Commissioner's Corner with Bob Hogue
NEWPORT BEACH, CA - I am always fascinated by the enthusiasm that I see at our PacWest sporting events.
On a recent evening in Riverside, Calif., I saw California Baptist University pack its gymnasium to nearly standing room only for a conference doubleheader against visiting Hawai‘i Pacific University.
I was on hand to give out four of the championship plaques from this past fall PacWest sports campaign - the Lancers having won titles or co-championships in men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s soccer. Student-athletes from all four of those teams marched onto the court at halftime to receive their due applause.
A similar scene played out at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, in December when the Red Storm had all of its student-athletes come onto the floor to accept their share of the PacWest Community Engagement Award - an honor that they shared this past year with Notre Dame de Namur University. Seeing all those hard-working student-athletes in one place was quite a sight to see!
Meanwhile, similar thrilling moments have played out in cities from Phoenix to San Francisco to Honolulu. Grand Canyon University’s amazing new arena is a true showcase for the conference and a thrill for our PacWest athletes to play in. Enthusiastic crowds in Laie and Hilo and San Rafael also have been the norm - everybody is excited about this year’s thrill-a-minute basketball races.
Never before in PacWest history have we had such unpredictable races in both men’s and women’s basketball. It started with the opening game of the PacWest season when NDNU upset nationally-ranked Grand Canyon in women’s basketball in early December, and continued into early January when the men’s teams of Dominican, Academy of Art, NDNU and HPU scored big upset wins either at home or on the road.
For sure, the titles in the PacWest are very much up in the air this year. Whether its Dixie State vs. Chaminade or California Baptist vs. Hawai‘i Hilo or BYU-Hawaii vs. Notre Dame de Namur or Dominican vs. Grand Canyon or Academy of Art vs. Hawai‘i Pacific, you can count on excitement right down to the final buzzer. It’s no wonder that our PacWest crowds continue to be enthusiastic for every game.
So here’s a Commissioner’s tip o’ the cap to all the fans who have already attended exciting PacWest games this spring - great job! Keep it up! And here’s an invitation to friends or fans who haven’t quite been able to get to a game yet this season - you don’t know what you’re missing! Get out to a game soon - the PacWest is the place to be in 2012!