"We are pleased to have Seattle University become a West Coast Conference affiliate member in women's golf," WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said. "Seattle University shares a common mission and values with our member schools, and we're excited to add an affiliate member in a sport that continues to expand its profile nationally."
Seattle University, which was a member of the WCC from 1971-80, has competed as an independent in women's golf since officially adding the program in September of 2007 and taking part in its first competition in September of 2008. Seattle's tradition in women's golf goes back to the 1950's, however, as Pat Lesser-Harbottle was the first woman to play on a men's collegiate golf team when she was on the 1952 Seattle roster and went on to win the 1953 U.S. Women's National Collegiate Championship.
Seattle University will make its debut as an affiliate member at the 2011 WCC Golf Championships on April 18 and 19 at a course to be determined in Northern California. The addition of Seattle in women's golf and Creighton in women's rowing as affiliate members in 2010-11 marks the WCC's first affiliates since the University of Nevada competed in baseball from 1970-91.
"Seattle University looks forward to competing in West Coast Conference women's golf as an affiliate member," Seattle Athletic Director Bill Hogan said. "Seattle's women's golf tradition is significant as our own Pat Lesser-Harbottle won the National Collegiate Women's Championship in 1953. We are off to a good start rebuilding the program under head coach Don Rasmussen."
The West Coast Conference began sponsoring women's golf during the 1996-97 school year with four charter members - Gonzaga University, Pepperdine University, University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University. The conference expanded to five in women's golf during the 1998-99 school year with the addition of the University of Portland.
Pepperdine and reigning U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Danielle Kang, also the 2009-10 WCC Freshman of the Year, won the 2010 WCC Women's Golf Championship at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club in Vallejo, California. The Waves have won nine straight conference women's golf championships and 12 of 14 overall. Pepperdine won the title from 1998-2000 and 2002-10 and University of San Francisco took top honors in 1997 and 2001.
About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 13 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership - only two conferences have been together longer - and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics.
About Seattle UniversitySeattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic university located on 48 acres on Seattle's Capitol Hill. More than 7,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools. The athletics department is in year three of the reclassification process towards NCAA Division I membership. The women's golf program will be eligible for NCAA postseason competition beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.