Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 25, 2010

Stanford is No. 1 in nation again

Stanford University has the best intercollegiate athletics program in the nation. Again. To absolutely no one's surprise, that became official once again on Thursday when Stanford claimed its unprecedented 16th consecutive Learfield Sports Directors' Cup.

The award that is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors of America (NACDA), Learfield Sports and USA Today to the top intercollegiate athletic program in the nation.

Stanford finished with 1,508.50 points, outdistancing Florida (1,237.25) and Virginia (1,189.25) for the title.

After claiming national championships in the sports of men's volleyball, women's tennis and women's lightweight crew-varsity eight, Stanford has won at least one NCAA team title for 34 consecutive years, an ongoing record. Six other Stanford teams -- women's soccer, women's basketball, women's swimming, men's gymnastics, women's water polo and synchronized swimming -- placed second in national championship competition.

Twenty of Stanford's 35 intercollegiate programs finished their respective seasons ranked in the top-10 nationally, while nine teams were ranked first in the nation at some point during the year.

In addition, three Stanford student-athletes – Kelley O'Hara (women's soccer), Kawika Shoji (men's volleyball) and Julia Smit (women's swimming and diving) – were named national players of the year in their respective sports.

Three Stanford coaches -- Paul Ratcliffe (women's soccer), John Kosty (men's volleyball) and Al Acosta (women's lightweight rowing) -- were named national coaches of the year, while eight others earned conference/region coach of the year honors.

"Winning the Directors' Cup for 16 consecutive years is a testament to many generations of excellent student-athletes and some of the top coaches in the nation who have been part of the fabric of Stanford Athletics for many years," said Bob Bowlsby, Stanford's Director of Athletics. "It's an award that everyone associated with Stanford Athletics is very proud of and one that we won't give up easily."

The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors of America (NACDA) and the USA Today in 1993-94 in an effort to honor universities that strive for success in all of their sports programs. The program was expanded in 1995-96 to include Division II, III and the NAIA. Each institution is awarded points based on an institutions' finish in 20 sports — 10 each for men and women.

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