sports programs anticipate move to Mountain West
in several sports gear up for the conference change.
Football is god in Texas. And football runs the show
for colleges in Texas. So when football wants to change
conferences, all other athletic programs must go along
for the ride.
Anything that happens to football drastically
affects all the other sports, said Jim Schlossnagle,
head coach of the baseball team. So if something
affects football, it affects everybody.
Schlossnagle already knows the Mountain West Conference.
Before coming to TCU, he was the head coach at the University
of Nevada-Las Vegas for two seasons.
Schlossnagle said the issue of conferences is not as
important in his sport because of the college baseball
playoff system. Rice University, who will be joining
Conference USA in 2005, is a good example of how a champion
can emerge from a smaller conference, he said.
Rice won the championship last year, but the novice
sports fan probably doesnt even know what league
theyre in, he said. So I think as
long as we play well in Texas, well be fine.
One of the biggest draws for baseball in the MWC is
former San Diego Padres right fielder Tony Gwynn,
now the head coach at San Diego State. But Schlossnagle
said he will not be intimated by the coach across the
already had the opportunity to meet him, and that was
nice, Schlossnagle said. But as a coach,
I could care less if its Babe Ruth or Tony Gwynn
coaching the other team; Im just trying to win
David Rubinson, the head coach of the womens soccer
team, said he is eager to see how his team will react
when they enter the new conference.
Theres a different style of play in the
Mountain West that I hope we can adapt to, Rubinson
said. We want to be a possession-oriented soccer
team, but there are some things weve got to do
to up our game to keep up with the other teams in that
The MWC had a successful womens soccer season
in 2003, sending three teams to the tournament, while
C-USA only sent one. Brigham Young reached the quarterfinals,
losing to eventual runner-up Connecticut.
Prentice Lewis, head coach of the volleyball team, said
she is looking forward to the move.
The Mountain West is a great volleyball conference,
Lewis said. Not unlike C-USA, which is also a
Last season, Utah won the Mountain West, going 6-0 in
conference play. However, Colorado State ended the season
higher in the rankings as the No.12 team in the nation
after reaching the regional championship.
Mike Hamrick, athletics director at UNLV, is familiar
with both conferences, having also been the former athletics
director at East Carolina. He said TCU will face a difficult
conference schedule in every sport.
The competition is outstanding from my standpoint,
Hamrick said. Theres really not an easy
place to play because theres a lot of parity.
Hamrick said most athletics directors around the conference
are excited about TCU joining their conference.
seems genuinely excited, Hamrick said. We,
as athletic directors, are absolutely thrilled because
it adds credibility to our league. I think its win-win