 seed in 2005, posted an opening round win over Pittsburgh. Pacific made its third straight NCAA appearance in 2006 and fell in overtime to fourth-seeded Boston College.

            Both of Pacific's NCAA Championships have come in women's volleyball with back-to-back national titles in 1985 and 1986 amidst a stretch of 24 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Pacific will join in the WCC in 2013-14 in baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's cross country, men's golf, women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball.

 "I am excited to welcome the University of the Pacific back to the West Coast Conference," WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said. "We have been engaged in ongoing conversations with Pacific and are very impressed by the leadership of Pamela Eibeck and Ted Leland. Pacific brings to the West Coast Conference a strong geographical rival with excellent on-campus facilities and a recent history of athletic success in sports that are priorities for the WCC."

"We feel that Pacific is coming home by joining the WCC, where we have such a rich history," said Ted Leland, Ph.D., Pacific Vice President for External Relations and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. "We look forward to competing with this amazing set of institutions."

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said the addition of Pacific is welcome from a scheduling standpoint.

"We just experienced a basketball season where we saw how cumbersome it can be to try and schedule a nine-team conference and at the same time try and be fair to all institutions," Roth said. "We needed a tenth team."

Roth said Pacific will be a good addition to the conference.

"I've been the athletic director at Gonzaga for 15 years, and Pacific has always been a part of expansion talks," Roth said. "Ted Leland is one of the most respected individuals in intercollegiate athletics and with Ted's commitment to Pacific in becoming the fulltime athletic director I think the conference is confident Pacific will continue to grow athletically."



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