The UT Tyler softball program has qualified for the College World Series two of the last four years.

In 2014, the Patriots would have a short trip if they earn a berth.

The University of Texas at Tyler and the City of Tyler have been selected to host the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Championships, the NCAA announced Thursday.

In addition to being the first time the Rose City has hosted an NCAA national championship, the event marks the first time the NCAA will play the Division III Softball Championship in the Southwest; and also the first time an American Southwest Conference School has hosted a national championship.

The double-elimination tournament will feature eight regional tournament champions and be held May 22-26, 2014. Activities surrounding the tournament will include the NFCA All-America banquet, community service activities and a program for youth softball teams.

“We are extremely pleased that the NCAA has chosen Tyler to serve as host for the national championship,” said Peyton Low, UT Tyler assistant athletic director, who will serve as tournament director. “Coach Mike Reed has brought UT Tyler softball to national prominence, and our successful record of hosting previous NCAA events, along with all the benefits the city offers, was essential in the Championships Committee selecting Tyler.”

UT Tyler has previously served as host for several NCAA postseason events, including the 2008, 2011 and 2012 softball regional tournaments, and men’s soccer first-round competition in 2008 and 2011.

“On behalf of the City of Tyler, SPORTyler and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we are thrilled and honored to partner with The University of Texas at Tyler for this national championship,” Cindy Smoak, vice president of SPORTyler, said. “We look forward to welcoming our visitors to the city of Tyler and we know they will experience an excellent and memorable tournament.”

Tyler has experience hosting major sporting events, including several National Junior College Athletic Association national tournaments in soccer, tennis, baseball and women’s basketball, in addition to the NCAA playoffs at UT Tyler.

“This announcement is the accumulation of months of work,” said Reed, who serves on the NCAA Division III Softball Committee. “I want to thank Peyton Low for his work in bringing this to Tyler, as well as Cindy Smoak and SPORTyler.”

Reed’s Patriots participated in the 2009 College World Series in Montclair, N.J.; and 2011 in Salem, Va. UT Tyler finished fifth in 2009 and third in 2011.

The tournament has been held in Salem the last two years and was in Eau Claire, Wis., in 2010. The 2013 tournament is scheduled for May 17-21 in Eau Claire.

Along with Tyler, the NCAA named 72 other sites to serve as hosts for championships from 2013 through 2015. Representing 18 sports, this is the largest single announcement of sites ever done by the NCAA.

Sites were selected for 54 of the 89 championships across all three divisions. The sites represent 30 states, including nine in the state of North Carolina across five cities. The state of Ohio is next with seven sites, while Florida and Texas were awarded five sites each. More than 200 bids were received from 36 states.

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