Poised for a Breakthrough

Tailback Tiki Barber finished his Cavalier career in 1996 as the all-time leading rusher in school history. He was named the 1996 ACC Player of the Year and a first-team GTE Academic All-American.

The University of Virginia is demonstrating that the nation's best public university can also have one of the best athletic programs in the country. In May 1995, President Casteen challenged the University to bring its two dozen varsity athletics programs into the nation's top ten, and the athletics department has already moved close to this goal in a number of sports.

The women's basketball team ranked twelfth in the nation, capping Coach Debbie Ryan's twentieth year with the team in an appearance at the NCAA tournament -- its fourteenth consecutive appearance. The Cavalier football team made its eighth bowl appearance in ten years, playing Miami in the Carquest Bowl. Teams or individuals from eighteen other sports represented Virginia in NCAA postseason play. One of the most remarkable achievements was turned in by the women's rowing team. Elevated to varsity status just two years ago, the team finished fourth overall in the first NCAA Women's Rowing Championships.

The Virginia women's rowing program celebrated its second year of varsity competition last season in grand style, placing fourth at the inaugural NCAA championships.

Virginia's student athletes demonstrated that excellence on the playing field can accord well with excellence in the classroom. In the spring, they posted the highest cumulative semester GPA (2.90) ever achieved by student-athletes at the University. Virginia produced five GTE Division I Academic All-Americans, and nine football players -- the most of any school -- were selected to the twenty-four-member 1996 All-ACC Academic Football Team. The Cavalier football program was cited for academic excellence for the fourteenth consecutive year in spring 1997 by the College Football Association. The graduation rate of scholar-athletes at the University closely follows that of the student body as a whole.

The University has emerged as a leader in women's sports, an initiative that

A 1997 first-team All-ACC selection, senior guard Tora Suber finished her career last season as the top three-point scorer in Virginia women's basketball history.

began twenty-five years ago. The athletic department is commemorating this anniversary with a yearlong celebration of women's athletics at the University. The women's program now includes twelve varsity sports. It has produced five national team titles, thirteen ACC team titles, and three hundred and fifty-four All-Americans. These trends are expected to continue.

Motivated by new state-of-the-art sports facilities, Cavalier teams -- both men's and women's -- are expected to attain new levels of competition in coming years. The Cavalier men's and women's tennis teams now play in the Sheridan Snyder Tennis Center, which opened last spring, while the Carl Smith Center, which includes Scott Stadium, the David A. Harrison III Field, Bryant Hall, and the Aquatics and Fitness Center, should showcase exciting gridiron action for football players and fans alike.

Next


President's Report 1996-97 Contents

Financial Report 1996-1997