REDDING, Calif.—Wrapping up its first full season, Simpson University’s bass fishing team has been named FLW’s Western Conference School of the Year.
The team, which was ranked No. 1 among California college fishing teams after its inaugural season in 2019, is currently the nation’s top West Coast college team, listed at No. 59 in the nation (as of Nov. 19) in the School of the Year standings from Bass Pro Shops.
While some West Coast teams were not able to compete this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Simpson’s bass team was allowed to continue, Coach Alex Thiemann said.
“The university realized how safe our sport is – always distanced, and it takes place outdoors,” he said. “We were happy to be able to participate in events.”
The team is looking forward to fishing more events and competing against larger fields of anglers, Thiemann said.
“Starting in fall 2021, we are planning to compete in more East Coast events,” he said. “This will allow us to earn more points in national School of the Year rankings.”
Team members will compete in January in the Wild West Tournament and Major League Fishing (MLF) Tournament, both on Lake Shasta. Two teams have qualified to compete in early March in the MLF (formerly FLW) College Championship in Grand Lake, Okla.
The team hosted its first annual fundraising tournament on Lake Shasta on Dec. 12, under the direction of Rick Stone of Phil’s Propellers Team Tournaments. Fifty-four boats participated, and the event raised $3,500.
“It could not have been better,” Thiemann said. In addition, sponsors donated $5,000 worth of prizes for a drawing.
Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 31 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu.