(STILLWATER, Okla. - July 12, 2016) The 2015-16 academic year will go down as one of the greatest in the history of Oklahoma State athletics as OSU surged to its highest finish ever in the Learfield Directors' Cup.
OSU attained its success during a school year in which the student-athletes posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.038.
Oklahoma State finished 13th in the Learfield Cup standings, marking its highest finish since the competition began in 1993-94. The Learfield Cup measures department-wide success in college athletics based on a university's finish in NCAA championship events.
OSU's was second in the standings only to Texas among Big 12 Conference schools.
Using the Learfield Directors' Cup scoring system as the basis, eight of OSU's 17 varsity sports finished in the top 10 in the country, with 11 OSU teams finishing in the top 15 and 15 OSU squads placing in the top 25. OSU is the only school in the Learfield top 25 that counted just 17 sports in toward its final point total. Fifteen of OSU's 17 sports programs scored points in the Learfield competition.
OSU has an 18-sport athletic department but equestrian is not yet an NCAA-sponsored sport and therefore not eligible to be included in the Learfield Directors' Cup point total.
Both the OSU wrestling and women's tennis teams were NCAA runners-up and the Cowboy baseball team advanced to the final four at the College World Series. The football team played in the Sugar Bowl, the women's cross country squad placed seventh at the NCAA meet and the women's track and field team produced its best-ever finish at both the NCAA indoor and NCAA outdoor championships. The equestrian team advanced to the NCEA quarterfinals and the men's tennis squad surged to the NCAA sweet 16.
Oklahoma State won a league-high eight Big 12 team championships - men's cross country, women's cross country, men's indoor track and field, wrestling, equestrian, women's golf, women's tennis (regular season) and women's tennis (postseason).
Wrestler Alex Dieringer earned the Hodge Trophy, which is wrestling's equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Dieringer was one of four NCAA individual champions from Oklahoma State in 2015-16, joining teammate Dean Heil and track and field standouts Kaela Edwards (NCAA indoor mile champion) and Nick Miller (NCAA outdoor hammer throw champ).
OSU produced 29 All-Americans across 12 different sports and saw four of its student-athletes earn Big 12 Player of the Year honors – Emmanuel Ogbah (football-defensive), Brittney Martin (women's basketball), Alex Dieringer (wrestling) and Vanessa Shippy (softball).
Twenty-five Cowboys and Cowgirls were Big 12 individual champions and OSU staffers earned seven Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
In addition, Oklahoma State won the Bedlam Cup for the third straight year. The Bedlam Cup is the all-sports competition between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and is calculated by straight wins and losses in head to head competition. In sports in which there is no head to head matchup, the Big 12 Championship standings are used.
The 2015-16 Learfield Director's Cup Standings:
1. Stanford - 1526.50
2. Ohio State - 1306.00
3. Michigan - 1196.75
4. USC - 1196.25
5. Florida - 1177.00
6. UCLA - 1091.50
7. North Carolina - 1089.50
8. Virginia - 1088.50
9. Texas - 1062.00
10. Oregon - 973.75
11. Cal - 966.00
12. Texas A&M - 962.00
13. Oklahoma State - 957.25
14. Washington - 951.50
15. Georgia - 949.50
16. Oklahoma - 914.25
17. Notre Dame - 894.50
18. Minnesota - 891.75
19. LSU - 883.50
20. Penn State - 878.00
A sport-by-sport look at the state of Oklahoma State athletics:
Men's Cross Country/Track and Field
Oklahoma State has won three NCAA cross country team championships since 2009 and finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships in six of the last seven seasons. The Cowboys have won eight straight Big 12 team titles.
OSU won the 2014 and 2016 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field team championships and placed 15th at the 2016 NCAA outdoor championships. A Cowboy has won an NCAA title each of the past two outdoor seasons, with Chad Noelle winning the 1,500 meters in 2015 and Nick Miller winning the hammer throw in 2016.
The 2016 squad featured 11 Academic All-Big 12 selections, including NCAA champ Nick Miller.
Women's Cross Country/Track and Field
The Cowgirls won the 2015 Big 12 cross country title and have placed in the top four at the Big 12 meet in each of the past five seasons. For context, OSU had only three top-three finishes at the Big 12 meet from 1990-2010.
Kaela Edwards won the 2016 NCAA indoor mile championship and as a team, OSU placed 10th at the 2016 NCAA indoor meet and 12th at the NCAA outdoor meet - both of which marked the best in program history.
In 2016, the Cowgirls produced 17 Academic All-Big 12 honorees, including NCAA champ Kaela Edwards and All-American Savannah Camacho.
