Bursting With PacWest Pride

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - April 06, 2011
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Jet Chang scored 100 points in three games /Photo courtesy BYUH Sports

Proud. It’s what I felt when I heard CBS-TV sportscaster Tim Brando call us “the powerful Pacific West Conference” in the lead up to the NCAA DII national championship men’s basketball telecast.

More pride. It’s what I saw in the faces of the BYU-Hawaii Seasiders and their fans in Springfield, Mass., when they finished runner-up in the nation after earning five straight upset wins in the NCAA tournament to get to the national title game.

Humbled. It’s what I felt from the Seasiders’ Jet Chang when he came out of the locker room to accept the national championship game’s Most Outstanding Player award for scoring 100 points in the three games of the Elite Eight, one of the best individual efforts in the tourney’s history.

More humility. It’s what I heard from BYU-Hawaii head coach Ken Wagner after his team beat the previously undefeated No.1-ranked team in the nation 110-101 in the national semifinals in one of the best college basketball games I’ve ever witnessed, and then again when the Seasiders fell just short 71-68 in the title game to the No. 2-ranked champs from Bellarmine.

Honored. It’s what PacWest Player of the Year Samantha Murphy of Grand Canyon felt when she was tapped NCAA Division II First Team Academic All-American, the inaugural firstteamer in conference history.

Doubly honored. It’s what Samantha Murphy was in the days after leading the nation in scoring and GCU to the PacWest title, as she was tapped DII National Player of the Year by two different organizations.

Thrilled. How I felt with the incredible year we’ve experienced in the PacWest, with more teams than ever in the NCAA men’s basketball regionals - three (Chaminade, BYU-Hawaii, Dixie State), including the two teams that played for regional championships (BYUH and Dixie).

Extremely thrilled. Knowing that for the first time in our conference history three women’s basketball teams (Grand Canyon, Dixie State, Hawaii Pacific) were ranked in the top 10 regional rankings throughout the year, and that one of our two teams that was selected for regionals made it all the way to the finals (Grand Canyon).

Excited. Realizing that the PacWest has the defending 2010 softball national championship team in Hawaii Pacific now playing in a 2011 race that could go down to the wire - with Dixie State, Academy of Art, Hawaii Hilo and Grand Canyon all very much in the title chase with HPU this season.

Very excited. Planning the PacWest women’s tennis championships set for the BYU-Hawaii campus in Laie April 14-16, where eight teams will compete for the conference title, including two nationally ranked teams (HPU and host BYUH), both of which made it to the national semifinals last season.

Amazed. That our Commissioner’s Cup trophy, emblematic of the best overall athletic performance by a conference school in the 11 sports we officially offer, could have its closest finish in the four years since the trophy began. Defending 2010 champion HPU and 2009 winner BYU-Hawaii are currently tied for the lead, but Dixie State and Grand Canyon are only percentage points behind in a race that could go down to the final day of competition this spring.

Proud. Humbled. Honored. Thrilled. Excited. Amazed. It’s what I sense every day from outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and administrators around our great conference.

And, it’s why I love being commissioner of the fastest-rising conference in Division II - the PacWest!

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