Portland State Athletics. In a state with the likes of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, the Vikings don’t get thrown in a lot of conversations about the Ducks and the Beavers. But as a small athletics school with a large population of people (roughly 30,000), picking the right moment to get involved in the athletic program can lead to a collegiate-atmosphere experience.
Oh, and you pay for roughly 25 percent of PSU’s athletic department, so why not learn about it?
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, there existed a PSU athletic program that represented the best football in the state of Oregon. The name Neil Lomax floated along the halls of PSU campus buildings, and stands were filled with screaming fans who couldn’t get enough of a fifth-string quarterback turned 90 NCAA record-holding starter. This isn’t necessarily the case anymore.
PSU plays its home games at Providence Park, which holds roughly 20,000 people. Last year, the team never had more than 6,000 people show up. The team won three games last season and fired its coach to replace him with now-interim-head coach Bruce Barnum. Games usually kick off in the early afternoon.
The men’s basketball team has seen success in the recent past, making the NCAA tournament in back- to- back years led by point guard Jeremiah Dominguez. Recently they haven’t quite found that level of success, but they have continued to be the best seat in the PSU athletic program.
The Peter W. Stott Center holds roughly 1,500 people, which resulted in some games with full stands. The Stott Center can get loud and feels most like the college atmosphere experience rowdy loud youth are capable of creating.
Last season, the basketball team won 15 of its 29 games. One of those wins came against Pac-12 school University of Southern California on the road. Nine of those wins came at home.
Best part of all of this? PSU has handed out free concessions at basketball games for the last two seasons. You know, if you like that kind of thing.
PSU’s women’s soccer team is arguably the most successful program at the school. The women have won four big conference championships in the last seven years, all under head coach Laura Schott. Those seven seasons have included Big Sky MVPs, numerous Big Sky championship appearances, a Big Sky coach of the year award and a 16-game unbeaten streak.
The women have found success in the past, there is no doubt about that.
Unfortunately for PSU soccer fans, there is no home field on campus. Instead, the Vikings play all their home games at Hillsboro Stadium, which is roughly 14 miles away from campus.
That means that for those of you who live on campus and want to catch a game, it would be closer for you to travel to a PSU road game against the University of Portland at Merlo Field. The women are the most successful, but they are the hardest to watch. Unless, of course, they go on the road to the University of Portland.
Track and field
The track and field squad on the Park Blocks has also seen success, on the women’s side. The women have often challenged for the Big Sky conference championship lately, including second-and-third place finishes within the last five years.
Coached by Ronnye Harrison and his staff, the Vikings have become a squad that challenges the Big Sky every year. Individually, the Vikings have also produced Big Sky champions and athletes who have made the National Championship meet, which takes place in Eugene every year.
Track and field has an indoor and outdoor season, with the indoor season starting in January and the outdoor season starting afterwards until May–June depending on how successful PSU is.
Unfortunately, it’s the same story for track and field as it is for women’s soccer. When PSU had a chance to host the Big Sky conference championship meet, it took place in Forest Grove at Pacific University.
Mark Rountree is PSU’s athletic director, and he is still relatively new to the Park Blocks. The 2015–16 season will be his first full year in the position. Rountree was formerly the deputy athletic director at Miami of Ohio.
Biggest challenges for Rountree? Completing the Viking Pavilion project smoothly, and bringing PSU a winning football season.
There are a lot of other sports at PSU like volleyball, softball and tennis. To keep up with all of the above and more, check in with the Vanguard and goviks.com. Doing that and attending a game or event are the best ways to get involved with PSU athletics.