Fresno Pacific to add Women's Softball

Fresno, Calif. – Fresno Pacific University has announced the addition of women’s softball as its 17th intercollegiate sport, with the program scheduled to begin NCAA Division II and Pacific West Conference competition in the 2014-15 academic year.
 
“We are extremely pleased to begin offering a high-quality intercollegiate softball program,” said Director of Athletics Dennis Janzen. “The softball community has been asking Fresno Pacific for this for years and the regional demographic and nation-wide popularity of the sport of softball fits naturally into the FPU mission and vision. The mission and vision of FPU is a call to excellence, and we are proud of this excellence as displayed through the successes of FPU Athletics. Highly competitive softball will make FPU better.”
 
An institutional study showcased the popularity of the sport both regionally and locally as more than 98% of all high schools and junior colleges within 350 miles of FPU sponsor women’s softball. The sport addition allows FPU to continue its long-standing commitment to create opportunities for female student-athletes in the Central Valley. Of the university’s 13 national championships in team sports, nine have come from women’s teams.
 
A national search for a head coach will commence immediately in order to begin recruiting efforts for the inaugural varsity season in 2014-15. FPU recently completed its first full NCAA Division II season in all sports and is preparing to enter the final year of its three year transition from the NAIA to the NCAA. The university expects to have reached full championship-eligible membership status by the time the softball team takes the field in 2014-15.
 
FPU will be joining an already talent-rich NCAA Division II West Region and Pacific West Conference that has a reputation of competitive excellence in softball. Three of the last four years, a West Region program has either won the national championship or played for the national title. PacWest member Hawaii Pacific captured the national title in 2010.
 
With the addition of FPU, 12 of the 13 PacWest member schools will now sponsor softball. This season’s conference title was shared by Dixie State and Hawaii Hilo, both of which reached the NCAA postseason.
 
It will be FPU’s first sport addition since 2007, when the university introduced men’s & women’s water polo and men’s & women’s swimming and diving.