Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Arizona Wildcats back among the nation’s Top 20 programs

Greg Byrne

Greg Byrne adds a Top 20 finish to his first-year achievments.
Photo by Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com

Year Finish
2011 16
2010 30
2009 24
2008 27
2007 24
2006 11
2005 18
2004 12
2003 16
2002 9
2001 5
2000 8
1999 9
1998 6
1997 6
1996 7
1995 4
1994 6

The Arizona Wildcats, coming off their worst showing ever in the Directors’ Cup, will be a top 20 program for the first time since 2006.

The Director’s Cup is an all-sport ranking that has been in existence since the 1993-94 school year.

Arizona used to live in the top 10, but it had become a fringe top 25 athletic department in recent seasons.

For this school year, UA is 17th (standings here), and should be 16th when the final sport of the school year — baseball — is completed. The Wildcats will score 25 points for advancing to the postseason, where they lost in the final game of a regional at Texas A&M.

The Wildcats received a boost from men’s basketball — 73 points out of 100 for reaching a regional final after missing the NCAA tournament in the previous season.

The athletic department’s improvement also can be traced to indoor and outdoor track and field, which accounted for 280.5 points this season. Last year, track and field scored 164.75 points in the Directors’ Cup.

Overall, it makes for a nice topper to the first year under athletic director Greg Byrne, who notably has pushed forward improvements to Arizona Stadium, while adding new energy and ideas to the marketing of the Wildcats brand.

“It’s one measure of our ability to meet goals and it’s nice to be among the nation’s best,” Byrne said last week in a press release about UA’s finish in the Directors’ Cup. “We look at a wide range of accomplishments in determining how we’re doing, and this competitive mark shows we’re working to get better.”

Arizona finished 30th in the Directors’ Cup for the 2009-10 school year. Its previous worst finish in the Directors’ Cup was 27th in 2008.

The Directors’ Cup standings includes the top finishes in the NCAA postseason for a department’s top 10 men’s and top 10 women’s programs. One hundred points are awarded for an NCAA title, with a minimum of five points given to an NCAA appearance, depending on the size of the bracket. For football, points are awarded based on the final USA Today Top 25 poll and bowl game results. Arizona, for example, received 25 points for its Alamo Bowl loss.

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