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Grand Canyon Antelopes

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Title: Grand Canyon Antelopes  
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Subject: GCU Arena, Western Athletic Conference, 2011 NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Tournament, Grand Canyon Antelopes, List of college athletic programs in Arizona
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Grand Canyon Antelopes

Grand Canyon Antelopes (Lopes)
University Grand Canyon University
Conference WAC
NCAA Division I (transitioning)
Athletic director Mike Vaught
Location Phoenix, AZ
Varsity teams 20
Basketball arena GCU Arena (7,000)
Baseball stadium Brazell Stadium (1,500)
Soccer stadium GCU Soccer Field (1,000)
Other arenas Antelope Gymnasium (2,000)
Mascot Thunder the Antelope
Nickname Lopes
Fight song Feel the Place Go Boom
     Purple       Black       White
Website .com.gculopeswww

The athletic teams of Grand Canyon University are known as the Antelopes (commonly referred to as the Lopes). Most of the university's athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division I level in the Western Athletic Conference. Men's volleyball competes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) and wrestling has not yet announced a conference.

Athletic expansion

GCU was a member of the NAIA until the early 1990s when it transferred to NCAA Division II, in which it competed until 2013.

The university has undergone a transition from a small struggling non-profit liberal arts college to a large modern for-profit private university. Along with the general campus upgrades has come an increase in athletics and athletic facilities.

On November 27, 2012, Grand Canyon University announced that it had accepted an invitation to join Division I's Western Athletic Conference, effective July 1, 2013.[1] This move made Grand Canyon the only for-profit institution with a Division I athletic program.[2]

GCU's business model is at the center of an emerging controversy in college sports. In July 2013, the chief executives of all 12 members of the [3] Within days, GCU CEO Brian Mueller accused Arizona State University president Michael Crow of being behind this move.[4]

In a decision coming in late March 2014, the university made the switch from 'Lopes to Lopes as the school's shortened mascot in an effort to streamline athletic communications.


Grand Canyon University sponsors teams in eleven men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[5]
  • = The men's volleyball team competes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA).
  • # = The wrestling team has not announced a Division I conference affiliation.
  • * = Sand volleyball is an NCAA "emerging sport" which is fully sanctioned, but does not yet have a national championship.[6] GCU's team competes as an independent.


Lopes baseball won four NAIA Baseball World Series in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1986.[7] A number of Alumni have gone on to Major League Baseball careers.[8]

Basketball (Men's)

Men's basketball is coached by Dan Majerle, former basketball player with the Phoenix Suns.[9] GCU won three NAIA Men's Basketball Championships at the NAIA Division I level in 1975, 1978, and 1988. The 2007 PacWest Conference Championship and a berth in the 2007 NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Tournament.[7] GCU has seen two Lopes basketball alumni go on to careers in the NBA, including: Horacio Llamas, the first Mexican-born player play in an NBA game.;[10] and Bayard Forrest, former basketball player with the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns. Croatian national team player Emilio Kovačić played his first university basketball seasons in Grand Canyon, before leaving to Arizona State.[11][12]

Basketball (Women's)

Women's basketball won the 2007 PacWest Conference Championship and a berth in the 2007 NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Tournament.[7]

Golf (Men's)

Men's golf is coached by past PGA touring professional Paul Purtzer.[13]

Soccer (Men's)

Men's soccer won the 1996 NCAA Men's Division II Soccer Championship with a 3-1 win over Oakland University.[7] Men's Soccer is now a member of the Western Athletic Conference, beginning 2013-2014 season. NCAA Division 1.


Softball was added in 2003 and in 2010 the team made its first NCAA Tournament Appearance in the 2010 NCAA Division II Women's College World Series Tournament. 2010 also saw the Lopes set a new program record for most wins in a season going 42-11.[14]

Tennis (Women's)

Women's tennis won the 1981 NAIA national women's tennis championship.[15]

Track and Field (Men's)

Men's track team won the 2012 NCAA Men's Division II Indoor Track and Field Championship scoring 54 points. [16]


During its four year transition, the Lopes wrestling team will compete in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The school won the 2014 NCWA National Duels and Collegiate Cup championships.

