Timeline of SFU Athletics

1965: SFU appoints Lorne Davies, a former assistant football coach with the UBC Thunderbirds and BC Lions, as the university’s first Athletic Director and football head coach. The “Clan”, or “Clansmen”, immediately became the first Canadian university to offer athletic scholarships and choose to play American rules football.


1966 (March 1): SFU and UBC play to a 0–0 tie in their first ever “Broomball” game, which was held during the intermission of a WHL Vancouver Canucks game.


1967 (October 16): SFU plays their first football game against crosstown rival UBC in the inaugural “Shrum Bowl” Classic. The massive event was played in front of a crowd of almost 15,000 fans at Empire Stadium and saw the underdog Clansmen trounce the T-Birds 32–13.


1968 (May 28): SFU’s Athletics department is officially accepted as the second ever Canadian member of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). The move allowed SFU athletes to become eligible for all-American honours and US national rankings.


1969 (September): The cricket club wins the BC 4th Division championship after finishing their season with 14 wins, three losses, and one draw. The win saw them promoted to Division 3 and by 1991 the club had a team competing in division 2.


1970 (November 21): The Clan football team defeats the University of Puget Sound and close out their season with eight wins and no losses, the only undefeated campaign in the team’s history. 23 of the members of that team were drafted into the CFL.


1971 (November 13): The Clan football team blowout the T-Birds 42–0 in the second straight incredibly lopsided Shrum Bowl. The severity of the loss causes UBC to cancel future installments of the game until 1978. This marked the first of many hiatuses for the Bowl, which has never reached the heights of its first installment.


1972 (March): The Men’s Swimming and Diving team win their first NAIA championship in Marshall, Minnesota. It was the first of nine consecutive championships for the Clan, who remain the most decorated NAIA Swim Team of all time with 17 total team championships and 260 individual championships.


1973 (March): The hockey club win the Pacific Intercollegiate League after going 8–2–2, which topped the records of the league’s three other teams Alaska Methodist University, the University of Alaska, and Gonzaga University.


1975 (May 17): The Clansmen Rugby team make history by becoming the only BC Division 2 team to defeat a touring English side after coming back from a 0–6 deficit to beat New Brighton by a score of 11–6.


1976 (July 19): In the first Olympic Games to include women’s basketball, the starting lineup for the Canadian team includes two Clan players: Bev Bland and Sheila Strike.


1976 (November 27): The men’s soccer team win their first ever NAIA National title by defeating the Rockhurst College Hawks 1–0 at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California. The victory made good on inaugural chancellor Gordon Shrum’s 1965 declaration that “One day, the Clansmen will play in the Rose Bowl,” although it was obviously not exactly what he meant.


1977 (January 29): Clan High Jumper Debbie Brill takes first place at the Portland Indoor Track and Field Meet with a leap of 5’11”, beating out U.S. Olympian Joni Huntley.


1978 (May 26): After losing air pressure and having to rapidly descend down 10,000 feet on the plane ride to the NAIA national men’s track and field championships in Abilene, Texas, freshman Harold Willers wins the hammer throw with a 55.55 m toss. He would dominate the event for the next three years.


1981 (February 14): Basketball star Jay Triano becomes the first Clan athlete to have his jersey number retired by SFU. His number 12 was honoured at a time in which he held 11 school records including most career points (2,616) and most points in a single season (771).


1981 (March): The Women’s Swimming and Diving team wins the inaugural NAIA championship for women. They would repeat the following year and went on to win the competition 11 times, the most of any school.


1982 (January 22): Mike Jackel scores 47 points in a 94–88 loss to the University of Alaska Nanooks, and breaks the Clansman record for individual scoring performance previously held by Jay Triano.


1983 (November 20): The Women’s Cross Country team win the NAIA national title in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The team was led by a record-setting time for Cindy Grant and the victory would be the women squad’s first of 10 NAIA championships.


1983 (November): The men’s soccer team win the NAIA championship for the second straight year against Midwestern State at their home stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas.


1985 (March 2): Believing it to be their last meet due to budget cuts, the Women’s swimming team wins the national championship in the last race. The program is greatly reduced in size the following year, but not completely eliminated.


1987 (March): Clan hoopster Bob Hieltjes is honoured for the third straight year as an NAIA District I All-Star after the team’s then-winningest season, in which they went 24–11 overall.


1988 (March 5): The men’s wrestling team win their first ever NAIA national championship in Tacoma, Washington 11 years after they began at the competition. The unlikely victors upset four-time defending champion and number one ranked Central State Oklahoma.


