Santa Clara University supports a broad intercollegiate athletics program and is a Division I member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a founding member of the West Coast Conference (WCC). With 20 intercollegiate sports, Santa Clara fields men’s teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, track and field, golf, rowing, soccer, tennis, and water polo. The women compete in basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, track and field, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and water polo.
Santa Clara women’s soccer team is perennially among the nation’s elite. On the heels of winning the 2020 National Championship and following up as the 2021 National Championship Semifinalist, the Broncos repeated as WCC Champions in 2022, their third-straight conference championship title and 13th overall. Under the direction of head coach Jerry Smith, women’s soccer has appeared in 32 NCAA Tournaments, 12 College Cups, and won two National Championships (2001, 2020), becoming just the seventh program with two or more crowns. The Broncos’ 32 NCAA Tournament appearances are the third-most all-time in NCAA Division I, and their 12 trips to the College Cup is tied for the second-most all-time behind only North Carolina. Julie (Johnston) Ertz, Brandi Chastain, Aly Wagner, Leslie Osborne and Danielle Slaton are among the many former Santa Clara University players who have gone on to win medals at the Olympics and/or World Cup.
Men’s basketball has also achieved national success, having been to 11 NCAA Tournaments, including the 1952 Final Four, and seven other postseason appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Led by head coach Herb Sendek, the sixth most winning coach in program history, and one of just three active men’s basketball coaches in the WCC with 500 career victories, the Broncos are coming off one of their best seasons of recent history with a third-place finish in the WCC and a second-consecutive postseason appearance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). he Broncos posted 23 regular-season victories, their most since 1968-69, giving Santa Clara their third 20-win campaign in the last four seasons (which includes the Covid-shortened 2020-21 season). Sophomore guard Brandin Podziemski was named WCC Co-Player of the Year as well as Newcomer of the Year, and is looking to be the second-straight Bronco selected in the NBA Draft following Jalen Williams. Williams was selected 12th overall in the 2022 draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder to become the Broncos’ first NBA draft pick since 1996, when Steve Nash was also selected in the first round. Santa Clara went to three NCAA tournaments during Nash’s four years on the Mission campus, including an upset of second-seeded Arizona in 1993. Nash would go on to become a two-time NBA MVP and is among the most decorated players in NBA history. Other former players include NBA champion Kurt Rambis and fourth-overall NBA draft pick, Ken Sears.
Men’s soccer has been to 21 NCAA Tournaments, five College Cups and took home a national title in 1989 when current head coach, Cameron Rast, was a star on the team.
Volleyball also competes among the nation’s best having been to the NCAA Tournament 16 times, including 13 in the last 22 seasons with the 2005 squad making it to the Final Four.
The women’s basketball program has made 12 postseason appearances, including a trip to the 2016 National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The current Head Coach, Bill Carr led the 2020-21 squad to the semifinals of the WCC Tournament for the first time since 2016. Carr has more than 250 career wins as a college head coach and collected a pair of league coach of the year honors.
Not to be outdone, Bronco baseball has been to 11 NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the 1962 College World Series title game. The team featured eight future major league players, including three who went straight to the major leagues. Overall, there have been 170 Broncos selected in the MLB draft. One of the most famous Santa Clara baseball players, Randy Winn, started as Nash’s backup as point guard on the basketball team before concentrating on the diamond. Winn played in 13 MLB seasons, including five for the San Francisco Giants.
Men’s track and field had its first student athlete in program history to reach the national championship, when Zach Litoff ran in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2021 NCAA meet.
Santa Clara Athletics also supports the Ruff Riders, the official student fan club, and spirit groups, which include the dance team, pep band, and Bucky the Bronco.
The Broncos are fortunate to play in some of the best facilities on the West Coast:
- Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Athletic Excellence Center opened in 2020. The $37 million, 50,000-square-foot building provides dedicated space for student athletes to work out, train, practice, eat, and study together.
- The all-encompassing training center includes Stevens Academic Center, Bronco Bench Foundation Sports Performance Center, John Filizetti & Coach McPherson Sports Medicine Center, John and Timi Sobrato Gymnasium (Dick Davey Court), Rambis Family Gymnasium (Carroll Williams Court), and William J. and Pamela G. Connolly Fuel Station.
- The Leavey Center is home to men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball as well as Santa Clara Athletics staff and coaches.
- Stevens Stadium-Buck Shaw Field, home to men’s and women’s soccer, was refurbished in 2015. The adjoining Stevens Soccer Training Center is a stylish 7,000-square foot facility that features all the necessary amenities for both programs.
- Stephen Schott Stadium, home to baseball, contains an indoor hitting facility and 5,000-square-foot clubhouse, and recently underwent renovation to add in a state-of-the-art turf playing surface
- Santa Clara Softball Stadium debuted in 2016 and contains an indoor hitting facility.
- Sullivan Aquatic Center is home to men’s and women’s water polo and a shared facility with campus recreation.
- Degheri Tennis Center, home to men’s and women’s tennis and a shared facility with campus recreation features six lighted tennis courts.