OGDEN -- The Big Sky Conference is celebrating a couple of big anniversaries with a big celebration.
The league will mark its 50th anniversary of existence and 25 years of women's sports with a year-long commemoration of its top athletes and moments, conference officials announced recently.
Weber State, which became a Division I school in 1962, became a charter member of the Big Sky Conference the following year when the league was formed on July1, 1963.
WSU is one of four charter members remaining in the league along with Montana, Montana State and Idaho State.
Another charter member, Idaho, will rejoin the conference in 2014 in all sports except football, making Gonzaga the lone charter member no longer affiliated with the league.
The Big Sky celebrates its official 50th birthday on July 1; women's sports were added in 1988 when the conference combined with the former Mountain West Conference, which sponsored women's sports at the same schools from 1982-88.
With 50 seasons in the books for the men and 25 for the women, the Big Sky Conference will honor the top 50 male athletes and top 25 female athletes along with great teams and moments in conference history.
"We've been gearing up for this celebration for several years,'' Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton said in a statement announcing the anniversary events. "Remembering and honoring our past student-athletes, teams, record-breaking performances and the coaches and administrators who guided them all along the way will be a lot of fun.
"We've put together a top-notch group of current and former administrators, coaches, and media to provide input to the ballots, and help us select the honorees. We also anticipate tremendous interaction from fans and alumni during the interactive phase."
The Big Sky Conference added Southern Utah and North Dakota last year to grow to 11 full member schools (Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, North Dakota, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, SUU and Weber State) and has two football-only affiliates (Cal Poly, UC Davis).
Gonzaga, Nevada, Boise State and Cal State Northridge -- and technically Idaho, though it will officially return on July 1, 2014 -- are alumni of the conference.
Fullerton is the league's fifth and longest-serving commissioner, having completed his 18th season.
The Big Sky Conference been headquartered in Ogden since 1996.