West Coast Conference

The West Coast Conference (WCC) — known as the California Basketball Association from 1953 to 1956 and then as the West Coast Athletic Conference until 1989 — is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with NCAA Division I consisting of ten member schools across the states of California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

West Coast Conference
West Coast Conference logo
DivisionDivision I
Sports fielded
  • 15
    • men's: 6
    • women's: 9
RegionWestern United States
Former namesWest Coast Athletic Conference (1956–1989)
California Basketball Association (1952–1956)
HeadquartersSan Mateo, California
CommissionerGloria Nevarez (since 2018)
West Coast Conference locations

All of the current members are private, faith-based institutions. Seven members are Catholic Church affiliates, with four of these schools being Jesuit institutions. Pepperdine is an affiliate of the Churches of Christ. Brigham Young University is an affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The conference's newest member, the University of the Pacific (which re-joined in 2013 after a 42-year absence), is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, although it has been financially independent of the church since 1969.[1]


West Coast Conference logo from 2011 to 2019
Locations of current West Coast Conference full member institutions.

The league was chartered by five northern California institutions, four from the San Francisco 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. After more than three decades as the WCAC, the name was shortened in the summer of 1989, dropping the word "Athletic."[2][3][4]

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 Pacific-10 Conference (now the Pac-12 Conference) had remained unchanged for a longer period.

The WCC participates at the NCAA Division I level and is considered to be a mid-major athletic conference. The conference sponsors 15 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. Although the WCAC's stature declined in the 1960s, San Francisco 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. As San Francisco was from the 1940s to the early 1980s, Gonzaga has gained recognition as a major basketball power, despite the WCC being a mid-major conference. Gonzaga has been to 19 consecutive NCAA tournaments—the longest streak for any school in the Western United States, tied for the fourth-longest active streak, and the seventh-longest streak in history. They have also been to all but one WCC tournament final since 1995, and have played for the conference title every year since 1998. In 2016–17, the Bulldogs advanced all the way to the national championship game—the deepest run by a WC(A)C team since San Francisco went to three consecutive Final Fours from 1955 to 1957.

Saint Mary's has also made marks for the conference as the Gaels appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2019 (making the "Sweet Sixteen" in 2010).

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. Even so, the two additions, Brigham Young University and University of the Pacific are both faith based institutions, although Pacific has not been financially sponsored by the United Methodist Church since 1969.

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.[5][6] BYU's arrival gave the WCC another school with a rich basketball tradition. The Cougars made the NCAA Tournament six straight times before failing to do so in 2013, and had made 26 NCAA Tournament appearances before joining the conference.

On March 27, 2012, the University of the Pacific (UOP), a charter member of the conference in 1952, accepted an invitation to rejoin the WCC, effective July 1, 2013. The move removed Pacific from the Big West Conference back to the WCC, which Pacific left in 1971 in order to pursue its interests in football that it later abandoned in 1995.[7]

The WCC became the first Division I conference to adopt a conference-wide diversity hiring commitment, announcing the "Russell Rule", based on the NFL's Rooney Rule and named after Basketball Hall of Famer and social activist Bill Russell, a graduate of charter and current conference member San Francisco, on August 2, 2020. In its announcement, the WCC stated:[8]

The “Russell Rule” requires each member institution to include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community in the pool of final candidates for every athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach position in the athletic department.


Current membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Endowment (millions) Team Colors Joined
Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 1875 Private
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
34,100 $1,470 Cougars           2011
Gonzaga University Spokane, Washington 1887 Private
7,421 $276 Bulldogs       1979
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, California 1865 Private
8,972 $472 Lions           1955
University of the Pacific[9][10] Stockton, California 1851 Private
United Methodist Church
6,652 $453 Tigers           1952,*
Pepperdine University Malibu, California 1937 Private
Churches of Christ
6,000 $892 Waves                1955
University of Portland Portland, Oregon 1901 Private
Holy Cross
3,200 $173 Pilots           1976
Saint Mary's College of California Moraga, California 1863 Private
De La Salle Brothers
4,768 $180 Gaels                1952
University of San Diego San Diego, California 1949 Private
Roman Catholic
7,548 $530 Toreros                1979
University of San Francisco San Francisco, California 1855 Private
10,017 $393 Dons           1952
Santa Clara University Santa Clara, California 1851 Private
8,300 $979 Broncos           1952

* – Pacific previously withdrew from the WCC from 1971–72 to 2012–13.

Associate memberEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Endowment (millions) Team Primary
WCC Sport(s) Joined
Creighton University Omaha, Nebraska 1878 Private
8,910 $568 Bluejays Big East women's rowing 2010

Former membersEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Current
San Jose State University
Spartans San Jose, California 1857 Public 30,448 1952 1969 Mountain West
California State University, Fresno
(Fresno State)
Bulldogs Fresno, California 1911 Public 22,565 1955 1957 Mountain West
University of California, Santa Barbara
Gauchos Santa Barbara, California 1891 Public 21,927 1964 1969 Big West
University of Nevada, Reno
Wolf Pack Reno, Nevada 1874 Public 18,227 1969 1979 Mountain West
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Rebels Paradise, Nevada 1957 Public 28,203 1969 1975 Mountain West
Seattle University Redhawks Seattle, Washington 1891 Private
7,500 1971 1980 WAC

Former associate membersEdit

Institution Team Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Primary
WCC Sports
California State University, Bakersfield
Roadrunners Bakersfield, California 1965 Public 8,317 2012–13 2012–13 Big West women's golf
California State University, Los Angeles
Golden Eagles Los Angeles, California 1947 Public 23,258 1975–76 1975–76 CCAA
(NCAA Division II)
University of Nevada, Reno
Wolf Pack Reno, Nevada 1874 Public 18,227 1984–85
1990–91 (baseball)
1986–87 (others)
Mountain West baseball,
women's basketball,
women's tennis,
women's volleyball
United States International University
Gulls San Diego, California 2001 Private 3,871 1985–86 1986–87 (all) n/a^ women's basketball,
women's tennis,
women's volleyball

^ – USIU dropped its athletics program following the end of the 1990–91 school year.

