When Debbie Yow took over the Maryland athletic program in 1994, she promised to set a standard for excellence. But Yow never predicted yesterday's accomplishment.
Maryland finished No. 19 out of 306 Division I schools in the Sears Directors' Cup, cracking the top 30 for the first time.
The 5-year-old competition, administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, is based on each school's national finish in up to 18 sports, nine for men and nine for women. The cup is also the only all-sport trophy recognized by four-year NCAA and NAIA institutions.
"It's fantastic to see how our coaches overachieve," Yow said. "It's so special to realize what it took to reach this level. We beat out programs that have 50 percent more funding, and to think of that, it's truly overwhelming.
"Reaching the top 25 has been a long-standing goal for all of us, and today we can take pride in the fact that despite budgetary obstacles, we maintained our focus and achieved as a department what we set out to do. I can say we are extremely proud of today's ranking."
The Terrapins, who finished 32nd last year, made a 38-position leap from No. 57 in 1994-95, Yow's first year as athletic director. That's the largest climb in that span by a school not previously ranked in the top 25.
Maryland earned points in 11 of its 24 varsity sports, ranking third among Atlantic Coast Conference schools behind No. 2 North Carolina and No. 13 Virginia. The Terrapins' NCAA champion women's lacrosse team and national runner-up men's lacrosse team accounted for 180 of the school's 330-point total to end in a four-way tie with California, Colorado and Tennessee.
Stanford won its fourth straight Sears Cup with 1,010 points to become the only school to break the 1,000-point mark in consecutive years.
"I was surprised because we just wanted to beat last year's No. 32 to keep the ball moving forward," Yow said. "We are pleased now, but we aren't satisfied. My goal is to compete for a top 10 spot."
Pub Date: 6/17/98