SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Adding to the excitement surrounding the construction of Santa Clara University's new on-campus softball facility, the West Coast Conference recently announced the approval of sponsoring the sport beginning in 2014.
Softball will become the WCC's 14th sponsored sport, and will include the league's six softball-playing institutions (BYU, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Saint Mary's, San Diego and Santa Clara), with the WCC champion receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
"Softball promises to be a very good sport within the WCC," said Dan Coonan, Santa Clara's Director of Athletics and Recreation. "The West Coast in general is extremely talent-rich in softball. In recent years the sport has increased in popularity and visibility as more people tune in to the NCAA tournament on ESPN."
"Being a part of the prestigious WCC conference elevates our sport in so many ways," said Santa Clara softball head coach Lisa Mize. "I think it is a great move as it puts SCU in a competitive environment with notable name recognition, which is the direction we are taking the program."
The announcement stems from the 2012 WCC Executive Council and Presidents' Council Meetings in June. In attendance were the Presidents, Athletic Directors, Senior Woman Administrators and Faculty Athletic Representatives from all 10 institutions, including the University of the Pacific - which will officially join the Conference on July 1, 2013.
In May of this year, the University broke ground on the future home of Bronco softball on the team's former practice site, Bellomy Field. Since 1979, the Broncos have played 'home' games in stadiums and parks around the Bay Area. Coonan commented that, "The softball facility we are presently fundraising for could not be coming at a more opportune time."
The Broncos will play one more season in a re-organized Pacific Coast Softball Conference in the Spring of 2013. With five teams leaving the PCSC to join the recently formed Big Sky Softball Conference, the PCSC alignment condenses to seven teams for the upcoming season, made up primarily of WCC schools (Santa Clara, LMU, BYU, St. Mary's, San Diego, Cal State Bakersfield and Utah Valley).
For the very latest on Santa Clara softball, follow the team's official Twitter page (@SCUSoftball) and the Bronco softball Facebook page for updates and information throughout the year.