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History of California State University, Bakersfield

Companion to the HRC exhibit

The Runner has covered many important sports moments at CSUB during the past 40 years. The biggest moment was CSUB's transition to NCAA Division I athletics. In 2010, after a four-year process , the university became a full Division I member and member of the Western Athletic
Conference . In July 2020, the CSUB will join the Big West Conference.

One CSUB sport, however, was able to join Division I as an affiliate member in 1987, more than 20 years before the rest of the athletic program. That sport was wrestling. As a Division II team, wrestling won eight NCAA championships between 1976 and 1987. As a Division I team, the wrestlers earned seven individual NCAA championships. One of CSUB's greatest wrestlers , Stephen Neal, launched a successful professional football career after graduation, despite not having played football in college.

The Runner's student reporters watched CSUB's basketball team win three national championships NCAA Division II championships in 1993, 1994, and 1997. In 2017, as a Division I team, CSUB's basketball team took its place among the nation's top college teams, as eighth seed in the
National Intercollegiate Invitational Tournament.

In 1998, CSUB won the prestigious Sears Director's Cup, an award given by the NCAA each year to the university with the most successful athletic teams. CSUB won national championships between 1976 and 2004, three in basketball, twelve in swimming and diving, one in men's
soccer, three in softball, one in women's volleyball, and one in women's tennis.