History of the Wildcats
A member of the Western Athletic Conference, Abilene Christian sponsors teams in seven men's and eight women's NCAA-sanctioned sports.
On July 1, 2013, Abilene Christian returned to the Southland Conference as one of four new members. The university, a charter member of the Southland Conference, left the Southland in 1973 to join the Lone Star Conference (LSC) of NCAA Division II. The Wildcats remained members of the Lone Star Conference from 1973 until returning to the Southland Conference in 2013.
Overall, the Wildcats have won a combined 62 team national championships, including 57 as a member of the NCAA trailing behind UCLA, Stanford, USC, and Kenyon College for the most NCAA team championships.
In 2007, the LSC included 33 ACU current and former student-athletes in its 75-member all-sports team commemorating the conference's 75th anniversary.
On August 23, 2017, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to pass ACU through to full Division I status, thus making them eligible for postseason play.
On January 14, 2021, ACU was one of five institutions announced as future members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), alongside three other Southland members from Texas (Lamar, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin) plus Big Sky Conference member Southern Utah. Initially, all five schools were to join in July 2022, but the entry of ACU and the other Texas schools was moved to 2021 after the Southland expelled its departing members.
College Sports Established
Abilene Christian University
1973 - Present / NCAA Division I
1964 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2021 - Present / Western Athletic Conference
2014 - 2021 / Southland Conference
1974 - 2013 / Lone Star Conference
1964 - 1973 / Southland Conference
Wildcats - In 1923, Sam Cox of Ozona, Texas, donated a young bobcat that had been captured on his ranch near the banks of the Devil’s River to become the university’s first Wildcat mascot. Bob Thomas made his debut during the West Texas Fair and Rodeo parade, pulled through the streets by two huskies in uniform.
Although the 1923 fair parade was a high spot in Bob’s young life, his days in captivity were numbered, and his post-parade demise was marked by a burial service on ACU’s North First Street campus, near Daisy Hall.
Bob was replaced by a taxidermy mount in 1924 but in January 1926, another live wildcat named Mrs. Bob Thomas was on the job, recruited to live in the back of the campus bookstore.
ACU’s Wildcat tradition has been celebrated for more than a century now, but if it weren’t for a student contest in 1919 we might be cheering the ACU Antelopes instead.
According to No Ordinary University: The Story of a City Set on a Hill, the 1998 ACU history book by Dr. John C. Stevens (’38), the mascot was chosen when students enthusiastically raised $6,300 to build and name a playing field for football, baseball, and intramural sports. They also conducted a competition to name ACC’s mascot. Wildcats won the contest over Antelopes, and the home for ACC sports become known as Wildcat Park.
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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