The CWU athletics program dates back to 1893 with the introduction of a Physical Culture class at the Washington State Normal School (WSNS) and with the first women’s basketball game played in 1895. Throughout the 1890s and early 1900s, the WSNS men’s and women’s basketball teams played local and regional high schools. In 1909 the Normal School hired a part-time athletics coach to manage the growing number of sports teams. Later that same year, the men’s basketball team played Bellingham Normal School (Western Washington University), making it the first inter-collegiate sporting event in the school’s history. The athletics program served as part of the Department of Health and Physical Education until 1983, when it became its own independent department.