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Cal State Long Beach will enter the DI-AA playoffs this coming weekend after beating Claremont Colleges 28-11 April 14 to win the Pacific Mountain Conference.

It’s a moment to be proud of for Long Beach State, going from a team that struggled in DII to being in the DI top 16.

In 2005 the program was 6-1 in Southern California’s DI college league. As year later they dropped to 3-4-1, and thus started a five-year streak of posting a losing record in league play. After going 3-6 in 2—7 they dropped to DII, and posted records of 3-6, 1-6, and 1-6.

But something happened during that time.

“We’ve got a class of players who were in those tough early games,” said Head Coach Kyle Quinn. “We had some good individuals, but over time we’ve changed the culture and created a good team, a good collection of players.”

In 2011 they finished 6-1-1 in DII, and duplicated that record in 2012, prompting a move up to DI. After five seasons away from DI, they were back, and with a different mindset.

Quinn said the team didn’t really play particularly worse during the difficult years, but more “we stood pat and everyone else got better. We went into games expecting to be good, and you can’t just show up and win. But we learned a lot. We have a great group of coaches, we have players who have been through tough experiences and have matured, and now we’re looking at this and feeling we can win it.”