Georgia set to finish in top 10 in Directors’ Cup

Georgia’s 2012-13 athletics year included celebrating an NCAA women’s swimming and diving championship, finishing five yards away from reaching the BCS national title football game and reaching another men’s tennis national semifinal.

Those highlights contributed to Georgia being poised for a top-10 finish in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for the first time since the 2007-08 academic year.

That’s up from No. 18 last year and Nos. 20, 20 and 18 the three years before that.

“If you follow those rankings like all athletic directors do, everybody wants to be in the top 10,” said Greg McGarity, concluding his third year as Georgia athletic director.

Georgia is No. 9 in the second-to-last Directors’ Cup standings of the year with 1,006.75 points, but is expected to finish No. 10 after baseball is accounted for when the College World Series is over.

“Georgia should be among the top 10 programs annually,” McGarity said. “To work our way back up to where we were 20th a couple of years and last year we were No. 18 … is really a testimony to the coaches and the student-athletes, everybody that’s made it work during NCAA competition.”

The Directors’ Cup, compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, awards points based on each school’s finishes in up to 20 sports.

Georgia football finished fourth in the final coaches’ poll after a 12-2 season that included a loss to eventual national champion Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game when Georgia’s final drive ended at the 5-yard line.

Women’s basketball contributed 73 points this year, up from 25 last year, after reaching the NCAA Elite Eight. Women’s tennis reached the NCAA quarterfinals.

Georgia was able to count points from 16 of its 20 sports teams (equestrian isn’t recognized in the standings). All six running teams — men’s and women’s track and indoor track and men’s and women’s cross country — scored points, McGarity noted.

“We have no margin for error,” McGarity said. “There are 20 sports you can count, and we count them all. Other schools may have an advantage that sponsor more than 20. They can drop certain sports. Every sport has to really excel on a national level.”

The only Georgia teams that did not register points were baseball, men’s basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Two of those programs have seen changes in head coaches since McGarity was hired in 2010.

McGarity hired volleyball coach Lizzy Stemke in late 2010 and baseball coach Scott Stricklin earlier this month.

Gymnastics, under first-year coach Danna Durante, led Georgia to the Super Six for the program’s first trip since 2009.

Stanford won its 19th consecutive Directors’ Cup. Georgia is third among SEC teams behind No. 2 Florida and No. 6 Texas A&M.

Georgia finished in the top 10 in four of five years from 2004-08. It hasn’t landed in the top five since a No. 5 finish in 2004.

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