The appeal of Chico State athletics is the opportunity for student-athletes to compete at a high level while pursuing a quality education. The overriding factor in our athletic success is the Chico experience: an almost indefinable mood which makes the student-athlete perceive Chico as "home," not just a place to go to school. This factor, along with excellent coaching and fine facilities, has contributed to Chico's reputation of one of the top NCAA Division II athletic programs in the nation.
The intercollegiate athletics program sponsors 13 different sports, seven women's and six men's. In the fall of 1998, Chico joined the highly regarded California Collegiate Athletic Association, which is composed of 12 schools:
Cal Poly Pomona; CSU East Bay; CSU, Dominquez Hills; CSU, Los Angeles; CSU, Monterey Bay; CSU, San Bernardino; CSU, Stanislaus; Humboldt State; Sonoma State; San Francisco State; and UC San Diego. It is a scholarship Division II conference whose teams have won over 145 NCAA National Championships.
Facilities include two gymnasiums with four competition-size basketball courts; stadium and all-weather track; soccer and multipurpose fields; baseball stadium, softball diamond; putting greens and sand traps; weight training room; climbing wall; dance studios; handball/racquetball courts; and athletic training rooms.
Baseball-Dave Taylor helped build the Chico State baseball program into a perennial national contender as the head assistant/pitching coach from 1997-2004. He was hired to take over the program as the head coach in 2006 and the Wildcats' success continues. The Wildcats have reached the postseason 13 of the past 15 years, including 12 NCAA Championship Tournament berths, seven NCAA Division II College World Series appearances, and National Championship titles in 1997 and 1999. The 4,200-seat Nettleton Stadium has added to the excitement of the sport and gives Wildcat baseball fans a wonderful place to take in a ballgame.
Men's Basketball-The Chico State men's basketball team is under the direction of Head Coach Greg Clink, hired in 2008 to take over for retiring 21-year coach Prescott "Puck" Smith. Clink has a connection to the Wildcats' past, having played for Smith in the 90's, and a vision for the Wildcats' future. Clink's crew is off to a good start, having won its first postseason game in nearly 15 years in just his second season at the helm. He's hoping their improved play will soon result in a return to the NCAA Tournament, which they last went to in 2004 and 2005.
Women's Basketball-The Chico State women's basketball program, under the management of Head Coach Brian Fogel, continues an exciting, winning tradition. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament seven of the last eight years, including four trips to the "Sweet 16," and had their best showing in the University's history at the 2006 tournament, advancing to the Final Four. With that effort, the program established itself as one of the top in the conference, region, and the nation. The annual Coslet Classic tournament gives Wildcat basketball fans an early-season look at the team and its Division II competition.
Cross Country-Gary Towne, a long-time cross country and track and field assistant, took over the cross country head coaching position in 1996. In recent years the teams have made numerous trips to the National Championships, highlighted by 12 straight top-ten national finishes for the men's program, nine straight top-ten finishes for the women's program, and Scott Bauhs' individual National Title in 2008. Cross country is one of the programs that has attracted national exposure for the University and the athletic department over the last several years.
Men's Golf-The men's golf team is under the direction of Head Coach T.L. Brown, who was hired in 2007. In his first year on the job, Brown led the Wildcats to the team's first NCAA West Regional appearance in three years. The Wildcats repeated that feat again in 2009, and in 2010 advanced to the NCAA Championship where they finished third in the nation. The team plays a fall and spring schedule, building up to the CCAA Championship, West Regional, and National Championship. The Wildcats practice on three Chico courses and host an invitational each year.
Women's Golf-An assistant since 2000, Kathy Dais, was hired as the program's first full-time head coach in 2007. The program has been ranked among the top 25 in the nation throughout five of the program's eight years in competition, and received a top-ten ranking in 2005. The team plays a fall and spring schedule, leading up to the West Regional, and National Championship. The Wildcats practice on three Chico courses and host an invitational each year.
Men's Soccer-One of the most respected and successful athletic teams on campus, the Chico State men's soccer team has been consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the CCAA. Felipe Restrepo, hired in 2008, has helped build on the history of success, leading the Wildcats to the 2010 West Region title and into the NCAA Championship Tournament quarterfinals. The Wildcats have won 14 league championships, participated in 11 NCAA tournaments, and reached the national title match in 2003. Numerous players have gone on to play professional soccer, including 2010 Major League Soccer Golden Boot winner and U.S. National Team member Chris Wondolowski. Chico's soccer team has a faithful following of students, alumni, and children and adults from the community.
Women's Soccer-The women's soccer program at Chico State is one of the most successful women's sports on campus. In 2002 Head Coach Kim Sutton, who brought with her a tradition of winning, was hired as just the second coach in the program's 30-year history. The Wildcats have established themselves as a force in the west region, advancing to the NCAA tournament in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010. The program has consistently maintained an impressive graduation rate, with several student-athletes achieving national recognition in the classroom as well as on the field.
Softball-The Chico State softball program, is committed to academic as well as athletic success. The 2002 team made its first trip to a national championship in more than 20 years and finished as one of the top four teams in the nation. The team returned to the NCAA tournament in 2005 and Head Coach Angel Shamblin helped return the Wildcats back into the national spotlight in her first year at the helm, directing them into the NCAA Super Regionals in 2010. Each year promising young athletes are brought in from both the high school and community college levels to compete for starting positions.
Track and Field-Chico State has a rich tradition in track and field. 32-year Men's Head Coach Kirk Freitas is respected throughout the region as one of the top coaches, and Oliver Hanf was hired as the head women's track and field coach in 1998, the first to hold that full-time position. At the national level, Chico State athletes have earned more than 100 All-American certificates, which go out to athletes who finish in the top eight places for each event at the NCAA Division II National Championships, and nine national titles since 1990.
Volleyball-The Chico State women's volleyball team is dedicated to achieving high standards for excellence, both on the court and in the classroom. Head Coach Cody Hein, who's had great success at the Division II level, was hired in 2002 and has consistently worked to bring the team to the top of the conference standings. The Wildcats made their first of three straight NCAA Tournament West Regional appearance in 2006 after a 14-year hiatus from the event. With a steady flow of talented recruits and an experienced coach at the helm, the future promises to be bright.
Athletic Training-The Chico State athletic training program, under the direction of Head Athletic Trainer Scott Barker, ATC, offers a practical learning environment for graduate students aspiring to the field of athletic training. The program prepares students for a career in the athletic training profession including high school, collegiate, professional, and sports medicine clinics. The experience includes assisting the certified athletic trainers with injury prevention, injury evaluation, and injury management. The students also receive valuable field experience by working with Chico State's 13 intercollegiate athletic teams, including coverage of daily practice and home and away events. Athletic training is an allied health profession.