Athletics & Recreational Sports

The appeal of Chico State athletics is the opportunity for student-athletes to compete at a high level while pursuing a quality education. The overriding factor in our athletic success is the Chico experience: an almost undefinable mood which makes the student-athlete perceive Chico as "home," not just a place to go to school. This factor, along with excellent coaching and fine facilities, has contributed to Chico’s reputation of one of the top NCAA Division II athletic programs in the nation.


Facilities include two gymnasiums with four competition-size basketball courts; stadium and all-weather track; soccer and multipurpose fields; baseball stadium, softball diamond; putting greens and sand traps; weight training room; climbing wall; dance studios; handball/racquetball courts; and athletic training rooms.


The intercollegiate athletics program sponsors 13 different sports, seven women’s and six men’s. In the fall of 1998, Chico joined the highly regarded California Collegiate Athletic Association, which is composed of 11 schools:

Cal Poly Pomona; CSU, Dominquez Hills; CSU, Los Angeles; CSU, Monterey Bay; CSU, San Bernardino; CSU, Stanislaus; Humboldt State; Sonoma State; San Francisco State; and UC San Diego. It is a scholarship Division II conference whose teams have won over 145 NCAA National Championships.

Baseball–Head Coach Lindsay Meggs took over a struggling Wildcat baseball program in 1994 and produced national champions for the 1997 and 1999 seasons. Through disciplined coaching techniques and strong recruiting practices, Coach Meggs has regained the respect and reputation for winning that Wildcat baseball has known in the past. The Wildcats have reached the postseason every year since 1996 and made six appearances in the NCAA Division II College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama. The 4,200-seat Nettleton Stadium has added to the excitement of the sport and gives Wildcat baseball fans a wonderful place to take in a ballgame.

Men’s Basketball–The Chico State men’s basketball team, skillfully coached by Head Coach Prescott "Puck" Smith, is both exciting and successful. The Wildcats’ exciting style of play, which features a pressing fast-break attack, keyed the team’s run to the NCAA tournament in 2004 and 2005. A main feature in the basketball schedule each year is the annual Mac Martin Chico Invitational Basketball Tournament, originating in 1960.

Women’s Basketball–The Chico State women’s basketball program continues an exciting, winning tradition. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA tournament the last four years and had their best showing in the University’s history at the 2006 tournament, where they advanced to the Final Four. With that effort, the program established itself as one of the top in the conference, region, and the nation. The annual Coslet Classic tournament gives Wildcat basketball fans an early-season look at the team and its Division II competition.

Cross Country–Gary Towne, a long-time cross country and track and field assistant, took over the cross country head coaching position in 1996. In recent years the teams have made many trips to the National Championships, highlighted by seven straight top ten national finishes for the men’s program and four straight top ten finishes for the women’s program. Cross country is one of the programs that attracts a large number of participants each year.

Golf–The men’s and women’s programs are under the direction of Head Coach Keith Thomas, who took over in 2001and has built the programs into national competitors. The teams play a fall and spring schedule, building up to the CCAA championship, West Regionals, and National Championships. The Wildcats practice on three Chico courses and host a men’s and women’s invitational each year.

Men’s Soccer–One of the most respected and successful athletic teams on campus, the Chico State men’s soccer team, coached by alumnus Mike O’Malley, has been consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the CCAA. The Wildcats have won 14 league championships, participated in 11 NCAA tournaments, and reached the national title match in 2003. Numerous players have gone on to play professional soccer in both the NASL and MISL. Chico’s soccer team has a faithful following of students, alumni, and children and adults from the community.

Women’s Soccer–The women’s soccer program at Chico State is one of the most successful women’s sports on campus. In 2002 Head Coach Kim Sutton, who brought with her a tradition of winning, was hired as just the second coach in the program’s 30-year history. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2004 and 2005. The program has consistently maintained an impressive graduation rate, with several student-athletes achieving national recognition in the classroom as well as on the field.

Softball–The Chico State softball program, is committed to academic as well as athletic success. The 2002 team made its first trip to a national championship in more than 20 years and finished as one of the top four teams in the nation. The team returned to the NCAA tournament in 2005. Each year promising young athletes are brought in from both the high school and community college levels to compete for starting positions.

