Note: With the Horizon League celebrating the 10th anniversary of its name change, the League will be looking back at significant moments from the last 10 years.
Just two weeks before the Midwestern Collegiate Conference formally became the Horizon League, the League expanded its profile, adding Youngstown State University on May 17, 2001. Within the decade, the Horizon League would welcome its 10th member, Valparaiso, giving the League its current alignment of universities.
In the DeBartolo Stadium Club at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, the Penguins became the ninth member of the Horizon League, joining competition in the 2001-02 academic year. Seeking to build in-state rivalries and gain exposure in larger media markets, Youngstown State was hailed as an institution that would strengthen all of the sports in the soon-to-be Horizon League, while the eight other teams in the League would likewise help build YSU.
Since beginning competition in the fall of 2001, Youngstown State has won 12 Horizon League postseason titles, capturing titles in men's indoor track and field (2003), women's women's track and field (2004, 2005, 2008), baseball (2004), softball (2006), women's golf (2009) and women's outdoor track and field (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009).
It would be six years later that the Horizon League arrived at a round number in its membership, adding Valparaiso as its 10th member on May 17, 2006. The Crusaders began competition within the League beginning with the 2007-08 academic year. At the time of the announcement, Valparaiso Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera remarked, "By becoming members of the Horizon League, we give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete in a midwestern conference with a national reach."
That reach saw Valparaiso host a Sears BracketBusters game during the 2010-11 men's basketball season, when a packed Athletics-Recreation Center played host to Dave O'Brien, Dick Vitale, and a national television audience on ESPNU. The Crusaders routed visiting Missouri State en route to a fourth-place finish in the Horizon League and a postseason appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Crusaders have repeatedly been in contention for their first Horizon League title, finishing as runners-up in the 2011 Horizon League Baseball Championship after taking third in the softball championship.
Tags: Horizon League - All Sports · Valparaiso - All Sports · Youngstown State - All Sports