The Cowgirls have earned berths in eight of the last 10 NCAA Championships and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2011. From 2008-11, OSU celebrated four consecutive Big 12 championships. Forward Courtney Dike played in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
In 2016, 15 Cowgirls secured Academic All-Big 12 recognition, highlighted by Courtney Dike.
Four times has Mike Gundy coached the Cowboys to a bowl game now referred to as one of the New Year's Six since 2010. The Pokes appeared in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the 2014 Cotton Bowl and the 2016 Sugar Bowl. Notable products of Cowboy football include 1988 Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders, five-time NFL Pro Bowler Thurman Thomas and current NFL Pro Bowlers Russell Okung, Dez Bryant and Dan Bailey.
In 2016, OSU set a school record with 22 Academic All-Big 12 selections, led by CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree Brad Lundblade.
With two national championships, six appearances in the Final Four, 11 appearances in the Elite Eight and 14 trips to the Sweet 16, OSU basketball is a consistent power. The Cowboys have won 20 games or more in 19 of the last 26 seasons. Notable OSU products include Hall of Famers Henry Iba and Bob Kurland, plus coach Eddie Sutton. Two of the NBA's fiercest defensive standouts - Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies - hail from Oklahoma State.
In the classroom, Christien Sager was named as an Oklahoma State Senior of Significance in 2015 and both Mitchell Solomon and Ford Stuen earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2016.
OSU has seven NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 10 seasons and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2008 and 2014. The Cowgirls have won 110 games over the past five years and produced the 2016 Big 12 Player of the Year in Brittney Martin and the 2016 Big 12 Coach of the Year in Jim Littell.
Six Cowgirls earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2016. That group was highlighted by Brittney Martin.
Winners of four of the past five Big 12 team titles - including the 2016 crown, the Cowgirls have four national championships to their credit (2000, 2003, 2004 and 2006). OSU added Western titles in 2005 and 2013. In 2016, 19 Cowgirls earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition.
The winningest program in all of North American sports - NCAA or professional - Cowboy wrestling boasts 34 NCAA team championships and 141 NCAA individual crowns. The Cowboys have won six of the last seven Big 12 team titles and produced the 2016 Hodge Trophy winner in Alex Dieringer. OSU was the 2016 NCAA runner-up.
Included among OSU's five Academic All-Big 12 honorees in 2016 was NCAA champion Dean Heil.
OSU has made seven trips to the Women's College World Series, the most recent of which came in 2011. Cowgirls Melanie Roche, Michele Smith and Lauren Bay all represented their countries in the Olympics. In 2015, Shelby Davis became the first Cowgirl to be selected in the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft, going eighth overall to the PA Rebellion. OSU advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and reached the regional final at Georgia.
In addition to earning Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2016, Vanessa Shippy was also a CoSIDA academic all-district selection and was one 10 Cowgirls to earn a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 team.
Owners of 10 NCAA team titles and claiming eight NCAA individual champions and 54 conference titles (including five of the last nine Big 12 crowns), Oklahoma State is among college golfing's great programs. Included on OSU golf's list of alumni are current PGA performers Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Charles Howell III, Bo Van Pelt, Peter Uihlein, Scott Verplank, Morgan Hoffmann and Kevin Tway.
Six Cowboy golfers earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2016, highlighted by Jordan Niebrugge, who played in The Master's as an amateur during his time as a Cowboy.
Six of the past nine Big 12 Golfers of the Year have come from Oklahoma State and Courtney Young was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2016 after leading the Cowgirls to the conference crown. Of the 20 Big 12 Championships contested since the league's inception, the Cowgirls have won nine - twice as many as any other school.
Two-time Big 12 individual champion Kenzie Neisen was one of two Cowgirls to earn Academic Big 12 honors in 2016.
The Cowboys have piled up 18 conference championships through the years and have competed in the NCAA Championships in 10 of the last 14 seasons, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2016. Four of OSU's six starters in singles earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2016.
The Cowgirls were 2016 NCAA runner-up, have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 each of the past two seasons and won both the Big 12 regular season title and the conference tournament in 2016, with head coach Chris Young earning Big 12 Coach of the Year accolades for his efforts.
In 2016, Katarina Adamovic earned All-America honors, was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championships and was one of six Cowgirls to earn Academic All-Big 12 honors.
One of the sport's most revered programs, Oklahoma State has made 42 trips to the NCAA Tournament, 20 trips to the College World Series and boasts 31 conference championships, including the 2014 Big 12 title. In Robin Ventura and Pete Incaviglia, the Cowboys claim two of the best college baseball players of all time. OSU has made four straight trips to the NCAA tournament, with Super Regional appearances in 2014 and 2016 and a College World Series trip in 2016.
The 2016 squad included 14 Academic All-Big 12 honorees, two of whom also earned All-America honors for their play on the field – Donnie Walton and Thomas Hatch.