Seattle U to join WAC for 2012-13 season

TUESDAY AFTERNOON THE WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE announced that Seattle University had accepted an offer to join the conference for the 2012-13 season. The Redhawks, with a rich basketball history that includes a Final Four appearance, bring the Conference's membership up to nine schools, joining recent invitees Texas State, the University of Texas - San Antonio, and the University of Denver.

The following is an official press release from the University of Idaho Athletic Media Relations department.

Seattle University may be a newcomer to the Western Athletic Conference but the Redhawks and Idaho Vandals are not strangers.

Vandals and Redhawks first competed in an intercollegiate competition when the men's basketball teams played in 1949. More recently, their men's and women's basketball, volleyball, soccer and swim teams vied against one another last season.

The Redhawks' WAC membership is effective beginning in the 2012-13 season.

Seattle University's geographic proximity and its location in a major media market – and home to thousands of Idaho alums, make it a good conference partner for the Vandals.

"Seattle U is a great addition to the WAC," Idaho Director of Athletics Rob Spear said. "It fits the academic profile of the WAC, solves the WAC's multi-sport conference issue and is in a great market for our conference.

"Seattle U has a storied past and is making the appropriate investments for the future."

In addition to the men's basketball teams' history, the first volleyball match between the two was in 1977, the first women's basketball game in 1980 and the first soccer competition in 2008.

Idaho's coaches welcome the addition of a regional rival.

Said men's basketball coach Don Verlin: ""I'm excited for Seattle U. to join the conference. First and foremost, they have a long and storied basketball history, and then having another Northwest school in the conference will do nothing but help us. The kids we recruit from that area will get to go home to play a conference game every year. They've got a very good program and a very good coach, and I think it's going to really help the WAC."

Said women's basketball coach Jon Newlee: "It's a great addition to the WAC. From a basketball standpoint, it's great for us. It's close and obviously easy to get to. We can develop a rivalry with Seattle U. We have kids from the Northwest who will be excited to go back and play in their home area. Having another basketball team in the West is key for the WAC."

Said volleyball coach Debbie Buchanan: "It's a great addition. They're in a great market and a great area. From a volleyball standpoint, they have an excellent volleyball program and they're doing some outstanding things there."

Said soccer coach Pete Showler: "(SU head coach) Julie Woodward has done a great job with her program, and I'm really pleased for them. They've been striving for this for the past few years, and it's a testament to their staff's hard work. The team has improved every year and continues to improve. They're going to be a worthy opponent every year. From a perspective of travel, it's fantastic. I'm really excited with a trip to Seattle, and I look forward to the healthy rivalry."

Seattle U offers 17 sports – baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, women's soccer, softball, women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, and volleyball.

The Redhawks become the ninth WAC member along with Idaho, Denver, Utah State, San Jose State, Texas-San Antonio (2012), Texas State (2012), Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. The other 2011-12 WAC schools are Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii.

LINK: Seattle University Official Site

LINK: Seattle Times: Seattle U. receives invitation to join the WAC

LINK: Seattle University joining the WAC in 2012

LINK: Spokesman Review: Seattle University joining the WAC

LINK: ESPN: WAC adds Seattle for 2012-13 season

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