Louisiana Tech will be leaving the WAC after next school year to join Conference USA. / File photo
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech University accepted an invitation to join Conference USA during a news conference held Friday on Karl Malone Court in the Thomas Assembly Center.
Tech, which has been a member of the Western Athletic Conference since July 1, 2001, will officially become a member of Conference USA in an all-sports move starting July 1, 2013.
University president Dan Reneau said Friday’s announcement is the culmination to years of hard work and dedication by university administrators, coaches and student-athletes.
“This is the dawn of a new era for Louisiana Tech University and a goal we have worked very hard over the past several years to achieve,” Reneau said. “I want to publically acknowledge the efforts of Bruce Van De Velde and his team as well as dedicated alums such as Terry Bradshaw and the Davison family, who were instrumental in helping tell our story and promote our vision for the future of Louisiana Tech athletics.
“Above all, I want to thank the Tech Nation for their loyal support and commitment to the athletics program. You are the spirit of Louisiana Tech and an inspiration to our coaches and student-athletes.”
Tech is one of five institutions that accepted a bid to C-USA along with North Texas, UTSA, Florida International and UNC-Charlotte. The five will join existing members Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB, Marshall, East Carolina, Rice, Tulsa and UTEP to form the 13-team league. According to the league office, additional expansion is possible and divisions will be set in the near future.
“The opportunity to join a conference with a national reputation and a strong regional presence is another step in solidifying our place as north Louisiana’s flagship University,” said Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde. “It is a great honor to be invited to Conference USA, a league whose members reflect the same strong academic reputation and rich intercollegiate athletic traditions as Louisiana Tech.”
Conference USA welcomes Louisiana Tech’s 16 NCAA Division I sanctioned sports (9 women’s, 7 men’s) that have combined to capture 29 team titles during its 11-year membership in the WAC.
“Located right in the heart of our Conference, we are so pleased to be able to start this association,” said C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, who was present at Friday’s announcement. “The more you learn about Louisiana Tech, the more you appreciate the fine programs they have in place. They have a great tradition, and a wonderful vision for excellence in the future. They will make a great addition to the conference.”