As the Wolf Pack gets ready to officially enter the Mountain West Conference on Sunday, it is worth a moment to look back on our 12 great years in the Western Athletic Conference from 2000-01 to 2011-12.
Here are 12 of our biggest accomplishments while in the WAC, one for each year we spent in the league:
12. Wolf Pack student-athletes earned WAC All-Academic honors 1,055 times in Nevada's 12 years in the conference.
11. Nevada teams won a total of 22 WAC regular-season and conference championships.
10. In 2003, Abigail McAllister set the school record for the 5,000 meters to win the Western Athletic Conference cross country individual championship and secure Nevada's first WAC team title in any sport. Four Wolf Pack runners finished inside the top 10 to lead the Wolf Pack to the WAC championship that day.
9. In 2007, Taylor Coffman chipped out of the bunker and made a four-foot putt for par to clinch Nevada's first WAC men's golf championship. Coffman swept the conference awards that year, winning both WAC Player and Freshman of the Year honors.
8. In 2006, just six years after its first season, Nevada won the Western Athletic Conference soccer tournament and earned the program's first visit to the NCAA Championship. The Wolf Pack won the WAC Tournament in dramatic fashion that year, knocking off Fresno State in double overtime (4-2 penalty kicks) at Mackay Stadium.
7. The Wolf Pack women's swimming and diving program captured three consecutive WAC championships from 2007-09. During the time period, In those three years, Nevada had the WAC Swimmer of the Year in Margaret Doolittle in 2008, two Coaches of the Year (Mike Shrader in 2007 and Mike Richmond in 2008) and three straight Freshmen of the Year (Doolittle in 2007, Jeannette Tour in 2007 and Kim Kabesh in 2008).
6. Nick Fazekas was named the WAC Basketball Player of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2007, joining Utah's Keith Van Horn as just the second player in the history of the conference to earn that distinction three times. The most decorated player in school history, he became the first Nevada player and just the fifth in the history of the WAC to turn in 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. He also finished ranked second in the WAC in career rebounding and third in career scoring.
5. Just three years after the program was reinstated, the Wolf Pack women's softball team won its first Western Athletic Conference championship in March of 2006, capturing the tournament title and earning the first NCAA Regional invitation in school history. The Wolf Pack would go on to win two more WAC titles, capturing regular-season crowns and earning NCAA Regional appearances in 2008 and 2009.
4. The Wolf Pack men's basketball team vaulted to the top of the WAC in 2003-04, tying for first in the WAC regular season and knocking off UTEP in the championship game of the 2004 WAC Tournament to earn Nevada's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years. That would mark the five of five consecutive WAC regular-season titles and four straight NCAA appearances for the Wolf Pack. The magic didn't stop there as the Wolf Pack made a Cinderella run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen that year.
3. The Wolf Pack captured the Commissioner's Cup as the top athletic program in the conference in 2006-07. Nevada took home four conference titles this year, including a regular-season championship by men's basketball and WAC Championships crowns by women's soccer, women's swimming and diving and men's golf. The Wolf Pack also advanced to the championship games at both the WAC softball and baseball championships, turned in second-place finishes at the cross country and outdoor track championships and made semifinals appearances in women's basketball, men's tennis and women's tennis.
2. Nevada captured one of the biggest victories in school history when the Wolf Pack knocked off then third-ranked Boise State 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 26, 2010. That game clinched Nevada's second WAC football crown and its first since 2005.
1. The Wolf Pack men's basketball team was a dominant force in the WAC, winning five straight regular-season championships from 2004-08. Nevada won a total of eight WAC titles in the Wolf Pack's time in the league, including tournament victories in 2004 and 2008, and wrapped up Nevada's 12 years in the league with a regular-season title in 2012.
Over these twelve years, we have had a chance to work with some great colleagues at the conference office and at the member institutions and compete against some outstanding student-athletes and coaches. We wish all of them the best of luck as we move into a new conference and new era for Wolf Pack Athletics!