HomeSportsGator Athletics Program Fifth in the Nation
Gator Athletics Program Fifth in the Nation
July 2, 2021
Courtesy of University Athletic Association
BY MARY HOWARD
Florida is nation’s only program among the top 10 in each of the last 37 national all-sports standings
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A NCAA title led 10 top-10 team finishes as the University of Florida athletics program placed fifth in the 2020-21 Learfield IMG College Sports Directors’ Cup standings. This is Florida’s 12th consecutive top-five national all-sports finish.
Florida is the only program to finish among the nation’s top 10 in each of the last 37 national all-sports standings.
Florida’s Top-10 Finishes
Men’s tennis claiming the program’s first NCAA Championship highlighted Florida’s team finishes.
This is the 12th consecutive complete season with a Gators team winning a national team title. Florida is one of two programs with a national title each complete season since the 2008-09 campaign. UF has 21 championships in that span.
In 2020-21, 10 Gators teams placed among the nation’s final top 10. This is the 19th consecutive complete season in which 10 or more Gators teams were among the nation’s top 10.
2020-21 Learfield IMG College Sports Directors’ Cup Standings
About The Learfield IMG College Sports Directors’ Cup
The Learfield IMG College Sports Directors’ Cup, presented annually by the nation’s athletics directors, recognizes the schools with the best overall sports performances in an academic year. The scoring system uses finishes in NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and women’s volleyball championship action. Additionally, a program can receive points in up to 15 other sports toward its final score. Texas claimed its first Directors’ Cup this season.
In the last 12 seasons, 15 different programs appeared among the Directors’ Cup final top five. Only Florida and Stanford appear in each top five since 2008-09, with Southern California (6) earning the next-highest number of top-five finishes in that span.
“Florida’s first NCAA men’s tennis title led many strong Gator finishes in this unprecedented and challenging season. Another top-five finish in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup is a tribute to the effort and competitive spirit of our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. Gators can take pride in UF standing among the nation’s top in both public universities and athletics rankings.”
2021 Individual NCAA Champions for the Gators
Five Gators claimed seven NCAA individual titles in 2021.
Bobby Finke claimed his first NCAA title with a time of 3:36.90 in the 400 individual medley. The following evening on the meet’s final day, Finke set the meet record with his winning time of 14:12.52 in the 1650 freestyle.
Kieran Smith used a time of 1:30.10 to become the sixth Gator to win the NCAA 200 freestyle. In June, the junior won the 200 and 400 freestyle events at the U.S. Olympic Trials to punch his ticket to Tokyo.
Senior Thomas Mardal is the first since 2010 to sweep the NCAA weight (indoor) and hammer (outdoor) throws in a single season. He set Florida’s indoor record (24.46) to win the NCAA indoor title, which is No. 3 all-time collegiately. He capped off his Gator career by resetting his own school record for the third time in 2021 with a hammer throw of 76.74 – the sixth-best in NCAA history.
Joseph Fahnbulleh closed his first collegiate outdoor track season by winning the 200 meters in a personal record time of 19.91 – the 10th fastest in collegiate history.
Call it a home-court advantage as junior Sam Riffice won the NCAA Singles crown at the USTA National Campus in Orlando – less than a two-minute drive from his family’s home. Riffice defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to claiming Florida’s third NCAA singles crown.
Other Gators successes
Florida’s four Southeastern Conference titles (gymnastics, softball, men’s swimming & diving, men’s tennis) pushed Gators’ league-leading total of 251 titles all-time.
In addition, the lacrosse team again swept the American Athletic regular-season and tournament titles. It was Florida’s 10th consecutive league crown, spanning three different conferences.
Five Gators picked up conference athlete of the year or championship MVP honors in 2021. This is the 44th consecutive season at least one Gator claimed league athlete of the year accolades.
SEC Commissioners Trophy
AAC Attacker of the Year
AAC Midfielder of the Year
AAC Defender of the Year
AAC Goalkeeper of the Year
Gators by the Numbers
1 NCAA team title (men’s tennis) marks the 12th straight complete season a Gator team won a national team title. Florida has won 21 national team titles since the 2008-09 season. 10 top-10 national team finishes. 19th consecutive complete season 10 or more Gator teams among final top 10. 5 conference titles by the Gators in 2020-21, including 4 Southeastern Conference wins. 89 percent Graduation Success Rate for UF, as reported last fall in the 2020 NCAA Federal Graduation Rate Data. 3.16 grade point average by Gator student-athletes in 2020-21 academic year. 70 percent of all Gators earned 2020-21 SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition. 2 named SEC Scholar-Athletes of Year for their sport – Leah Clapper (gymnastics) and Thomas Mardal (track & field). Swimmer Savanna Faulconer became the fourth Gator to receive the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor. 4 picked up conference coach of the year honors, marking 26th consecutive season at least one UF coach was recognized. Bryan Shelton named ITA National Coach of the Year.