Track and Field–Chico State has a rich tradition in track and field. Head Coach Kirk Freitas is respected throughout the region as one of the top coaches, and Oliver Hanf was hired as the head women’s track and field coach in 1998. At the national level, Chico State has earned more than 70 All-American certificates since 1990, which go out to athletes who finish in the top six places for each event at the Division II National Championships.

Volleyball–The Chico State women’s volleyball team is dedicated to achieving high standards for excellence, both on the court and in the classroom. Head Coach Cody Hein, who’s had great success at the Division II level, was hired in 2002 and is working towards bringing the team to the top of the conference standings. With a steady flow of talented recruits and an experienced coach at the helm, the future promises to be bright.

Athletic Training–The Chico State athletic training program, under the direction of Head Athletic Trainer Scott Barker, ATC, offers a practical learning environment for graduate students aspiring to the field of athletic training. The experience includes assisting the certified athletic trainers with injury prevention, injury evaluation, and injury management. The students also receive valuable field experience by working with Chico State’s 13 intercollegiate athletic teams, including coverage of daily practice and home and away events. Athletic training is an allied health profession.

Recreational Sports

More than 7,000 students participate annually in Chico State Recreational Sports programs. Recreational Sports offers students the opportunity for fun, exercise, competition, social interaction, and stress release in an on-campus sports setting. This comprehensive recreational sports program includes activities for men, women, and coeducational groups. The program offers both competitive and recreational opportunities for students, staff, and faculty.

All Recreational Sports programs are free to all current Chico State students.

Recreational Sports programming includes open recreation, recreational clubs, special events, intramural sports, and sport clubs.

Open Recreation

Several hours are reserved on a daily basis in each of the Recreational Sports facilities for student walk-in use. Students can play basketball in Acker Gymnasium, use the cardiovascular equipment in the fitness room, tone up in the weight room, or try the climbing wall.

Recreational Clubs

Several student sports-related organizations use Recreational Sports facilities as a place to practice. These organizations focus on skill development and participation and welcome new student participation. These clubs include underwater hockey, wrestling, fencing, and badminton.

Special Events

Recreational Sports offers approximately 30 special events each year. Special events are one-day or weekend student sports activities. Some special events are typical sports activities such as a softball tournament, while some special events are more unusual, such as innertube water polo. Some of the more popular special events include night golf, three-on-three basketball, and the annual whiffleball tournament.

Intramural Sports

Recreational Sports runs several student sport leagues each semester. Students can enter their own team or join a team as a free agent. Leagues are divided into different skill and gender divisions. Teams play once a week for five weeks at a regular day and time. Most leagues have a two-week, single elimination post season tournament. Recreational Sports provides sports officials for many leagues, while others are self-officiated. Intramural Sports include flag football, spring and fall basketball, spring and fall volleyball, indoor and outdoor soccer, arena football, tennis, softball, and ultimate frisbee.

Sport Clubs

Sport Clubs are student-organized, student-run sports teams. The purpose of these groups is to allow members to compete at a high level of competition. Sport Clubs represent the University in their respective leagues as they compete against other university teams. Many Chico State sport clubs are nationally ranked and regularly compete at the national level. In addition to involvement in the sport, these teams provide excellent opportunities for student leadership. Sport Club teams receive partial funding from the University. Teams raise the remainder of their annual budgets through fundraising and team dues. Sport Club teams include men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s rugby, women’s rugby, inline hockey, men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball, men’s ultimate frisbee, women’s ultimate frisbee, field hockey, men’s water polo, women’s water polo, cycling, water skiing, and men’s soccer.

Job Opportunities

Recreational Sports offers numerous on-campus employment opportunities each semester, employing approximately 50–60 students at any given time. Job opportunities include sports officials for all officiated intramural sports, sport supervisors for all intramural sports, facility supervisors for all open recreation activities, lifeguards for all pool programming, and climbing wall staff for instructing students on climbing wall techniques and safety.