By Tom Mauldin
Warner Pacific University will add women’s softball to its athletics roster this fall and will begin competition in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2019-2020.
The search for a head coach and recruitment of student-athletes at the Portland university is underway.
“I’m thrilled to see our athletics program continue to grow and serve the needs of a wide variety of students,” Warner Pacific President, Andrea Cook said in a press release. “I believe women’s softball will provide many students new avenues in which to pursue their higher education goals, while strengthening their character through the principles inherent in Knights Athletics.”
Founded in 1935, Warner Pacific University's traditional undergraduate program offers 25 majors, seven areas of pre-professional study, and 29 minors.
The Knights softball team will start this fall (2018) as a club sport with a goal to begin intercollegiate play in September, 2019.
Warner Pacific is a member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) in other sports. Men’s sports include basketball, wrestling, soccer, cross country, track and field and golf. Women’s sports include volleyball, basketball, soccer, cross country, track and field, wrestling and golf.
“The Cascade Collegiate Conference congratulates Warner Pacific University on the addition of softball to their intercollegiate sport offerings,” said Robert Cashell, CCC commissioner. “The CCC boasts some of the best softball in the NAIA and I am excited for more student-athletes to have the opportunity to thrive academically and athletically at WPU.”
Warner Pacific becomes the fourth Northwest-based College to add softball as an intercollegiate sport in recent years. The others include the University of Montana (Missoula), Northwest University (Tacoma) and Carroll College (Helena, Mt.).
According to the annual report by the Sports & Fitness Association, softball is growing in popularity and participation among young athletes. The National Federation of State High School Associations reported that more than 365,000 high school students participated in softball in recent years.
Other softball members of the CCC include Southern Oregon University (Ashland, Ore.), College of Idaho (Caldwell, Ida.), Northwest University (Tacoma, Wash.), Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls, Ore.), Corban (Salem, Ore.), Eastern Oregon University (LaGrande, Ore.), Northwest Christian University (Eugene, Ore.), British Columbia University (Canada), Providence University (Great Falls, Mont.) and Carroll College (Helena, Mont).
In addition to aforementioned CCC softball schools, Multnomah College (Portland, Ore.), Walla Walla University (Walla Walla, Wash.) and Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.) participate in a variety of CCC sports.
More can be learned about Warner Pacific athletics at wpuknights.com.