For years, Valley sports mogul Jerry Colangelo has referred to Grand Canyon University as “the sleepy school on the West Side." Well, guess what? GCU has stopped hitting the snooze button.
On campus today, GCU announced: NCAA Division I…here we come. That’s right, the Antelopes taking the big step to compete in the big time by joining the Western Athletic Conference.
“I think it’s the crowning moment. This was the goal all along,” GCU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Russ Pennell said about moving up from Division II and into the WAC, effective July 2013.
GCU put its brand new arena on display, complete with the school mascot repelling from the rafters, for a ceremony that included Governor Jan Brewer and Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton.
“I can’t wait to stay up late watching ESPN and catching highlights of the ‘Lopes on national television,” Stanton said.
Well, that probably won’t happen for awhile. In fact, reclassification is a four-year process. However, GCU can compete for WAC titles and the basketball teams can qualify for the NIT right away.
“It’s all about dreaming and trying to achieve,” Colangelo said in response to being asked where GCU might be in five to ten years. “I think of Grand Canyon now as Gonzaga, Marquette, Pepperdine."
“Why not? I mean, build that kind of a program and go beyond that," he said.
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