Impressive spring championship showings in softball and men’s track and field boosted Tennessee to a best-ever, seventh-place finish in the U.S. Sports Academy Director’s Cup.
Stanford led the way with 1,429 points, followed by UCLA, North Carolina, Michigan, Southern California and Florida in the first six. Tennessee tallied 1,045.75 points, with Texas, California and Arizona State rounding out the top 10.
“It has been a goal of ours to have both the men’s and women’s athletics programs ranked in the top 10 nationally,” said Joan Cronan, UT women’s athletics director. “This year’s final ranking is a tribute to the athletes, coaches and administration who have collectively worked so hard to take their programs to this level.”
Tennessee’s best previous finish was an eighth-place showing in 2004-05.
“We are committed to providing our student-athletes and coaches with championship opportunities and our fans with championship performances,” said Mike Hamilton, UT men’s athletics director. “This year’s finish is a credit to the dedication of our student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans. The best is yet to come.”
Nineteen of UT’s 20 varsity sports advanced to postseason play, with the Lady Vols women’s basketball team topping the chart after claiming the program’s seventh national championship in April.
Softball finished second for its best finish in program history, while women’s indoor track and field was third, rowing was ninth and the women’s swimming and diving squad placed 10th. The men’s outdoor track and field team battled to fourth and the indoor squad tied for 10th to add to the point total.
UT also had top-20 finishes in men’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf and men’s swimming and diving.
Other SEC schools in the top 25 were Georgia (12th), LSU (17th) and Auburn (19th).
Developed jointly by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today newspaper, the Director’s Cup standings combine points awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women’s and 10 men’s. The U.S. Sports Academy, based in Daphne, Ala., is the program’s sponsor.