With the full support of Dr. Gary Cook, President, Dr. Blair Blackburn, Executive Vice President, and the University Board of Trustees, Dallas Baptist Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin announced Monday morning an agreement between the Western Athletic Conference and Dallas Baptist University for Patriot Baseball to compete as an affiliate member of the conference beginning with the 2013 baseball season. This agreement will allow Dallas Baptist Baseball to compete for the conference championship and the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Tournament.
“The President, Board of Trustees, and Administration at Dallas Baptist are excited about the opportunity for membership in the Western Athletic Conference,” said Erwin. “Our baseball program is the flagship program for our university and has a history of success at the NAIA and NCAA Division I level and the WAC will be an outstanding conference as we continue to grow and move forward.”
Dallas Baptist currently competes as a Division I Independent and has made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2011. This past year was a historic season for the Patriots as they advanced to the Santa Clara Super Regional by winning the NCAA Regional in Fort Worth. For the 2012 season, Dallas Baptist will participate in a scheduling agreement with the Missouri Valley Conference which allows the Patriots to play a full MVC schedule but does not permit DBU to play in the conference tournament. To once again compete in an NCAA Regional, the Patriots must earn an at-large bid from the tournament committee.
“The invitation and acceptance to join the WAC is a testament to where this program has been and the support we receive from our administration,” said Head Baseball Coach Dan Heefner. “It is going to be an extremely competitive league that will challenge us and require us to continue to grow. Our coaches are excited, our players are excited, and obviously our administration is behind the move one hundred percent. Our membership in the WAC is a big step for our program and one we are looking forward to making.”
With the addition of Dallas Baptist and Cal State Bakersfield, the WAC will field 10 teams for baseball in 2013 – DBU, Cal State Bakersfield, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Seattle, Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio, and Texas State. “The affiliation between the WAC and DBU makes sense for Dallas Baptist from a competitive standpoint and from a recruiting standpoint – both athletically and scholastically,” said Blackburn. “This will give our university another opportunity to showcase itself to regions of the country where we are already familiar. Our baseball team has a chance to be very successful at the national level as we continue to build Champions for Christ.”
“We are excited to add Dallas Baptist as an affiliate member in our baseball league. They have a strong baseball tradition and bring a great geographical and competitive advantage to the WAC,” said WAC Commissioner Karl Benson.