April 1, 2009
Columbia, Mo. -Buoyed by a strong surge of success by its winter sport programs, the University of Missouri has landed itself 27th in the latest Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, as released recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). This marks the second-highest mid-season ranking that Mizzou has had in the history of the Directors' Cup, which began in 1993-94 as a way to rank the overall competitive strength of athletic programs across the country.
The Tigers moved up in the latest set of rankings thanks to the strength of four programs which placed at their national championships recently.
The wrestling team capped off yet another strong season by finishing seventh at the NCAA Championships held in St. Louis, Mo., which marked the sixth-straight top-15 national showing for Coach Brian Smith's program.
The Tiger men's indoor track and field team, led by Head Coach Rick McGuire, had a strong showing in the NCAA Indoor Championships as well, as they turned in a 20th-place showing, while the Tiger women earned MU Directors' Cup points by placing 60th overall on their side of the competition. Rounding out the Directors' Cup scoring for MU in this set of rankings was the Tiger women's swimming and diving team, as Brian Hoffer's squad placed 28th at nationals.
The strong winter showing, coupled with anticipated points coming for the sports of men's basketball (Elite Eight appearance) and gymnastics (NCAA Regional appearance), puts Mizzou in position to challenge for its best-ever finish in the Directors' Cup standings. The school's best finish was a 37th-place showing in 2002-03, while just last year, MU was just shy of that, finishing 38th overall in 2007-08.
Mizzou's comprehensive athletic program continues to excel under the direction of Director of Athletics Mike Alden. All of MU's top six yearly finishes in the Directors' Cup standings have come on Alden's watch. Since his arrival in the fall of 1998, Mizzou's average yearly finish in the Directors' Cup has been 48th. Prior to his taking over the MU program, Mizzou's average yearly finish in the standings was 98th (from 1993-94 through 1997-98).
The latest set of standings shows Mizzou ranking 4th-best among Big 12 Conference schools, as the Tigers trailed only Texas (7th place overall), Nebraska (18th) and Texas A&M (22nd). The rest of the Big 12 standings include, in order, Texas Tech (32nd), Oklahoma State (39th), Colorado (43rd), Iowa State (49th), Oklahoma (58th), Kansas (62nd), Baylor (81st) and Kansas State (113th).