With its roots established in 1963, the Big Sky Conference began with six charter members; the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Gonzaga University, the University of Montana, Montana State University and Weber State University. On July 1, 1970, the league experienced its first expansion, adding Boise State University and Northern Arizona University to the fold to create an eight-member league. On July 1, 1979, charter-member Gonzaga left the league and was replaced by the University of Nevada. In 1987, Eastern Washington was admitted to the league to create the first version of a nine-member Big Sky Conference. The University of Nevada's departure in 1992 moved the league to eight members until July 1, 1996 when Boise State and Idaho left, but the addition of Cal State Northridge, Portland State and Sacramento State moved the league into a nine-member group for the second time. Beginning in 2001-2002, the composition has changed yet again, as Cal State Northridge exits and the league is back to eight members. The name BIG SKY originated in a novel written in 1947 by the late A.B. (Bud) Guthrie of Great Falls, Mont., entitled The Big Sky. Jack Hollowell, former Montana Advertising Director, promoted the Big Sky theme for the Treasure State, and Harry Missildine of the Spokane Spokesman-Review called for the newly formed league to be named "The Big Sky Conference" in his column dated Feb. 20, 1963. Five days later, on Feb. 25, the name Big Sky was adopted by the six presidents of the newly formed league.
Last update:July 23, 2013 at 16:17:23 UTC