When he interviewed to become its executive director, Marco Azurdia was full of ideas for improving the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
One of those ideas was improving the NWAACC's cumbersome name.
After almost three years in charge of the organization that oversees sports for community colleges in the Pacific Northwest, Azurdia announced on Wednesday that the conference has changed its name to the Northwest Athletic Conference.
"When I interviewed for the job, I had talked about branding and looking at that strategy as a whole," Azurdia said. Shortening the name "had been on my mind from Day 1."
The new name is three words instead of six. The acronym will be NWAC, which Azurdia noted is still pronounced "En-Wack."
Along with the new name comes a new blue and silver logo, and a new website address: www.nwacsports.org. The N in the logo has four stars, representing the four regions of the conference.
Azurdia, who works out of the conference's office on the Clark College campus in Vancouver, said the change was driven by a desire to make the conference more recognizable as a brand.
The secondary logo, a stand alone letter N, can easily be placed on apparel and signs and surfaces such as gym floors, Azurdia noted.
Azurdia said he does not have a deadline for all NWAC schools to incorporate the new design.
"We will be flexible with schools making the transition because all of our schools have budget issues," Azurdia said.
For example, programs that have uniforms that include the old logo will be allowed to use those until it's time to replace the uniforms.
With North Idaho College joining the NWAC, the conference now has 36 members including Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia. North Idaho College, which was a member of the Scenic West Athletic Conference, will join the NWAC for soccer, golf and softball this fall and for all other sports in the 2015-16 school year.
"The conference is getting much bigger than just Oregon and Washington," Azurdia said.
Organized community college sports in Washington dates to 1946, when Clark College was a charter member of the Washington State Junior College Athletic Conference. The NWAACC name was established in 1970, when Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham left Oregon's league to join the Washington conference. The Oregon Community College Athletic Association merged with the NWAACC in 1983.