The state of Portland State athletics

Portland State athletics has not been a legitimate challenger for a championship since the 2004 men’s basketball team finished in first place in the Big Sky.

Portland State athletics has not been a legitimate challenger for a championship since the 2004 men’s basketball team finished in first place in the Big Sky.

And even that team ended up losing in a semifinal game in the Big Sky tournament.

The fact is that Portland State has not been able to compete for a championship in a long time and I believe that is all about to change.

There is one major difference in Portland State sports that has not taken place since its move from Division II to Division I-AA: people are starting to care.

The administration and school’s funds are finally being used to make Portland State successful in athletics.

The athletic department and football team announced the signing of Jerry Glanville, a successful college and former NFL head coach, last April. Three years ago, former athletic director Tom Burman signed head men’s basketball coach Ken Bone and women’s head basketball coach Charity Elliott, both of whom have transformed losing programs into competitive ones. Both programs have endured three years of rebuilding and recruiting, and are about to hit their stride, possibly dominating the Big Sky for a long time. Although it has taken Portland State and the administration a very long time, they are finally beginning to come around.

This year the volleyball team had one of the best seasons in its history, cruising to a 21-7 record and 14-2 conference mark. The football team, only earning a 7-4 record, played against three top-of-the-line Division I-A schools, beating New Mexico to open the season. The men’s basketball team finished fourth in conference and had a winning record for the fourth time since joining Division I-A, finishing 19-13 overall and 9-7 in conference play. The women’s basketball team continued to improve its record and made a second consecutive trip to the postseason under Elliott, as the Viks finished with an 8-8 conference record and 12-18 overall.

The most important thing, regardless of results, is that the Portland State community is starting to get behind its teams. Glanville is promising to fill seats because “people will love his brand of football.” Both basketball teams look poised to have exciting, nail-biting seasons next year. And I believe that the PSU students will recognize that and be more excited about supporting their teams.

One administrator and an assistant coach both relayed similar stories to me about being extremely excited about being at PSU at this important stage in its growth. Regardless of their pay and positions, they were excited to be at Portland State because they felt the Viking teams would be competing for championships very soon.

Although it is hard to predict, because Viking squads typically disappoint, everything will work out and PSU will be hoisting Big Sky championships all of next year. But this year has garnered more excitement from fans than any other year preceding it, and I believe the past few years have made an impact to make Portland State successful for a long time.