Club sports


NCAA men's lacrosse made a brief appearance at GCU from 2008-2011. The team began in 2008 and played the first lacrosse game in school history on February 10, 2008, an 8-18 loss to the University of Arizona (MCLA DI).[17] In 2010 GCU and the few other NCAA DII lacrosse programs in the Southwest formed the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association In the Lopes only season as a member of the WILA, the team recorded a 3-5 conference record.[18] After a number of below .500 seasons combined with increasing travel costs due to lack of NCAA Division II competition in the university announced in March 2011 it would end Division II lacrosse competition.[19] Shortly after the university announced the program will compete at the varsity-club level in Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association[20] The program joined the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) and plays in the MCLA Division II level in the SLC's Pacific Division.[21]


Men's rugby was approved for addition to the GCU club sports lineup in 2013. Although it is officially a club sport, the team is under the auspices of the Athletic Department, and has access to Athletic Department facilities and support personnel.[22] The team began began competing in the 2014–2015 academic year. Former University of Arizona collegiate All-American Ryan Kelly is the head coach, and rugby sevens specialist Merrick Firestone is the associate head coach.

GCU Rugby has undertaken a significant recruiting effort, bringing in a large initial recruiting class for the Fall 2014 semester that includes many experienced high school rugby players from across the country, including several High School Rugby All-American invitees.[23] GCU Rugby anticipates hosting a Fall 7s tournament on the GCU campus in September, 2014.[24]

Athletic facilities

Grand Canyon University has several sports facilities where the 20 NCAA athletic programs host home games. The GCU men's baseball team plays home games at Brazell Stadium. The stadium is named after Grand Canyon's longtime baseball coach Dr. Dave Brazell.[25] The GCU women's softball team hosts its home games at Stapleton-Pierson Stadium. This stadium is named for baseball coach Dave Stapleton and softball coach Ann Pierson. The field's inaugural season was 2004.[26]

The Antelope Gymnasium was home to Grand Canyon's men's and women's basketball, men's and women's volleyball and wrestling teams.[27] The facility was replaced by the GCU Arena in 2011 as the university's main athletic arena. Both the men's and women's basketball teams call the 5,000 seat event arena home as well as select women's volleyball and wrestling events.[28] GCU Soccer Field serves as the home field for GCU Lopes soccer and lacrosse games.[29]


  1. ^ "Grand Canyon University to Join WAC" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. November 27, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ Medcalf, Myron (July 29, 2013). "GCU's for-profit predicament".  
  3. ^ Dodd, Dennis (July 17, 2013). "Pac-12 protest targets for-profit Grand Canyon's move to Division I".  
  4. ^ Dodd, Dennis (July 17, 2013). "Grand Canyon CEO calls out Arizona State in D-I controversyI".  
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Worries Tinge Success for Biola's Kovacic Mitch Polin, LA Times, Feb 26, 1991
  12. ^ Emilio Kovačić
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Antelopes lacrosse debuts with heroic loss". Grand Canyon University. February 10, 2008. 
  18. ^ "2011 Computer Rating". 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  19. ^ Coyne, Jac (March 10, 2011). "Grand Canyon Decides to Drop Program". Lacrosse Magazine. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Lacrosse to Join MCLA". Grand Canyon University. April 8, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Rapkin to be a Guest on Lacrosse Talk". Grand Canyon University. October 28, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Grand Canyon to Start Rugby with Over 50 Players", Goff Rugby Report, August 4, 2014.
  23. ^ "Grand Canyon to Start Rugby with Over 50 Players", Goff Rugby Report, August 4, 2014.
  24. ^
  25. ^ [1]] Accessed May 13, 2010
  26. ^ [2]] Accessed May 13, 2010
  27. ^ [3]]Accessed May 13, 2010
  28. ^ [4] Accessed May 13, 2010
  29. ^ [5]] Accessed May 13, 2010

External links

  • Grand Canyon University Athletics Site
  • Grand Canyon University Official Website
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