The Hawaii baseball program will join the Big West Conference for the 2012-2013 academic year. The Big West and the University of Hawaii made the announcement at a recent press conference.
Hawaii’s football team will leave the WAC for the Mountain West Conference, while the school’s other 13 intercollegiate sports, including baseball, will join the Big West. The move becomes official on July 1, 2012.
“This is an historic day in UH Athletics,” said UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan. “As much as we have enjoyed our 31-year relationship with the Western Athletic Conference, this hybrid arrangement will allow us to continue traditional rivalries that our fans have grown to enjoy, and keep a footprint in the Western United States, where much of our recruiting base lies.”
Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso echoed that sentiment. “This is an exciting move for our baseball program,” said Trapasso. “Two things it provides us is a stronger conference, top to bottom, and the travel will be so much easier for us. We will now be able to recruit in areas where we weren’t having much success. Altogether it’s a win-win situation for us.”
Hawaii won the WAC Baseball Tournament this past season to earn the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid. The Warriors were 2-2 at the Tempe Regional, with two wins over San Diego and two losses to host Arizona State.
The addition of Hawaii will give the Big West 10 member institutions. UC San Diego and Cal State Bakersfield also recently applied for membership in the conference.
Fresno State also recently announced that it will leave the WAC to join the Mountain West Confernce in all sports, while TCU announced plans to leave the MWC to join the Big East Conference.