The Wright State University Athletic Department can be seen through two distinct phases of growth over the past 40 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 a 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.
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.
The student-athletes posted 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 Alumni Field, home of the men's and women's soccer teams, 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 Ervin J. 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.