West Coast Conference
DivisionDivision I non-football
Members9 (10 in 2013)
Sports fielded13 (men's: 6; women's: 7)
RegionWestern United States
HeadquartersSan Bruno, California
CommissionerJamie Zaninovich (since 2008)

The West Coast Conference (WCC) is an NCAA collegiate athletics conference consisting of nine member schools across the states of California, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

All of the current members are private, faith-based institutions. Pepperdine is an affiliate of the Churches of Christ and Brigham Young University is an affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The other seven members are Catholic Church affiliates. Four of the seven Catholic schools are Jesuit affiliates. The incoming University of the Pacific, which will join in 2013, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, although it has not been financially supported by the church since 1969.[1]


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. The name was then shortened in 1989, dropping the word "Athletic."[2]

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 lead 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 (14). 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.[3]

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.[4] 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 would remove 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.[5]


Current membersEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined
Brigham Young University Cougars Provo, Utah 1875 Private – LDS Church 34,100 2011
Gonzaga University Bulldogs Spokane, Washington 1887 Private – Catholic; Jesuit 7,229 1979
Loyola Marymount University Lions Los Angeles, California 1865 Private – Catholic; Jesuit/Marymount 8,972 1955
Pepperdine University Waves Malibu, California 1937 Private – Churches of Christ 6,000 1955
University of Portland Pilots Portland, Oregon 1901 Private – Catholic; Congregation of Holy Cross 3,200 1976
Saint Mary's College of California Gaels Moraga, California 1863 Private – Catholic; De La Salle Brothers 4,768 1952
University of San Diego Toreros San Diego, California 1949 Private – Catholic 7,548 1979
University of San Francisco Dons San Francisco, California 1855 Private – Catholic; Jesuit 8,722 1952
Santa Clara University Broncos Santa Clara, California 1851 Private – Catholic; Jesuit 8,300 1952

Future membersEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Joining
University of the Pacific Tigers Stockton, California 1851 Private-Methodist (Methodism) 6,652 1952, 2013

Both University of Denver and Seattle University have been rumored to be strongly interested in joining the WCC. However, Denver apparently took a WCC move off the table when it announced it would join The Summit League effective in July 2013.

Affiliate membersEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment WCC Sport Primary Conference
California State University, Bakersfield[7] Roadrunners Bakersfield, CA 1970 Public 8,000 women's golf (will join softball in 2014) NCAA D-I Independent (through 2013)/ WAC (as of 2013-14)
Seattle University[8] Redhawks Seattle, WA 1891 Private 7,500 women's golf WAC
Creighton University[9] Bluejays Omaha, Nebraska 1878 Private 7,300 women's rowing Missouri Valley
Utah Valley University[10] Wolverines Orem, Utah 1941 Public 33,395 softball Great West (through 2013)/ WAC (as of 2013-14)

Former membersEdit

Institution Team Location Joined Left Current Conference
San Jose State University Spartans San Jose, California 1952 1969 Mountain West
California State University, Fresno
(Fresno State)
Bulldogs Fresno, California 1955 1957 Mountain West
University of California, Santa Barbara
Gauchos Santa Barbara, California 1964 1969 Big West
University of Nevada, Reno
Wolf Pack Reno, Nevada 1969 1979 Mountain West
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Rebels Las Vegas, Nevada 1969 1975 Mountain West
Seattle University Redhawks Seattle, Washington 1971 1980 eventually joined the NCAA Division II ranks,[11] then returned to Division I. Now a member of the WAC.[12]

