The University of Virginia’s second consecutive NCAA men’s tennis championship helped the Cavaliers to an eighth-place finish in the final 2015-16 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup competition, announced Friday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Virginia placed in the top 10 for the third consecutive year and in the top 20 for the 10th consecutive year. UVA is one of 12 schools to rank in the top 30 of the final Directors’ Cup standings in each of the program’s 23 years of existence.
Points in the Director’s Cup standings are awarded by a school’s finish in each sport in which it competes in NCAA postseason play. Each school may count its highest finishes in 10 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports.
“I’m very thankful for the efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and staff that helped UVA finish in the top 10 of the Directors’ Cup for the third consecutive year,” UVA athletics director Craig Littlepage said. “We receive tremendous support from our University administration, donors and fans. Their contributions to our athletics department play a key role in our success and provide important resources that we’ve identified in our ‘All In For Excellence’ fundraising initiative.
“We will continue to work to reach our 10-year goals, which include winning 12 NCAA championships and 70 ACC titles, and ensuring our student-athletes are in a position to be successful in their academic and athletic pursuits.”
The current 10-year goal period began in 2012-13. Over the last four years, Virginia has won 20 ACC championships and six NCAA championships.
The All In For Excellence fundraising initiative is designed to generate necessary resources to support Virginia's pursuit of the 10-year goals. The fundraising target for this year, ending in December, is $23.3 million, including an annual fund goal of $18.3 million. (Information about the All In For Excellence initiative can be found at allinforexcellence.com.)
In addition to Virginia’s NCAA men’s tennis championship, the rowing team placed third nationally and the women’s swimming program finished fifth. Men’s basketball made its first NCAA Elite Eight appearance since 1995 and the men’s track and field team placed seventh at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and tied for eighth at the indoor championships. Women’s golf, women’s tennis, women’s soccer and field hockey also advanced to the quarterfinals at their respective NCAA championships.
UVA captured four Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the last academic year, and its 73 conference titles since the spring of 2002 are the most of any ACC school during that time. In 2015-16, UVA won ACC championships in women’s golf (second consecutive), rowing (seventh consecutive and 16th in 17 years), women’s cross country (first since 1982) and women’s swimming and diving (ninth consecutive).
Individually, swimmer Leah Smith defended her NCAA titles in the 500- and 1,650-meter freestyle and Danielle Collins won her second NCAA women’s tennis championship. Henry Wynne won the mile at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and Filip Mihaljevic captured the NCAA title in the men’s shot put at the outdoor championships.
Brian Boland (men’s tennis) was named ITA National Coach of the Year, while Augie Busch (women’s swimming), Todd Morgan (women’s cross country), Kim Lewellen (women’s golf) and Steve Swanson (women’s soccer) earned ACC Coach of the Year honors.
Additional highlights of Virginia’s 2015-16 athletics year included:
- 20 of UVA’s 25 athletics programs advanced to NCAA postseason competition.
- The men’s basketball team posted 29 or more wins for the third consecutive season en route to its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and first NCAA Elite Eight berth since 1995.
- Malcolm Brogdon, who earned consensus All-America first-team honors, became the first player to earn ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season.
- The baseball team posted a 38-22 record and hosted an NCAA l-regional for the ninth time in the last 13 years.
- Head baseball coach Brian O’Connor set the Virginia all-time wins record and finished the year with 596 career wins.
- The men’s soccer team reached its 35th straight NCAA tournament (the longest active streak in Division I soccer).
- The women’s lacrosse team earned its 21st consecutive NCAA Championship bid, securing an at-large berth in the 26-team tournament field.
- The men’s golf team finished 22nd at the NCAA Championships.
- The men’s swimming and diving team tied for 28th at the NCAA Championships.
- UVA sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, marking the eighth consecutive year to send at least five to compete at the NCAA Championships.
- Senior Lauren Fuller was the first Cavalier volleyball player since 2007 to earn All-America recognition when she was named 2015 AVCA Honorable Mention All-America.
- Danielle Collins (women’s tennis) was named ITA National Player of the Year, Honda Sport Award winner and ITA National Senior Player of the Year.
- Lauren Coughlin won the ACC women’s golf individual championship.
- Men’s golfer Derek Bard competed in the Masters and U.S. Open Championship.
- Wrestler George DiCamillo claimed his third ACC Championship at 133 pounds, becoming only the seventh UVA wrestler to win three ACC Championships.
- Tennis player Thai-Son Kwitakowski won both the singles and the doubles (with Mac Styslinger) titles at the ITA All-American Championship, the fourth-ever player to win both in the same year and the first since 2009.
- Emily Sonnett (women’s soccer) was named ESPNW National Player of the Year
- Thai-Son Kwitakowski (men’s tennis), Tessa Dikkers (rowing), Cleo Boyd (women’s outdoor track & field) and Makenzy Doniak (women’s soccer) captured ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards.
- Makenzy Doniak (soccer) was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
- Rebecca Holding (field hockey) won the ACC Sportsmanship Award.
Stanford finished first in the NCAA Division I Directors’ Cup standings for the 21st consecutive year with 1,526.5 points and Ohio State was second with 1,306 points.
UVA was one of six ACC programs to finish in the top 25 of the Directors’ Cup standings. Other ACC schools in the top 25 of the Directors’ Cup standings were North Carolina (seventh, 1089.5), Notre Dame (17th, 894.5), Syracuse (21st, 853), Florida State (22nd, 833) and Duke (24th, 804).
There are five Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup awards, one to honor the institution with the best overall athletics program in each of the NCAA’s Divisions I and I-AA, II and III, and the NAIA. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between NACDA and USA Today.