DENVER (denverpioneers.com) – The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation has claimed the Learfield Sports DI-AAA Directors' Cup for the sixth straight year and the 10th time in the last 11 years, clinching a finish ahead of all non-football schools in the 2017-18 overall Division I standings.
With softball, men's and women's outdoor track and field and baseball still left to be counted, Denver is currently 39th in the overall Division I Directors' Cup standings, ranking second among non-FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools (Princeton) and ranking ahead of 28 of the 65 Power 5 conference schools with the four sports left to count. Denver has finished second among non-Power 5 schools three times (2007-08, 2013-14, 2016-17).
"I congratulate former Vice Chancellor Peg Bradley-Doppes and the staff and student-athletes on this tremendous accomplishment" Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Karlton Creech said. "Peg obviously built a successful athletic department in her tenure here, doing things the right way both on and off the field, and deserves this honor for the 10th time in her career. Our student-athletes and tremendous collection of coaches continue to set the bar higher and higher for our future teams year after year. Winning the DI-AAA Directors' Cup will continue to be a priority, and we won't be complacent as we continue to try to build on our overall national ranking. To be on pace for a top-50 national finish for the fourth time in the last five years is a tremendous accomplishment for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and something that our loyal supporters of Denver Athletics should be most proud of. I look forward to keeping the ball rolling as we prepare for the 2018-19 season to begin in August."
Denver is currently 41 spots in the overall standings and 310.75 points ahead of Wichita State for the top DI-AAA spot in the country. Overall, 11 of Denver's 16 counting sports scored points in 2017-18.
The Pioneer ski team claimed its 24th National Championship, and Denver's 33rd overall. With three National Championships still to be decided, Denver is one of five athletic departments in the country to win at least one National Championship in each of the last five years, joining Stanford, Penn State, Oklahoma and Florida on that list (Skiing: 2014, 2016, 2018 | Hockey: 2017 | Men's Lacrosse: 2015).
Denver finished the fall 114th in the overall standings and in a tie for 11th in the I-AAA standings, earning a combined 50 points from women's soccer's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013 and volleyball's fourth-consecutive bid to the national tournament after both programs' 2017 Summit League Tournament titles.
The Crimson and Gold jumped 74 spots in the winter to 40th and took control of the I-AAA standings, ballooning out to a 194 point lead in that category. Denver combined for 314.25 points across five sports during the winter season. DU's ski program led the way in the winter with its perfect 100 points for a 24th national title. The Pioneers' hockey program earned 60 points as national quarterfinalists in head coach Jim Montgomery's final season behind the DU bench. Denver gymnastics earned 59.25 points thanks to a third-place finish at the NCAA Regionals and Lynnzee Brown's Nationals appearance, giving Denver at least one participant at the NCAA Championships in each of the last 19 years. The Crimson and Gold's swimming programs combined for the remaining 95 points. DU's women finished 31st (43 points) behind two All-American individual medley performances from Bailey Andison, while the men finished 22nd (52) at the 2018 NCAA Championships, the program's best finish since 1961-62 (16th) and the program's fifth best finish in its history.
Thursday's update to the Directors' Cup Standings moved Denver into 39th overall. DU scored in four spring sports on Thursday, highlighted by men's lacrosse's seventh NCAA Quarterfinal appearance (60 points) in the last eight years and women's lacrosse's (53 points) third appearance in the NCAA Second Round in three tries. The Pioneer women's golf program finished 12th at NCAA Regionals to earn 27 points, women's tennis posted 25 points after its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in its Division I history.
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports – 10 women's and 10 men's. Denver only counts 16 sports towards the standings every year.
I-AAA Directors' Cup Champions
2018 – Denver (39 – 529.25)*
2017 – Denver (35 – 634.25)
2016 – Denver (52 – 433.00)
2015 – Denver (49 – 508.75)
2014 – Denver (43 – 519.25)
2013 – Denver (55 – 425.50)
2012 – Pepperdine (Denver – 85 – 227.50)
2011 – Denver (54 – 384.50)
2010 – Denver (65 – 306.80)
2009 – Denver (54 – 396.50)
2008 – Denver (47 – 434.25)
*2018 National Rankings will be final June 29
Denver's National Rankings Prior to 2008
2007 – 74 – 267.25
2006 – Not in top-100
2005 – 68 – 250.50
2004 – 59 – 333.75
2003 – 75 – 214.75
2002 – 75 – 241.00
2001 – 87 – 180.00
2000 – Not in top-100
1999 – 74 – 110.00