Valparaiso Crusaders: Wikis


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Valparaiso Crusaders
Valparaiso University mascot.png
University Valparaiso University
Conference Horizon League
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Mark LaBarbera
Location Valparaiso, IN
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium Brown Field (Valparaiso University)
Basketball arena Athletics-Recreation Center
Mascot The Crusader
Nickname Crusaders
Fight song
Colors Brown and Gold



The Valparaiso University Crusaders are the eighteen intercollegiate teams that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I for Valparaiso University. Valparaiso competes in the Horizon League in all sports except for football, which is not sponsored by the conference. The football team is a member of the Pioneer Football League. On May 27, 2006, Valparaiso announced it would join the Horizon League, effective July 1, 2007.[1] This move has rejoined the school with six former Mid-Con rivals.


Conference affiliation

The Crusaders first joined a Division I conference in 1982 when the men's basketball team joined the Mid-Continent Conference. Other sports joined conferences in later years.

Years Football Men's Basketball Women's Basketball
1982-1987 Division II Mid-Continent Conference
1987-1992 Division II Mid-Continent Conference North Star Conference
1992-1993 Division II Mid-Continent Conference Mid-Continent Conference
1993-2007 Pioneer Football League Mid-Continent Conference Mid-Continent Conference
2007- Pioneer Football League Horizon League Horizon League

Sport participation

  • Football
  • Men's Cross Country
  • Women's Cross Country
  • Volleyball
  • Men's Soccer
  • Women's Soccer
  • Men's Basketball
  • Women's Basketball
  • Men's Swimming
  • Women's Swimming
  • Men's Indoor Track and Field
  • Women's Indoor Track and Field
  • Men's Tennis
  • Women's Tennis
  • Men's Outdoor Track and Field
  • Women's Outdoor Track and Field
  • Softball
  • Baseball
  • Women's Bowling
  • Men's Golf
  • Women's Golf


VU plays its home football games at Brown Field (capacity 5,000), opened in 1919. Its basketball, swimming and volleyball teams play at the ARC, which has a capacity of 5,000. The Eastgate Athletic Complex is home to the soccer teams, as well as the baseball team. The tennis teams use the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex. The cross country teams compete at Sunset Hills Farm.


After years of going without one, Valparaiso University pursued a mascot in 1931. The Uhlan was chosen over the Dunesmen and the Vandals.[2] After debate in 1941 over choosing a mascot less proximate to the Nazi cause, the Crusader was chosen as the new mascot in 1942. The current illustrated mascot was penned by a Disney artist and patented in 1951. The Crusader has remained the mascot ever since.



First years

The Valparaiso football program was started in 1919, as prior to this point the administration believed athletics were a distraction from academic pursuits. George Keogan, who also coached the men's basketball team, was the first coach. The first game was October 4 at Brown Field, a win over the Chicago YMCA team 26-0. Every game that first year would end as a shutout. The team had a 5-3 record that year. [1]. In 1943 and 1944, the Crusaders did not field a football team due to World War II.

Post-war years

The Crusaders resumed their football program in 1945. That year, they joined their first conference, the Indiana Collegiate Conference, their home until 1976. The post-war years began a tremendous run of coaching stability. They hired Emory Bauer in 1946. Bauer would coach the team until 1967. Walt Reiner would also coach the team from 1957 until 1964. Until 2006, only four other men would coach the Crusaders. This includes Stacy Adams who in 2005 became the university's first African American head coach.

Down years

In 1977, the Crusaders joined the Heartland Collegiate Conference. In 1990, the Crusaders moved to the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference. During their time in these conferences, they would lose more often than win.

Division I years

Valparaiso Crusaders players in a huddle

In 1993, the NCAA mandated that schools playing Division I basketball may only play football in Division I. The Crusaders along with five other schools formed the Pioneer Football League, where they remain today. Playing primarily against non-scholarship teams, the Crusaders' reversed their fortunes. They won their first outright championship in 2003, when they won the PFL championship game.

Men's basketball

The Crusaders basketball program began in 1917. Since then, they have won 8 conference championship tournaments and appeared in the NCAA tournament 7 times. They are currently coached by Homer Drew and play their home games at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

Women's basketball

The Crusaders women's basketball team started play during the 1971-1972 season. The team joined the North Star Conference for the 1987-1988 season. In 1990-1991, the Crusaders reached the finals of the North Star Conference Tournament before losing to DePaul. The Crusaders' best season in the North Star Conference was 1991-1992. That year, they finished with a record of 20-9. The 1992-1993 season was their first season in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2004 seasons under coach Keith Freeman. The Crusaders lost in the first round each of these years, to Purdue and Kansas State, respectively. Marlous Nieuwveen is the only Crusader to appear in a WNBA game. Debbie Bolen (1989-1993) and hall of fall class of 1999, is the current holder of 18 single game records, season and career women's basketball individual records including points scored, scoring average, most field goals, most free throws, assists, and steals.

Women's volleyball

The women's volleyball team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1994, 1995 and 2003–2005.

Women's soccer

In 2005, the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Men's soccer

In 1996, the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Track & field

In 2007, the women's team finished in third place in the Mid-Continent Conference championships, only losing to Southern Utah and Oral Roberts. The men's team finished fifth. In addition, sophomore Laura Rolf was named an All-American in the mile run, finishing tenth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.[3]


External links


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