McGarity pleased with top-10 Directors’ Cup finish but sees room to improve

The University of Georgia’s athletic department finished ahead of 281 other Division I programs last week when the final NACDA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings were tallied.

McGarity pleased with top-10 Directors' Cup finish but sees room to improve
Chris White

As important to athletic director Greg McGarity were the nine who finished ahead of the Bulldogs, who broke into the top 10 for the first time since 2008.

“At Georgia, we want to excel across the board in every sport,” McGarity said. “I think this is an indicator that we’re doing OK. There were 291 schools that scored this year, and to be a top 10 is something we strive for.”

Led by the national champion women’s swim team, a men’s tennis team that reached the semifinals and a fifth-place finish from the football team, Georgia finished 2012-13 in 10th, marking the school’s ninth top-10 finish in the rankings’ 20-year existence.

The scoring system takes into account 20 scores from each Division I program — 10 men’s team and 10 women’s teams — and assigns point values for postseason success.

The Bulldogs had scores from all but four programs — women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s basketball and baseball — and with exactly 20 sports (equestrian, which finished runner-up, is not an NCAA program), there was little room for teams to slip up.

“I would say the ultimate goal of any program is to have 20 programs that all compete in the NCAA championships, that they reach that level of competition,” McGarity said. “That’s a very difficult goal when you have no margin of error. See other schools that have more sports, but they can pick and choose which they count, so we’re at a little bit of a disadvantage there. But those are the rules of the game and everyone has to play by them, so our goal is to have every team participate in the NCAA championships every year.”

Still, Georgia was hardly out of place from the nation’s top finishers. Stanford won with 1,261.25 points (254.75 more than Georgia), and ninth-ranked Notre Dame edged Georgia by 8.75 points.

Pick up a few more points here and there, crack into the top 10 on a consistent basis and anything can happen, said McGarity, whose programs finishes 20th twice and 18th in the last three years.

“We haven’t been in the top 10 as much as we’d like, but that is our goal,” McGarity said. “If you’re top 10, you have a chance to finish even higher.”

As one of the few metrics for overall program success, the Directors’ Cup standings carry significant meaning among coaches, said men’s and women’s swimming coach Jack Bauerle, whose teams contributed a combined 167.5 points.

“Obviously we have one job to do, to get our team to do as well as we can, but it’s nice to do well and know you have the extra bonus of knowing you helped the entire athletic department,” Bauerle said. “It’s a point of pride, and I would hope everybody associated with Georgia athletics does everything they can to have a top-10 athletic program.”

Georgia’s best finish came in 1999, when it was second, and had a third-place finish in 2001 and a fifth-place finish in 2004.

The standings will start anew this fall, but Bauerle said the momentum gathering behind the programs has athletes, coaches and administrators eager to climb higher.

“Even the newest coaches that have come in, you can certainly sense our teams are in good hands for the future,” Bauerle said. “I know Greg’s happy with 10th, but I also know he wants to be higher, so we’re going to try to achieve something better every year.”

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@barebackchamp Marshall update is here: http://t.co/veWW7zfo8u Richt hasn’t updated Scott-Wesley’s status for this week.

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