- Northwest Conference
Established 1926 Association NCAA Division Division III Members 9 Sports fielded 18 (men's: 9; women's: 9) Region Pacific Northwest Headquarters Seattle, Washington Commissioner Wendy Guthrie Website nwcsports.com Locations
In the last 14 years, the Northwest Conference has established itself as one of the most competitive NCAA Division III conferences in the U.S. Comprising nine private colleges and universities in Washington and Oregon, the NWC is competitive on a national level in a wide array of sports and recognized for its emphasis on academic excellence.
The NWC was formed in 1926, making it one of the oldest athletics conferences in the western United States. For 60 years, the Northwest Conference sponsored sports exclusively for men, but in 1984 it joined with the Women's Conference of Independent Colleges to become the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges, shortening the name to its current moniker in 1996 when it joined the NCAA.
The charter members included Willamette University, Pacific University, Whitman College, the College of Puget Sound (now the University of Puget Sound), Linfield College and the College of Idaho. In 1931, Albany College joined, left in 1938, and rejoined in 1949 using its present name of Lewis & Clark College. Pacific Lutheran University was added in 1965, and Whitworth University in 1970. In 1978, the College of Idaho dropped out of the conference. Whitworth also left in 1984, but then returned in 1988. In 1996, George Fox University joined when the conference moved to the NCAA. Seattle University was also a member for one year before it switched to NCAA Division II. From 2006-2010, Menlo College was also a part of the conference as an associate member in football
The College of Idaho dropped out in 1978 and is now a member of the NAIA's Cascade Collegiate Conference. Whitworth left the NWC in 1984 but returned in 1988. George Fox University and Seattle University joined the conference in 1996. Seattle dropped out again in 1999 to become members of NCAA Division II. Menlo College joined the conference in 2005 as a football-only member.
The move to NCAA Division III in 1996 was embraced as one that would foster equity, sportsmanship and genuine concern for the student-athlete in all endeavors of competition. Athletics competition at the NCAA Division III level is based on the development of student-athletes through a "comprehensive educational experience."
Recent national championships
Since joining the NCAA in 1998, six Northwest Conference programs have won Division III national titles. Pacific Lutheran won the football title in 1999, Linfield captured the football title in 2004 and the softball crown in both 2007 and 2011, and George Fox took national titles in baseball and women's basketball in 2004 and 2009, respectively.
All Sports Trophy
Each year the NWC awards one of its member institutions the NWC All Sports Trophy. In each sport the Conference Champion is awarded 18 points, second place is awarded 16 points, and so on. The school with the most points at the conclusion of the academic year wins the trophy. Men's football, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's baseball, women's softball, and men's and women's track and field are the 18 sports in which points are awarded.
Most recently, Whitworth University won the NWC All Sports Trophy for 2007-08, helped by a second consecutive football conference title, consecutive men's basketball and soccer titles, and an exciting win in the spring of 08 for the Whitworth Men's Track and Field team (the first win for the team since 2001). This follows on the heels of back to back wins of the All Sports Trophy by Puget Sound in 2005/06 and 2006/07. Whitworth had taken home the All Sports Trophy for its first time in the 2004/05 NWC sports season. Linfield won the trophy three times since 2000 while Willamette took the trophy in 1993/94. Pacific Lutheran won the All Sports Trophy 15 times since it began in 1985-86.
The league currently has 9 full members:
Institution Location Team Name Founded Affiliation Enrollment George Fox University Newberg, Oregon Bruins 1885 Private/Quaker 3,382 Lewis & Clark College Portland, Oregon Pioneers 1867 Private/Non-sectarian 3,433 Linfield College McMinnville, Oregon Wildcats 1849 Private/Baptist 2,110 Pacific University Forest Grove, Oregon Boxers 1849 Private/United Church of Christ 2,500 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, Washington Lutes 1890 Private/Lutheran 3,669 University of Puget Sound Tacoma, Washington Loggers 1888 Private/Non-sectarian 2,785 Whitman College Walla Walla, Washington Fighting Missionaries 1859 Private/Non-sectarian 1,450 Whitworth University Spokane, Washington Pirates 1890 Private/Presbyterian 2,504 Willamette University Salem, Oregon Bearcats 1842 Private/Methodist 2,469
Northwest Conference Current members Founding members Former members
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