Facts about Western Athletics

  • This is WWU: Western Washington University is a four-year public institution located in Bellingham, Washington (population 87,000), 90 minutes North of Seattle and 55 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Surrounded by the San Juan Islands and Bellingham Bay to the West, and Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountain Range to the East, the Western campus is an idyllic setting for outdoor adventure, community involvement and higher learning.
  • Student-Athletes: In 2017-18, approximately 300 students will participate in 15 varsity sports at WWU, 6 for men and 9 for women. WWU is in its 20th year as a member of NCAA Division II since joining the ranks in September 1998. So far in 2017-18 both the women’s soccer and volleyball programs played for the NCAA II West Regional championship.\
  • Academic Success: WWU was named one of 32 NCAA Division II schools to earn the Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence for 2016-17, an honor awarded to schools having an Academic Success Rate of 90 percent or higher in the NCAA Graduation Rate report. Western student-athletes entering college from 2007 to 2010 had an ASR of 90 percent, the school’s best mark in the 12 years of reporting ASR data. WWU is one of only five Division II programs to earn the Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence and also rank in the top 20 in last year’s Directors’ Cup standings, joining California Baptist, UC San Diego, Florida Southern College and the University of Indianapolis.
  • Athletic Success: WWU finished 11th among over 300 NCAA Division II schools in the 2016-17 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings. The Vikings have finished in the top 50 in the Directors’ Cup standings 14 consecutive seasons and placed inside the top 20 in eight of the last 10 seasons. WWU was 26th in 2015-16, 36th in 2014-15 and 20th in 2013-14, and has been among the top 100 in each of its 19 seasons as an NCAA II member. 
  • Dominating the GNAC: WWU has won 12 Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Sports Championships, including eight straight from 2008-09 to 2015-16. WWU finished 2nd in the all-sports standings in 2016-17 after a new point system was developed, ending the string of eight consecutive titles.
  • A Year to Remember: The 2016-17 sports season featured several standout performances by WWU’s teams, highlighted by NCAA II National Championships by Women’s Soccer and Women’s Rowing. Overall, 13 of the 15 programs advanced to their respective NCAA championships. The men’s and women’s basketball programs both returned to the NCAA Tournament, with the Viking men winning the regular-season and GNAC Tournament titles. Volleyball advanced to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season, reaching the NCAA II West Regional Championship contest, and the men’s golf team extended its streak of reaching the postseason to 19 consecutive seasons. 
  • National Champions: WWU has won 11 team national championships in the history of the athletic department, including recent national titles by Women’s Rowing (2017), Women’s Soccer (2016) and Men’s Basketball (2012). The rowing program has won eight NCAA II titles, including an unprecedented seven consecutive from 2005-2011. The Volleyball program has played for the NCAA II West Regional each of the last three seasons (2015-17) and was the national runner-up in 2007. The softball program won the school’s first team national title in 1998 at the NAIA level. Several Track & Field athletes have won individual national championships, including two-time winner Bethany Drake in the javelin (2014, 2017). 
  • Hardwood Success: Both the WWU men’s and women’s basketball programs have recorded over 1,000 wins in the history of each program. The men’s program has advanced to NCAA II Tournament eight times and the women’s program has played in the NCAA Tournament in 16 of 19 seasons at the NCAA II level. The women’s program recently became the 15th program across all levels of women’s collegiate basketball to record 1,000 all-time wins. 
  • On the Pitch: The WWU women’s soccer program has risen to the top of the collegiate ranks advancing to the NCAA II championships in each of the last six seasons, building a 118-11-7 (.893) record over this stretch. The Vikings have played for the NCAA II West Region championship in five of the last six seasons and recorded a 39-game winning streak from 2016-17 for the 4th-longest winning streak in NCAA II history. 
  • Spiker Success: The WWU volleyball program has advanced to the NCAA II Championships in each of the last six seasons (2012-17) and advanced to the West Region Championship in three consecutive seasons. Over this stretch the Vikings have combined for a .815 winning percentage (145-33). Abby Phelps was named a First Team AVCA All-American in 2017, while Joellee Buckner and Brette Boesel were honorable mention All-Americans. 
  • Community Service: WWU student-athletes have raised thousands of dollars for the PeaceHealth Cancer Center in Bellingham, with each program holding special cancer awareness games. WWU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has also raised money for the Washington Make-a-Wish chapter and the Track & Field program held a food drive for the Bellingham Food Bank to help supply food to families for the Thanksgiving holiday. 
  • Hall of Fame: WWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame has inducted 145 members that span the 116-year history of Western’s athletic programs. The WWU Hall of Fame is the second-oldest among Pacific Northwest colleges and universities.

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