Bolstered by a 2000-'01 athletic year that saw 14 of its teams advance to NCAA Championship competition and 11 of them place in the top 10, UC Davis has won the Sears Directors' Cup for the fourth time in six years at the Division II level. The honor was announced earlier this month by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
The award is presented each year to the most successful athletic programs at each of the NCAA Division I, II and III levels, as well as the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics. Points are awarded to schools whose teams advance to NCAA or NAIA Championship play.
The Aggies, who have not finished lower than second place in the six-year history of the award at the Division II level, have now twice won the award two consecutive years. UC Davis, which accomplished the feat in 1996 and 1997, was presented with its 2001 award by the athletic directors associations at its national convention in Salt Lake City.
Stanford won for the seventh consecutive year at Division I, Williams College of Massachusetts captured its fifth award at Division III, and Simon Fraser of British Columbia won the national award for NAIA for the fifth straight year.
The Sears Directors' Cup program, which awards Waterford Crystal trophies to each winner, is presented by the athletic directors association and Sears, Roebuck and Co. Points are awarded in 14 sports at the Division II level. UC Davis, which led the Division II field by just 10 points after the winter season, finished with 703 points, well ahead of North Dakota, which scored 539. Cal State Bakersfield was third with 536 points.
"We are once again proud to be recognized for our athletic achievements with so many outstanding institutions," Director of Athletics Greg Warzecka said. "It recognizes an oustanding athletic year."
A total of 213 institutions scored points in this year's competition.
"I can't think of a better testament to the special nature of UC Davis Athletics than our repeated Sears Directors' Cup recognition," UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef said. "It again confirms that our program emphasizes the right things - excellence in competition and in the classroom, and a breadth of opportunities for both women and men."
UC Davis scored 226 points and trailed Western State of Colorado by four points after a fall season in which the Aggies finished third nationally in women's cross country, tied for third in football and placed fifth in men's cross country. Bolstered by fourth-place winter NCAA showings from women's indoor track and field and men's swimming and diving, UC Davis entered the spring with 481 points, 10 more than Western State.
The Aggies, however, closed with a strong spring season. Women's tennis tied for fifth at the NCAA Finals, golf placed eighth, men's outdoor track was third and women's track finished fourth.
"I think it's a testament to the diversity of our program with so many different sports contributing to the success," Aggie football coach Bob Biggs said.
As part of the program, Sears and the directors association will award a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship to a UC Davis student who works within the athletic department in a support role, including student managers, trainers, band members, cheerleaders and other assistants.
Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, email@example.com