The Western Athletic Conference |
July 1, 1996
UNLV became part of NCAA history on July 1, 1996, when it joined five other schools and entered the Western Athletic Conference.
The union with the existing 10 teams in the league formed the nation's largest Division I-A conference and ended a 20-year journey for Rebel athletics, which had eyed entrance into the WAC since the mid-1970s.
Among the nation's major conferences, the Western Athletic Conference still is in its youth. After four years of discussion among various western schools, the conference officially was organized on July 27, 1962, when the original charter was signed and the name adopted. Charter members of the league were Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Texas-El Paso and Colorado State became members in 1967 while Arizona and Arizona State withdrew in 1978. Since that time, membership additions include San Diego State (1978), Hawai'i (1979), Air Force (1980) and Fresno State (1992).
Paul Brechler was the WAC commissioner from 1962-68, Wiles Hallock from 1968-71, Stan Bates from 1971-80 and Dr. Joe Kearney from 1980 to 1994. Wide-scale changes occurred in April of 1994 when the WAC named Karl Benson as the fifth commissioner in the league's history and then extended invitations to UNLV, Rice, San Jose State, SMU, TCU and Tulsa to become official members.
The WAC began competition with 10 sports and the first championship was held in 1962 when Arizona won the men's cross country title. Arizona State claimed the league's first NCAA title by winning the College World Series trophy in 1965. BYU won the league's first football national championship in 1984.
Presently, the WAC crowns team and individual champions in 21 sports -- 11 men's (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, golf, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and wrestling) and 10 women's (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball).
The WAC has adopted a divisional format for scheduling in which quadrants will be utilized to form two eight-team divisions (Pacific and Mountain) in the four primary team sports. In order to promote a full-conference concept, the quadrants will rotate every year in men's and women's basketball and volleyball, and every other year in football.
The WAC office has been located in the Denver area since the conference's inception with the exception of a two-year stay in Phoenix from 1964-66. And although 1996-97 was UNLV's inaugural season in the WAC, the league held its four major championship events - the football championship game, men's and women's basketball championship tournaments and the women's volleyball championship - in the city of Las Vegas.
WAC Quick Facts
FOUNDED: 1962 COMMISSIONER: Karl Benson MAILING ADDRESS: 9250 E. Costilla Ave., Suite 300 Englewood, CO 80112-3643 DIR. OF COMMUNICATIONS (MEN'S): Dave Chaffin (WOMEN'S): Lisa Vad ASSOC. DIR. OF COMMUNICATIONS: Vicki Boillot VOLLEYBALL CONTACT: Lisa Vad PHONE: (303) 799-9221 FAX: (303) 799-3888 WEB SITE: http://www.wac.org FAX BACK: (770) 399-3066 PASSCODE: 922 (WAC) MAIN DIRECTORY: 1019 VOLLEYBALL RELEASE: 1015 STATISTICS: 1016 STANDINGS: 1017
WAC Tournament Returns to Las Vegas
Las Vegas has emerged as the "WAC Championships City" as women's volleyball, football, and men's and women's basketball hold their season-ending tournament or title game in the "Entertainment Capital of the World" for the second consecutive year.
After a successful debut last year, the 1997 WAC women's volleyball tournament will return to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The tournament will be held Monday-Friday, Nov. 24-28 in the 15,000-seat arena with the MGM Grand Hotel serving as the tournament headquarters.
The 1997 WAC Tournament will feature 12 of the 16 conference teams, taking the top six from each division. First-round action will begin Nov. 24 with four matches, followed by four second-round encounters Nov. 25 and the semifinals Nov. 26. The teams will take Thanksgiving day off (Nov. 27), with the championship contested Nov. 28.
Ticket prices for the WAC Tournament are $30 for an all-session pass (11 matches) or $8 per single session (six total sessions). All-session tickets will be available Aug. 1, while single-session tickets will be available beginning Monday, Nov. 24. All seats are reserved and apply to all age groups. Tickets may be purchased by calling the MGM Grand Hotel's "One-Stop" Reservations Line at 1-800-929-1111.