Membership timelineEdit

Brigham Young UniversityUniversity of San DiegoGonzaga UniversityUniversity of PortlandWestern Athletic ConferenceGreat Northwest Athletic ConferenceNational Association of Intercollegiate AthleticsSeattle UniversityMountain West ConferenceWestern Athletic ConferenceBig West ConferenceBig Sky ConferenceUniversity of Nevada, RenoMountain West ConferenceWestern Athletic ConferenceBig West ConferenceUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasBig West ConferenceUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraPepperdine UniversityLoyola Marymount UniversityMountain West ConferenceWestern Athletic ConferenceBig West ConferenceCalifornia State University, FresnoSaint Mary's College of CaliforniaSanta Clara UniversityUniversity of San FranciscoBig West ConferenceUniversity of the Pacific (United States)Mountain West ConferenceWestern Athletic ConferenceBig West ConferenceSan Jose State University

Full members Other Conference Other Conference

  • Due to space limitations, the following affiliations are not linked within the timeline:
    • Fresno State was a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association 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.

Sports Edit

The West Coast Conference sponsors championship competition in six men's and seven women's NCAA sanctioned sports, with softball to be added for the 2013-14 school year.[13] Cal State, Bakersfield is an Associate member for women's golf, and Creighton is an Associate member for women's rowing.

Teams in West Coast Conference competition
Cross Country

In addition to the WCC sponsored sports, all member schools participate in one or more sports which are not sponsored by the WCC, participating as members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, as members of other conferences, or as independents.

Famous sports figures Edit

Some of the famous athletes who played collegiately for WCC schools, and coaches and executives that attended WCC schools, include:


School Basketball Arena Capacity Baseball Stadium Capacity Soccer Stadium Capacity
Brigham Young Marriott Center 20,900 Larry H. Miller Field 2,710 The Stadium at South Field 3,800
Gonzaga McCarthey Athletic Center 6,000 Washington Trust Field and Patterson Baseball Complex 1,500 Gonzaga Soccer Field 2,000
Loyola Marymount Gersten Pavilion 4,156 George C. Page Stadium 1,200 Sullivan Field 2,000
PacificAlex G. Spanos Center 6,150 Klein Family Field 2,500 Knoles Field 600
Pepperdine Firestone Fieldhouse 3,104 Eddy D. Field Stadium 1,800 Tari Frahm Rokus Field 1,000
Portland Chiles Center 4,852 Joe Etzel Field 1,000 Merlo Field 4,892
Saint Mary's McKeon Pavilion 3,500 Louis Guisto Field 1,000 Saint Mary's Stadium 5,500
San Diego Jenny Craig Pavilion 5,100 Fowler Park 1,700 Torero Stadium 6,000
San Francisco War Memorial Gymnasium 5,300 Dante Benedetti Diamond at Max Ulrich Field 2,000 Negoesco Stadium 3,000
Santa Clara Leavey Center 4,500 Stephen Schott Stadium 1,500 Buck Shaw Stadium 10,300

† University of the Pacific, currently a member of the Big West Conference, returns to the WCC in 2013.


  1. "History & Mission". University of the Pacific. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  2. West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site – On Campus. (July 1, 2011).
  3. [1][dead link]
  4. Katz, Andy (August 31, 2010). "BYU leaving MWC for 2011–12 season". ESPN. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  5. VanderBeek, Brian (March 28, 2012). "University of the Pacific joins West Coast Conference". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  6. University of the Pacific accepts invitation to join West Coast Conference in 2013–14 academic Year – West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site.
  7. West Coast Conference adds CSU Bakersfield as affiliate member in women's golf – West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site. (December 1, 2011).
  8. WCC Women's Golf Adds Seattle University As Affiliate Member – West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site. (August 26, 2010).
  9. Women's Crew Joins West Coast Conference As Affiliate Member –, The Official Site of Bluejay Athletics.
  10. UVU softball: Wolverines to join WCC in 2014.
  11. #1 in College Sports.
  12. Seattle University Joins Western Athletic Conference – Seattle University Redhawks Athletics. (July 5, 2011).
  15. Pepperdine Athletes Prepare for Beijing Olympics | Pepperdine University.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 National Men Water Polo Team USA Men's Olympic Team.

External linksEdit

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