FULLERTON, Calif. – The four-time national champion Cal State Fullerton baseball program has been selected to represent the United States at the 2015 World University games from July 3-14 in Gwangju City, South Korea.
The World University Games is the American term for "Universiade," an international multi-sport event organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The Universiade, which began in 1959, is an international sporting and cultural festival, staged every two years in a different city around the world, representing both winter and summer competitions.
"I want to express my sincere gratitude to President García and Director of Athletics Jim Donovan for their support and diligence in securing this amazing opportunity for the Cal State Fullerton baseball program," third-year head coach Rick Vanderhook said. "I am thrilled that our student-athletes will have the honor of representing the U.S. at the 2015 World University Games. I am also very excited for the educational experience this event will provide for our players on and off the field."
USA Baseball had the first opportunity to field an All-Star team, but declined, leaving BTI Events to field a team from a university based on the organization's team selection criteria.
"From my perspective, a team of All-Stars was selected—it just happens to be composed entirely of outstanding Titans whose efforts in the classroom and on the field reflect our campus community's commitment to 'reach higher' in all that we do," University President Mildred García said. "I am proud of all those who had a hand in bringing this unique honor to fruition and look forward to our players representing not just Cal State Fullerton at the 2015 World University Games, but also the CSU, the state, and the nation."
BTI Events took over management of the World University Games in 2011, and this will be the first time that the sport of baseball will be represented since then. The host city must select the standard 12 sports, and then can add other sports to the games. Gwangju City chose to add baseball because of its popularity in South Korea as well as the country's historical success in the sport.
In January of 2014 at the NCAA Convention, Donovan met with Nels Hawkinson, Executive Director of BTI Events for the 2015 World University Games and Championships. Hawkinson informed Donovan that USA Baseball would not be selecting an All-Star team, and BTI Events would be looking for a university to represent the U.S.
Twelve top collegiate baseball teams in the U.S. were given the opportunity to express interest in representing the U.S. in the World University Games, and Cal State Fullerton stated written interest within the seven-day time period.
BTI Events issued Fullerton a 14-day exclusive window to sign an agreement to represent the U.S., and Cal State Fullerton was able to meet that deadline to ensure the team's participation.
Former Cal State Fullerton outfielder Ashley Van Boxmeer was one of 17 players that helped lead the Canadian Women's Softball Team to the gold medal at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand.
In addition, Cal State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame member Nancy Dunkle captured a silver medal for the U.S. women's basketball team in 1975, while former Fullerton women's basketball head coach Billie Moore served as an assistant coach to the U.S. team during 1973 World University Games. Former women's basketball player Brenda Martin competed for the U.S. in 1977.
Former Cal State Fullerton gymnasts Patti Mirtich, Susan Archer-Pennefather, Julie Goewey, Tami Elliott, Roni Barrios, Taunia Rogers, and Heidi Geier also competed.
In 2013, the Kansas State women's volleyball team participated in the World University Games along with the men's and women's tennis teams from USC, Cal women's water polo and UCLA men's water polo.
The 2015 Summer Games in Gwangju City, South Korea will have U.S. representation in up to 21 sports by 550 people which will be, by far, the largest American team in the history of U.S. participation in the Games. By contrast, the 2013 American team had 400 athletes and staff in Kazan, Russia.
The U.S.A. won a total of 40 medals at the 2013 Kazan Summer Games, finishing sixth in the world. Many now-famous athletes have represented the U.S.A. in previous WUG competitions prior to gaining stardom in the Olympics and professional sports. These include such elite athletes as Michael Johnson (Track), Charles Barkley and Larry Bird (Men's Basketball), Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps (Swimming), and Lisa Leslie (Women's Basketball).
The following 21 sports competitions are open for U.S. representation in South Korea:
Athletics/Track and Field
ABOUT BTI EVENTS (see: www.btievents.net)
BTI Events is the managing partner for the US-IUSF, the American arm of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). A comprehensive athletic event management company, BTI Events facilitates and provides logistical support for all types of athletic teams traveling to domestic and international events, including U.S. athletes competing in the World University Games (beginning 2011) and World University Championships (beginning 2012). Under the direction of the
US-IUSF, BTI Events will assist U.S. athletes in managing Games and Championships administration, logistics, and information resources.
ABOUT US-IUSF (see: www.usiusf.org)
The United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) is the governing body for the United States and represents all American athletes participating in FISU events. US-IUSF was granted official recognition by the FISU General Assembly at the 1967 Tokyo World University Games under the original name of the United States Collegiate Sports Council (USCSC). The USCSC name was changed in 2005 to US-IUSF. Dr. Gary Cunningham leads US-IUSF membership, and also serves as Chef de Mission for all World University Games competitions.
Baseball at the 2015 World University Games
Total days of Play: 10
Tournament consists of a round-robin preliminary round by all participating countries
Preliminary round, quarterfinals (5th and 7th place playoffs), semifinals (3rd place playoff), final
- Mudeung Baseball Stadium
- Gwangju Baseball Stadium
- Gwangju Ilgo Baseball Stadium