UI places 45th in Learfield Sports Directors' Cup
June 29, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has scored a school-record number of points in the annual Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, a national program that honors institutions offering broad-based intercollegiate athletics programs that achieve at the highest level competitively, the UI Athletics Department announced today.
Ten different UI teams accumulated a record total of 474.30 points as a result of their participation in postseason competition during the 2008-09 athletics year. Iowa's point total resulted in the Hawkeyes finishing in 45th place in the Directors' Cup standings for the NCAA Division I category that includes 271 participating institutions.
The UI's previous best point total was 467.75 in 2004-05.
The Hawkeyes were paced by Iowa's national championship in wrestling, which accounted for 100 of the UI's point total. Iowa's third-place finish in the national championship for field hockey resulted in 83 points ; the 17th-place finish by the UI men's golf team in its national championship added 57 points; and the Hawkeyes' top 20 finish in the final college football polls netted 54 points.
Iowa also received points for its performances in women's indoor track and field (46.5 points), women's gymnastics (38.8), women's cross country (26), softball (25), women's basketball (25), and men's gymnastics (19).
Rules for the Directors' Cup allow for postseason achievements by up to 10 men's teams and 10 women's teams to be included in an institution's total team score.
2008-09 marked the first year in the Directors' Cup eight-year history that the men's golf program at the UI contributed to the Hawkeyes' point total.
"I didn't expect it this quickly," Mark Hankins, Iowa's head men's golf coach, said earlier this spring when asked about his team's climb from a ranking of 152nd nationally in 2008 to a 17th place finish at this year's national championship. "I really believed that we could turn it around. I believed we were going to get the right kind of players and develop the players that were here. We needed to get the program rolling a little bit again.
"For me, this season was a test in doing what I say. I talk about staying in the present moment and taking one shot at a time. We did that. At NCAA's, we fought until the very end and picked up three spots on the final day. I'm really proud of our effort-level and discipline, especially during our final four tournaments. We grew as a team. We talked about trust a lot and we had to earn that from each other."
Iowa's 45th place was a five-position improvement from last year's finish of 50th (398 points) and the third consecutive year of improvement (Iowa finished 68th in 2006-07 with 284 points).
"Our mission as a department each year is two-fold: Excel academically and compete for championships. Both help to accomplish our over-arching goal: To prepare our student-athletes to assume leadership positions when they leave the UI," said Gary Barta, the UI's director of athletics. "We have several ways to measure academic success and have been doing extremely well compared to our peers nationally in that area of emphasis. The Directors' Cup offers our staff and our fans an opportunity to assess our competitive success as a program that offers 24 different sports programs against our peers nationally.
"I join our fans in congratulating our coaches and student-athletes for the success we've enjoyed this year and the progress we've made over the last three years. It's their hard work and dedication that has put us in the position we are today where, again but on a different area of emphasis, we compare very favorably to our peers. And, of course, it goes without saying that our goal is to do better next year."