MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - One of the greatest seasons in WVU sports history is encapsulated in the 2016-17 West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Annual Report, now available online through WVUsports.com
The year began with women’s soccer, led by national Player of the Year Kadeisha Buchanan, reaching the national championship game in early December and continuing with football’s strong second-place finish in the Big 12 to earn a berth in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Rifle claimed its fifth consecutive (19th overall) national championship five days before women’s basketball won its first-ever Big 12 tournament title in early March.
Men’s basketball achieved the third-most victories in school history (28), advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the seventh time since 1998 and the fourth under coach Bob Huggins, who is now 10th in all-time wins in NCAA history.
Women’s gymnastics posted one of its strongest seasons under veteran coach Jason Butts, sending one participant to NCAA nationals and finishing the year ranked in the top 25, while baseball finally snapped its 21-year NCAA Tournament drought during coach Randy Mazey’s fifth season in Morgantown.
Plenty of progress was made in West Virginia’s other varsity sports as well.
Individually, three coaches (Nikki Izzo-Brown, Dana Holgorsen and Jon Hammond) were named coach of the year, eight student-athletes were recognized as first team All-Americans and 10 different Mountaineers won major conference awards.
And academically, director of athletics Shane Lyons’ department had one of its best-ever performances in the classroom with a composite, department-wide grade point average of 3.15, with 14 of the 18 varsity teams compiling better than a 3.0 grade point average.
WVU also ended 2016-17 with its best-ever Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 982, which was above the national average.
Facility upgrades took center stage as well with substantial capital improvement projects at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum either completed or near completion by the end of the academic year.
Indeed, it was a year worth remembering in Mountaineer athletics!