Tennessee Achieves Highest-Ever Finish In Director's Cup Standings

Impressive spring championship showings in softball and men's track and field boosted Tennessee to a best-ever, seventh-place finish in the U.S. Sports Academy Director's Cup.

Stanford led the way with 1,429 points, followed by UCLA, North Carolina, Michigan, Southern California and Florida in the first six. Tennessee tallied 1,045.75 points, with Texas, California and Arizona State rounding out the top 10.

"It has been a goal of ours to have both the men's and women's athletics programs ranked in the top 10 nationally," UT women's athletics director Joan Cronan said. "This year's final ranking is a tribute to the athletes, coaches and administration who have collectively worked so hard to take their programs to this level."

Tennessee's best previous finish was an eighth-place showing in 2004-05.

"We are committed to providing our student-athletes and coaches with championship opportunities and our fans with championship performances," said Mike Hamilton, UT men's athletics director. "This year's finish is a credit to the dedication of our student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans.

"The best is yet to come."

Nineteen of UT's 20 varsity sports advanced to postseason play, with the Lady Vols women's basketball team topping the chart after claiming the program's seventh national championship in April.

Softball finished second for its best finish in program history, while women's indoor track and field was third, rowing was ninth and the women's swimming and diving squad placed 10th. The men's outdoor track and field team battled to fourth and the indoor squad tied for 10th to add to the point total.

UT also had top-20 finishes in men's basketball, men's and women's golf and men's swimming and diving.

Other SEC schools in the top 25 were Georgia (12th), LSU (17th) and Auburn (19th).

Developed jointly by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today newspaper, the Director's Cup standings combine points awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports - 10 women's and 10 men's. The U.S. Sports Academy, based in Daphne, Ala., is the program's sponsor.

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WITTEN NAMED HEAD FOOTBALL COACH AT ELIZABETHTON HIGH SCHOOL:

Tennessee graduate assistant Shawn Witten was named this week to the head football coaching position at Elizabethton High School.

A 1999 Elizabethton graduate who went on to play four seasons collegiately at Virginia Tech, Witten spent the last three years at Tennessee in various graduate assistant roles. He was the top defensive graduate assistant last season after two seasons as a volunteer administrative aide.

"Shawn is an excellent football coach and an even better person," UT head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "He did an outstanding job for us with the defense and with out kicking game.

"He comes from a family with great coaching and playing ties to Elizabethton and I certainly do wish him well. I wish Shawn and his family all the best."

Defensive coordinator John Chavis added his praise to Witten's work.

"Shawn has done a tremendous job for us at the University of Tennessee. We are happy for him and have no doubt, based on what he did for us, that he will do a tremendous job for Elizabethton."

Witten, 27, was a wide receiver and special teams player for Virginia Tech, which went a combined 37-13 during his years in Blacksburg with two bowl victories. He signed a free agent contract with the New York Jets in 2003 before wrapping up his playing career.

Witten's brother, former Vol Jason Witten, plays tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.

Shawn graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in history and a minor in political science. He is married to the former Katie Holly, also of Elizabethton.

Story Courtesy: UT Sprorts Information


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