1988 (November 18): SFU runner Leah Pells wins the NAIA Cross Country title winning the race in 16 minutes 59 seconds, a full 33 seconds ahead of the runner-up.


1989 (February 27): Women’s basketball freshman Michelle Hendry is named NAIA District I Player of the Year after the Clan secure their first ever playoff berth. She would repeat the feat in every season of her collegiate career.


1990 (May 16): SFU’s Varsity Golf team qualify for the NAIA national championship for the first time ever after dramatically winning District I by a single point (914 to 915) over St. Martin’s College of Lacey, Washington.


1993 (March 6): Justin Abdou wins his fourth straight NAIA National Championship, becoming only the fourth wrestler in NAIA history to have accomplished this feat as the Clan win their second nation wrestling title.


1996 (November 30): The women’s soccer team win their first NAIA championship in what was at the time the longest ever national title game. The Clan beat the University of Mobile Alaska 3–2, scoring the winning goal in the 160th minute of play.


1997 (February 1): At the University of Victoria’s annual “Beat the Beast” rowing ergometer competition, SFU fields two National Champions in the men’s and women’s Novice Heavyweight categories.


1997 (September): SFU’s field lacrosse team end their second season by defeating the Whitman College Missionaries in an overtime thriller to win the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League championship. It was their first of five straight titles, and the team has since added victories in ‘03, ‘08, ‘09, and ‘14 as well.


1998 (October 27): Despite being accepted as provisional members to the PacWest conference for 97/98 season, the SFU Clan are denied membership into the NCAA Division II. Considering that much of SFU’s NAIA competition had moved to that league, this is trouble. . .


1999 (March 20): The women’s basketball team advance to the finals at the NAIA tournament for the first time following a decade as an elite squad under coach Allison McNeill. The Clan unfortunately lost to South Nazarene in the finals that year, and again in 2000.


1999 (May 28): The softball team win the NAIA championship with a 7–3 win over Oklahoma City in a game held in Jupiter, Florida. They would secure three more titles in 2003, 2005, and 2010.


2000 (February 24): SFU agrees to a partial move to Canada’s university athletic association: the CIAU. The NAIA was rapidly losing teams, at the time, and SFU was unable to join the NCAA. The Clan therefore made a gradual switch to Canada with the majority of their teams leaving the NAIA to compete in the CIAU by 2002.


2000 (November 2): The women’s volleyball team made the playoffs for the first time in their history by defeating Northwest Nazarene to advance to the regional championships.


2001 (June 12): SFU wins their fifth consecutive Sears Directors’ Cup, the annual award presented to the best overall athletics institution in the NAIA. This year they were spurred to victory by three national championships, including women’s soccer and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.


2002 (March 10): The women’s basketball team cap off a 35–0 perfect season by winning their first CIS national championship in a 66–51 defeat of Laval. Their time in the Canadian league was quite fruitful, winning five championships in 10 years.


2003 (March 10): The women’s wrestling team win the CIS championship in their inaugural year. With follow-up victories in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010, and men’s title in 2009 and 2010, 2007 was the only CIS year without a Clan wrestling title.


2003 (November 8): In only their second season playing Canadian football, the football team wins the Hardy Cup as the champions of the league’s Western conference. It would be their highest achievement in that league.


2005 (March 13): The women’s basketball team win their second Bronze Baby as CIS champs in an undefeated 38–0 season. Dani Langford was named tournament MVP and her father, coach Bruce Langford, was later honoured as the CIS Coach of the Year.


2009 (July 10): SFU is approved as the first non-American school in the NCAA Division II and return to their roots playing primarily American schools and American rules football. After two seasons they became a full NCAA member in September 2012.


2010 (March 6): SFU senior Arjan Bhullar wins his second back-to-back 285lb NAIA wrestling championship a week after winning the CIS title, becoming the first athlete to have ever held a title in both in the same year. As a team, both men and women’s wrestling were crowned CIS champs.


2010 (November 6): The men’s soccer team become the first Canadian team to win an NCAA title after defeating St. Martin’s University 2–0 for their first GNAC conference championship. It was their first of 4 straight GNAC titles.


2011 (September 3): The Football team wins its first ever game in the NCAA, a 36–28 victory over Pacific University.


2012 (November 29): The men’s soccer Clan fall 3–1 to Michigan’s Saginaw Valley State College in their first trip to the NCAA Division 2 Final Four semifinals. They came back the next year, but were once again unable to advance to the championship match.

2015 (March 3): Women’s basketball star Erin Chambers is named GNAC player of the year shortly after breaking the conference’s all-time record for career points.