In Sports

The UWM athletic department was the best in the Horizon League in 2011-12

UWM named top athletic department in Horizon League

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has once again staked its claim to having the best athletic department in the Horizon League.

The school was officially awarded the McCafferty Trophy at this week's Horizon League's executive council meeting in Chicago. This marks the sixth time UWM has won the trophy, given to the Horizon League's overall all-sports champion.

Plus, UWM claimed the Women's All-Sports Award for the 10th time.

The Panthers captured the crowns, in part, by collecting nine regular season and postseason league titles. The women's volleyball team won both the regular season and tournament titles, while the women's soccer team also won both crowns. In fact, each team rolled through league play unbeaten, with the volleyball team becoming the first league squad to do so in that sport since 1994.

The winning continued during the winter sports season, with the men's and women's swimming and diving teams each claiming league titles. It was the third-straight title for the men, while the women built on a pair of second-place finishes from the previous two years to win the crown this season.

UWM also captured three more team titles in track and field. The men won both the indoor and outdoor titles, while the women added an indoor crown to the trophy case. The men have now won 18-straight league titles, the best such streak in the nation, while the indoor championship for the women was their fourth-straight.

Plus, UWM boosted its standing for the women's award with a best-ever third-place regular season finish in tennis and a second-place finish in women's outdoor track and field.

The nine regular season and postseason league championships equal the second-most in a single school year, a number UWM also posted in each of the last two years. The school record is 11, which Milwaukee reached in 2000-01 and 2005-06.

"The McCafferty Trophy only happens when there is exceptional program-wide performance by UWM student-athletes, their coaches and support staff," UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell said. "My congratulations to our many teams, who together achieved this most outstanding result for our university."

"The Horizon League congratulates Milwaukee for its continued commitment to across the board excellence in athletics as represented by this sixth McCafferty Trophy," Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone said. "Panther student-athletes benefit greatly from outstanding coaching and athletic department support as they distinguish themselves competitively, academically and in the community."

This year, UWM compiled 45.5 total points, outdistancing second-place Cleveland State by 6.5 points. The Milwaukee total included 26.5 points on the women's side, allowing it to edge Butler by 2.5 points for the women's award. Meanwhile, UWM's 19-point total in men's play this season put the Panthers second behind Valparaiso.

Volleyball coach Susie Johnson, who has been at UWM as a head coach and an assistant for more than 15 years, was one of five UWM head coaches to be named League Coach of the Year. Pete Corfeld, who has been on staff at UWM for more than 20 years, also collected another group of coach of the year honors in track and field, giving him 47 in his long career. Plus, four Panther student-athletes claimed athlete of the year honors in their respective sport.

"I am really excited about the entire department playing a part in such a big accomplishment," Johnson said. "Our overall sports program is so strong. This is a great place and we have coaches, student-athletes and staff committed to success and winning. I am happy to be a part of it."

This year's accomplishments add to a long storyline of success in Panther athletics. UWM first broke through in winning the McCafferty Trophy following the 2000-2001 school year and then claimed the award in three-straight years from 2004-2006. Milwaukee also won the all-sports honor in 2009. On the women's side, UWM has won the league award 10 times in the last 12 years.

Named in honor of James J. McCafferty, who served as the conference's first commissioner from 1979-80, the McCafferty Trophy is awarded annually by the Horizon League to a member institution compiling the greatest number of performance points, based on their finish in the League's 19 championship sports. For the sports of men's and women's soccer, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, softball and baseball, points are awarded based on combined regular-season (60 percent) and championship (40 percent) finishes. For all other sports, points are based on performance in the League championships.


wiscoleeds | May 31, 2012 at 8:44 a.m. (report)

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