Lindenwood University is the winner of the 2002 Sears Directors’ Cup, the prestigious award presented annually by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) to the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country.
The beautiful Waterford Crystal trophy was presented Saturday in a ceremony just prior to the Lindenwood's Homecoming football game against Graceland University at 1:45 p.m.
The Lions ended a five-year reign in the NAIA by Simon Fraser University (B.C.), which finished third.
Lindenwood won its first Sears Directors’ Cup by posting 704.5 points, 23.5 points ahead of runner-up Oklahoma City University. A national championship in men’s wrestling sparked the Lions’ triumph, and six other teams finished in the NAIA top 10. These included women’s golf (3rd), men’s outdoor track and field (3rd), men’s soccer (5th), women’s soccer (5th), men’s swimming (6th) and women’s swimming (6th). The Lions scored points in five men’s sports and the maximum of six women’s sports.
Developed as a joint effort between USA TODAY and NACDA, the Sears Directors’ Cup program is the only all-sports competition that recognizes the institution in each of the four categories with the best overall athletics program. The Sears Directors’ Cup is part of the Sears Collegiate Champions program which annually awards more than 2,200 conference and sport champion trophies and a quarter-of-a-million dollars in academic scholarships.
Through the Sears Directors’ Cup program, Sears and NACDA annually award $100,000 in postgraduate academic scholarships. Five $5,000 scholarships in each division assist students who support their institution’s athletics departments, including team managers, athletics trainers, band members, cheerleaders, assistant coaches, sports information assistants, facility staff and academic support personnel.
For each category, four outstanding recipients are selected by a nationwide nomination process, administered by NACDA, while the fifth recipient is a student at the institution that wins the Sears Directors’ Cup.
Sears and NACDA also awarded each of the second through fifth place institutions in all four divisions with Sears Directors’ Cup plaques, commemorating their program’s dedication to athletics greatness. This year’s runner-up institutions in the NAIA include: Oklahoma City, Simon Fraser, Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), and Malone College (Ohio).