PORTLAND, Ore. – Brigham Young University has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific Coast Softball Conference, as announced by PCSC Commissioner Ellen Moore. The Cougars' first year in the PCSC will be the 2013 softball season.
The addition of BYU will give the PCSC seven teams for the 2013 campaign as the Big Sky Conference will begin sponsoring softball in 2013, meaning the PCSC's Big Sky core-members of Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State will leave the PCSC after this season. Seattle University will also be leaving the PCSC for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) following the 2012 campaign.
While the West Coast Conference (WCC) does not sponsor softball, the Cougars will be among five WCC schools in the soon-to-be seven-team PCSC in 2013. BYU will play the 2012 season in the WAC before joining fellow WCC members Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Saint Mary's in the PCSC.
PCSC alignment for 2013:
Santa Clara, LMU, BYU, St. Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley
Current PCSC alignment for 2012:
Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Seattle, Weber State, Utah Valley
Santa Clara, LMU, Sacramento State, St. Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield
"The Pacific Coast Softball Conference is excited to formally welcome Brigham Young University softball into the PCSC family," said Moore. "In BYU, we have added an institution with a strong academic reputation, a tradition of excellence in athletics -- specifically softball -- and a loyal and supportive community of fans. We are thrilled to have them on board and can't wait for them to join us on the field in 2013."
Brigham Young was an original member of the Mountain West Conference, when the conference formed in 1999. The Cougars left the MWC this past summer, playing as an NCAA FBS Independent in football, with the majority of its other sports joining the West Coast Conference.
"We are grateful to have found a conference home in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference for our excellent softball team," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "The PCSC provides an opportunity for Coach Eakin and his team to strengthen the national status they have earned during his tenure. The PCSC membership includes West Coast Conference partners with whom we hope to build a great softball conference."
Under Eakin, the Cougars have been the preeminent program of the Mountain West Conference. Eakin has guided BYU to a 371-160 record in nine years as head coach, with five Mountain West Conference titles. The Cougars went 40-18 en route to claiming their third consecutive conference title and seventh straight 40-win season. BYU has also made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2010.
"Our coaching staff and team are excited to have a new home in the PCSC. We feel it is a conference that fits our needs and one that allows us to continue to build a strong softball program," Eakin said. "The PCSC has high quality coaching staffs and I have no doubt their programs will provide tough competition and push us to improve. We are also thrilled with the new venues and the great West Coast weather they provide. We look forward to being an active partner in strengthening and moving forward the PCSC."
Since becoming head coach of the Cougars in 2003, Eakin has coached nine players that have earned a combined 12 All-American honors. BYU had two All-America selections last season in pitcher Paige Affleck (second team) and catcher Jessica Purcell-Fitu (third team).
The PCSC was founded in the fall of 2002 when six members from the Western Athletic Conference, Western Intercollegiate Softball League and the Big West Conference came together to form the PCSC. The conference officially came into existence when it was approved by the NCAA Division I Management Council Administrative Committee on Oct. 17, 2002. The original members were Loyola Marymount, Portland State, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara and San Diego. Loyola Marymount won the first conference title in 2003.
The PCSC expanded to 12 teams in October 2008 with the addition of CSU Bakersfield, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Seattle, Utah Valley and Weber State.
Rick Stupak (PCSC Sports Information Director) contributed to this report