History of the Vikings
Portland State Vikings is the nickname of the NCAA-affiliated, intercollegiate athletic teams representing Portland State University of Portland, Oregon. The Vikings compete at the NCAA Division I level in basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf, tennis, softball, indoor and outdoor track and field, and cross country. The university has been a member of the Big Sky Conference since 1996. Along with the other Big Sky football programs, Viking football takes part in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as NCAA Division I-AA.
Before joining Division I, the school won NCAA National Division II Championships in women's volleyball and wrestling. The school has also placed second twice nationally in football and once in women's basketball at the Division II level. Portland State's colors are forest green and white, and its mascot is the Viking manifested as "Victor E. Viking."
Among the more notable former PSU athletes are Freeman Williams and Neil Lomax. Freeman Williams was the NCAA Division I national men's basketball individual scoring leader in 1977 and 1978. Neil Lomax was a record-setting quarterback who went on to star for the then St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL. Football's "Run & Shoot" offense was first implemented at the college level at PSU by then-coach Darryl "Mouse" Davis. Davis' quarterback protégées were Lomax and June Jones. Jones, the former head coach at the University of Hawaii and then at SMU, is also a proponent of the Run & Shoot.
College Sports Established
Portland State University
1996 - Present / NCAA Division I-AA/FCS
1981 - 1995 / NCAA Division II
1978 - 1980 / NCAA Division I-AA
1973 - 1977 / NCAA Division II
1958 - 1972 / NCAA College Division
1996 – Present / Big Sky Conference
1993 - 1995 / NCAA Division II independent
1982 - 1992 / Western Football Conference
1981 / NCAA Division II independent
1978 - 1980 / NCAA Division I-AA independent
1973 - 1977 / NCAA Division II independent
1965 - 1972 / NCAA College Division independent
1950 - 1964 / Oregon Collegiate Conference
1947 - 1949 / Independent
Vikings - First, we were the Vanport Vikings! Vanport Extension Center, the college that became Portland State University, opened its first classes in summer term 1946. By November of that year, Vanport students were competing in intercollegiate sports, but the teams needed a name and a mascot.
After collecting submissions from five suggestion boxes placed around campus, the council voted unanimously for “Vikings,” a name suggested by two separate individuals, Robert Tweedell and Dale Reeves. Both Tweedell and Reeves associated the “Viking” name with the college’s newness and non-traditional character.
The name stuck even after Vanport College moved downtown in 1952, changed its name to Portland State, and became a four-year university.
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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