The Wright State University Athletic Department can be seen through two distinct phases of growth over nearly 50 years. The first phase includes the birth and blossoming into the NCAA Division II elite while the second, and current, could be characterized by the move and quick success in NCAA Division I.
Since its first intercollegiate event when the men's soccer team defeated Wilberforce 4-2 in the fall of 1968, the Raiders have grown to the extent that the men's basketball team played the University of Indiana before 35,000 fans on national television in 1993 and saw the Raiders beat eventual national-champion Michigan State for the "Upset of the Millennium" on December 30, 1999 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center.
The first 20 years in Division II saw numerous national post-season tournament berths, over 200 All-Americans and a men's basketball National Championship in 1983. Great success became the norm instead of an exception for the Raiders as a high majority of the programs posted a better than .600 record.
Since becoming an NCAA Division I member in 1987, the Raiders success has continued as the squads climb and improve. The first to qualify for a Division I bid came in 1988 when a golfer participated in the NCAA national tournament.
The move to Division I also saw a move in 1990 to the Mid-Continent Conference and then the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League) starting with the 1994-95 campaign. Since beginning league play, WSU athletes have earned hundreds of all-league honors while numerous teams have won conference championships and received NCAA Tournament bids. The coaching staffs has also received its share of recognition as well with Coach of the Year honors. Wright State has captured 53 regular-season and tournament conference titles (through 2015-16) among those 16 sports since first joining a league in 1990.
The Raiders can boast successful professionals as its alumni in Brian Anderson and Joe Smith, each a Major League Baseball pitcher, Vitaly Potapenko, a center in the NBA, and Frank Lickliter, a member of the PGA Tour, to name just a few. Also, WSU has produced many professionals in men’s and women’s basketball as well as men’s and women’s soccer and baseball through the years.
The student-athletes post outstanding successes in the classroom as well as they regularly earn a grade point average over 3.0. Almost half of the student-athletes are honored each year at Academic Recognition Night.
WSU sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports, including seven for men and nine for women: Both--basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving and tennis; Women--softball, indoor track, outdoor track and volleyball; Men--baseball and golf. The latest sport additions to the department has been a women's indoor and outdoor track & field squad.
New facilities over the last 15 years include the Setzer Pavilion/Mills Morgan Center, a state of the art facility that is used by all 16 teams, particularly men's and women's basketball. Also new are the Rinzler Sports Complex, home of soccer’s Alumni Field, and Nischwitz Stadium, home of the WSU baseball squad. Along with the new facilities, major improvements have been initiated at the softball field and tennis courts along with the Wright State Nutter Center, a 11,000-seat arena that is home to the volleyball and men's and women's basketball teams.
Things are moving in the right direction for the Raiders as they prepare for more impressive leaps on and off the playing field.
Wright State Athletics Timeline
|1968||First intercollegiate event is men's soccer|
|1983||Men's Basketball wins NCAA Division II National Title|
|1987||Baseball finishes second in NCAA Division II World Series|
|1987||WSU plays first Division I seasons|
|1988||First NCAA Division I Tournament as a golfer qualifies--the team will advance in 1990, 2000, 2003 and 2004|
|1990||WSU joins a league for the first time as women's sports join North Star Conference|
|1991||WSU joins Mid-Continent Conference for all sports|
|1993||First NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament appearance|
|1994||Baseball qualifies for its first NCAA Division I Tournament and will advance to the tournament in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016|
|1994||WSU joins the Midwestern Collegiate Conference which becomes the Horizon League in 2001|
|1998||Women's Soccer becomes the first women's sport to qualify for a NCAA Division I Tournament as the team repeats in 1999 and 2000|
|1999||Men's Basketball defeats eventual national champion Michigan State|
|2003||Softball advances to the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time and qualifies again in 2007, 2008 and 2010|
|2007||Men's Basketball hosts and wins the Horizon League Tournament and advances to its second NCAA Division I Tournament|
|2011||Women's Basketball hosts first-ever post-season game and the first-ever post-season game at the WSU Nutter Center, playing in the Women's Basketball Invitational|
|2014||Women's Basketball qualifies for its first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament|
|2015||Women's Basketball makes its first-ever appearance in the National Invitation Tournament and repeats in 2016|
|2015||Baseball advances to the finals of the NCAA Regionals for the first time|
|2016||Baseball advances to the finals of the NCAA Regionals for the second straight year|