ARLINGTON, Texas – Celebrating its 60th anniversary during the current 2022-23 academic year, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) has added another significant milestone to its league history: relocation. The WAC has officially opened its conference headquarters in the city of Arlington, less than five miles from a professional sports district that includes AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Field and Choctaw Stadium.
It was the first such move for the league in a generation after the WAC had been anchored in Denver for all but a brief stretch of its initial 60 years of existence.
Since forming as a six-team conference on July 27, 1962, members of the WAC have combined to win 32 team NCAA Championships and 19 additional national titles. In men’s basketball, the WAC has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Tournament in 28 of the past 46 seasons. In baseball, the WAC has boasted two national champions since 2003. In women’s basketball, the conference has had at least two teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament 10 times in 29 seasons, with a record five teams in 1998. The WAC also sent teams to three BCS football bowl games from 2007-10.
The current 13 WAC member institutions stretch across six different states, with six active members; Abilene Christian University, Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin University, Tarleton State University, The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; residing in Texas.
“Our Board of Directors’ goal is to continue to push the WAC into becoming one of the premier Mid-Major conferences in the country,” WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton said. “The WAC will certainly benefit from the continued collaboration with the city of Arlington. Arlington has become one of the nation’s prime athletics and entertainment destinations. The ongoing investment in the city is a clear reflection of the goals and vision that exist in Arlington, and we are excited to be an integral part of the city’s growth going forward.”
Presently, the WAC crowns champions in 20 sports – 10 men’s and 10 women’s. For the men, there are championships in baseball, basketball, cross country, football (regular season only), golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. Championships for women are held in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball.
As a premiere entertainment destination, Arlington attracts an estimated 14 million visitors each year and is home to Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor, Texas Live! and professional sports franchises including the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, Dallas Jackals and the XFL. The city is also home to UT Arlington, which is the largest university in North Texas and one of the newest WAC members.
“We are excited to welcome the Western Athletic Conference headquarters to our city. Arlington is a place where you can achieve your American dream, and the WAC certainly has an impressive record of its student-athletes achieving the highest levels of success over the years. We look forward to the conference beginning its next chapter here,” Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said.