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 had dual membership with the California Collegiate Athletic Association during their tenure in the WCAC before committing full-time with the CCAA 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.


The West Coast Conference sponsors championship competition in six men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports, with the newest addition being softball in 2013-14.[11]

Teams in West Coast Conference competition
Sport Men's Women's
Beach Volleyball
Cross Country

Men's sportsEdit

Men's sponsored sports by school
School Baseball Basketball Cross
Golf Soccer Tennis Total
BYU  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  Y 5
Gonzaga  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
Loyola Marymount  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
Pacific  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y 5
Pepperdine  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  Y 5
Portland  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y 5
Saint Mary's  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
San Diego  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
San Francisco  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
Santa Clara  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 6
Totals 10 10 9 9 8 10 56
Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the West Coast Conference which are played by WCC schools
School Football Rowing[a] Swimming
& Diving
Track & Field
Track & Field
Volleyball Water Polo
BYU FBS Independent No MPSF MPSF Independent MPSF No
Gonzaga No WIRA No Independent Independent No No
Loyola Marymount No WIRA No Independent Independent No WWPA
Pacific No No MPSF No No No Golden Coast
Pepperdine No No No No Independent MPSF Golden Coast
Portland No No No Independent Independent No No
Saint Mary's No No No No Independent No No
San Diego Pioneer League WIRA No No No No No
San Francisco No No No Independent Independent No No
Santa Clara No WIRA No Independent Independent No WWPA
  1. ^ The NCAA sanctions rowing only for women. Men's college rowing is governed by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association.

Women's sportsEdit

Women's sponsored sports by school
School Basketball Beach
Golf Rowing Soccer Softball Tennis Volleyball Total
West Coast
BYU  Y  N  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y 7
Gonzaga  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y 7
Loyola Marymount  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 8
Pacific  Y  Y  Y  N  N  Y  Y  Y  Y 7
Pepperdine  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  N  Y  Y 7
Portland  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  N  Y  Y 7
Saint Mary's  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 8
San Diego  Y  N  Y  N  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 7
San Francisco  Y  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  N  Y  Y 7
Santa Clara  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y 9
Totals 10 7 10 5 6+1[a] 10 6 10 10 74+1
  1. ^ Associate member Creighton.
Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the West Coast Conference which are played by WCC schools
School Gymnastics Lacrosse Swimming
& Diving
Track & Field
Track & Field
Water Polo
BYU Mountain Rim No MPSF MPSF Independent No
Gonzaga No No No Independent Independent No
Loyola Marymount No No PCS&DC Independent Independent Golden Coast
Pacific No No MPSF No Independent Golden Coast
Pepperdine No No PCS&DC No Independent No
Portland No No No Independent Independent No
Saint Mary's No No No No Independent No
San Diego No No MPSF No Independent No
San Francisco No No No Independent Independent No
Santa Clara No No No Independent Independent Golden Coast


School Basketball Arena Capacity Baseball Stadium Capacity Soccer Stadium Capacity
Brigham Young Marriott Center 19,000 Larry H. Miller Field 2,710 South Stadium 4,200
Gonzaga McCarthey Athletic Center 6,000 Washington Trust Field 1,500 Luger Field 2,000
Loyola Marymount Gersten Pavilion 4,156 George C. Page Stadium 1,200 Sullivan Field 2,000
Pacific Alex 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 University Credit Union 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 2,000 Negoesco Stadium 3,000
Santa Clara Leavey Center 4,500 Stephen Schott Stadium 1,500 Buck Shaw Stadium 10,300

Notable sports figuresEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "History & Mission". University of the Pacific. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "Transactions: College". Times Daily. Florence, AL. Associated Press. July 14, 1989. p. 2B.
  3. ^ "WCAC shortens its name to West Coast Conference". Spokane Chronicle. July 14, 1989. p. B5.
  4. ^ West Coast Conference Official Athletics Site – On Campus Archived March 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Wccsports.cstv.com (July 1, 2011).
  5. ^ "BYU Becomes Ninth Member of West Coast Conference" (Press release). West Coast Conference. July 1, 2011. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Katz, Andy (August 31, 2010). "BYU leaving MWC for 2011–12 season". ESPN. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  7. ^ VanderBeek, Brian (March 28, 2012). "University of the Pacific joins West Coast Conference". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "Russell Rule Diversity Hiring Commitment" (Press release). West Coast Conference. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Pacific Rankings". www.pacific.edu.
  10. ^ "Endowment Investments". www.pacific.edu.
  11. ^ The West Coast Conference Official Athletic Site. Wccsports.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  12. ^ Pepperdine Athletes Prepare for Beijing Olympics | Pepperdine University. Pepperdine.edu.
  13. ^ a b c National Men Water Polo Team USA Men's Olympic Team. Usawaterpolo.org.
  14. ^ "BYU sweeps California Baptist as Taylor Sander sets program kills record". NCAA. March 23, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  15. ^ [1] Archived July 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Dr. Ted Leland. "Ted Leland Bio - Pacific". Pacifictigers.com. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "John Fassel athletic career, photos, articles, and videos". Fanbase. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  18. ^ Hobson, Geoff. "Cincinnati Bengals: Hue Jackson". Bengals.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2015.

External linksEdit