WAC Will Field 10 Baseball Programs In 2013…
Both the Dallas Baptist University and Cal State Bakersfield baseball programs will join the Western Athletic Conference beginning with the spring 2013 season. Both programs have been playing as Division One Independents for the duration of their existence.
“We are very excited to accept the invitation and have our baseball team join the WAC, said Jeff Konya, CSUB Athletic Director. “It’s a testament to the excellent work done by our coaching staff, our student-athletes and our program. All have worked tirelessly to make our baseball program an attractive conference member in such a short time.”
In just three seasons of play, CSUB head coach Bill Kernen has built the Roadrunners not only from the ground up, but into a nationally-ranked, top RPI performing program that has competed and had success against established programs such as UCLA, Arizona State, Nebraska, and two-time defending national champion South Carolina. The Roadrunners narrowly missed an at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament last season despite a 33-22 record and an RPI that finished 52nd in the country.
“Membership in the WAC is a major step forward for the CSUB baseball program and a validation of the work done here by our student-athletes over the past three years,” said Kernen. “As now structured, the WAC owns a comparable Power Index number with the Big West and in my opinion will surpass that conference in the coming years.”
Dallas Baptist has made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2011. This past year was a historic season for the Patriots as they advanced to the Santa Clara Super Regional by winning the NCAA Regional in Fort Worth.
“The President, Board of Trustees, and Administration at Dallas Baptist are excited about the opportunity for membership in the Western Athletic Conference,” said DBU Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin. “Our baseball program is the flagship program for our university and has a history of success at the NAIA and NCAA Division I level and the WAC will be an outstanding conference as we continue to grow and move forward.”
For the 2012 season, Dallas Baptist will participate in a scheduling agreement with the Missouri Valley Conference which allows the Patriots to play a full MVC schedule but does not permit DBU to play in the conference tournament. To once again compete in an NCAA Regional, the Patriots must earn an at-large bid from the tournament committee.
“The invitation and acceptance to join the WAC is a testament to where this program has been and the support we receive from our administration,” said head baseball coach Dan Heefner. “It is going to be an extremely competitive league that will challenge us and require us to continue to grow. Our coaches are excited, our players are excited, and obviously our administration is behind the move one hundred percent. Our membership in the WAC is a big step for our program and one we are looking forward to making.”
With the addition of Dallas Baptist and Cal State Bakersfield, the WAC in 2013 will have 10 teams in five states with a stronghold in the baseball-rich states of California and Texas, providing the potential to be among the top conferences in the nation. The WAC will then be made up of full-time members Seattle, San Jose State, New Mexico State, Texas State, Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio and affiliate members CSU Bakersfield, Dallas Baptist and Sacramento State.
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