The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga officially has a top-100 athletics program according to the final Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings released today.
The Mocs finished the year in 99th place with a total of 180.5 points. The Learfield Sports Director’s Cup was developed in 1994 as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA) and USA Today to honor athletic departments for their success in all NCAA Sports.
Points are awarded based on a school’s finish at the NCAA Championships. Athletic departments can score points in up to 20 sports, 10 women’s and 10 men’s.
“Being a Top-100 program is meaningful because it serves as evidence that we are pursuing excellence across all 17 of our sports” stated UTC Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “Accomplishments such as this are years in the making and the result of our collective efforts! We are fortunate to serve and employ a plethora of talented and ambitious people student-athletes, coaches, staff, university personnel, alumni, donors and fans without whom this simply would not be possible.”
UTC’s had set a new standard in 2008, placing 134th in the Learfield Director’s Cup, but shattered that mark this year. Mocs scored 125.5 points last season, which was their previous high until topping that total with 180.5 in 2009.
Chattanooga scored points in five sports, including wrestling (51st place - 21.5 points), men’s basketball (T33rd 25 points), men’s golf (18th 56 points), women’s golf (21st 53 points) and softball (T49th 25 points).
Adding to the impressiveness of finishing in the top-100 is the fact that the Mocs operated on a $9 million budget for 2008-09. Miniscule funding when compared to the athletic department budgets of the majority of the institutions listed in the top-100.
Chattanooga leads all Southern Conference schools with Furman next in line in 165th (83 points). Other SoCon schools include UNC Greensboro (169th 70 points), Appalachian State (188th 65 points), Western Carolina (200th 50 points), Georgia Southern (223rd 41 points), College of Charleston (225th 40 points), Elon (T235th 25 points), Wofford (T235th 25 points), The Citadel (271st 5 points).
The Mocs are 35th among non-BCS teams and rank ahead of seven schools in BCS conferences, including Mississippi State (100th), St. John’s (112th), Washington State (120th), Cincinnati (129th), DePaul (173rd), Marquette (173rd) and Seton Hall (270th).
One of the most exciting aspects of the Mocs’ top-100 ranking is the fact that they have room for improvement. Women’s basketball missed the NCAA Tournament and did not score points for the Mocs this season. Also, both cross country teams just missed qualifying for the NCAA finals, which would have added to the total even more.
“While we are proud to be named alongside other quality athletics departments, we believe that our best days are ahead,” continued Hart. “It is an exciting time to be a part of the Chattanooga Mocs and I look for continuous improvement from all of our programs in the future.”