Best Is Yet To Come For PacWest
Wednesday - June 29, 2011
The annual PacWest meetings wrapped up in Honolulu earlier this month with big news.
First, the conference unveiled a brand new updated logo, and then the presidents unanimously approved an end-of-season conference basketball tournament that will show off the league and crown the PacWest champion.
The news was met with excitement by coaches and players as the PacWest basketball teams will now battle for automatic bids to the NCAA regionals in much the same showcase as other big conferences around the nation. The first conference tournament is tentatively scheduled for the end of the 2012-13 season when the PacWest expands to 14 schools.
The league has come a long way in the last five or so years. It wasn’t too many seasons ago that the PacWest had only the four DII universities in Hawaii - Chaminade, BYU-Hawaii, HPU and UH Hilo - along with Grand Canyon of Phoenix.
Since then, Dixie State of Utah, Notre Dame de Namur, Dominican and Academy of Art from the Bay Area, and Cal Baptist of Riverside, Calif., have made it a 10-school conference for this upcoming year of 2011-12. Four more California schools - Azusa Pacific, Point Loma Nazarene, Holy Names and Fresno Pacific - have been invited in for the following year, pending acceptance by the NCAA Division II membership committee this summer.
The new tournaments for the top PacWest men’s and women’s basketball teams will be the confer-ence’s crowning jewels.
Meanwhile, the PacWest just finished another year of proud accomplishments. During 2010-11, the conference placed more teams in NCAA regional and national tournament competition than ever before.
Just one year after Hawaii Pacific won the league’s first ever national title in softball, BYU-Hawaii made it to the national championship game in men’s basketball, playing before a national television audience during March Madness.
That amazing run by the undersized Seasiders (with no starter standing over 6 feet 5 inches tall) netted BYU-Hawaii head coach Ken Wagner National Coach of the Year honors. Earlier, Seasider guard Jet Chang was named the Most Outstanding Player at the national championships.
And on the women’s side, Grand Canyon’s Samantha Murphy was named the NCAA II Player of the Year after leading the nation in scoring.
Other great accomplishments by PacWest teams this year included Chaminade’s major upset win over Oklahoma in the Maui Invitational, Dixie State’s three straight wins over Division I women’s basketball teams, BYU-Hawaii’s incredible run to secure the confer-ence’s first ever host spot in the NCAA women’s soccer regionals, UHHilo’s Cinderella ride to the conference men’s golf title followed by a strong regional finish and an amazing trip to the nation-als,
BYU-Hawaii’s women’s cross country team earning a spot at the national championships, and HPU’s co-championship with Dixie in soft-ball that pushed the SeaWarriors to their second straight Commissioner’s Cup title.
The PacWest also celebrated great things off the field. Grand Canyon earned the conference’s first-ever Make-A-Wish Award by donating the net proceeds from their basketball gate receipts this year to the worthy charity, Notre Dame de Namur and Dixie State shared the conference Community Engagement Award for their outstanding community service, and Dominican won its second straight
Academic Achievement Award with an impressive 3.25 student-athlete grade point average. Overall, PacWest athletes once again netted a conference GPA of over 3.0.
With accomplishments like that, it’s no wonder we’re excited about the future in DII’s fastest-rising conference - the PacWest! Check us out online at thepacwest.com.
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