The University of Chicago News Office
October 1, 1998 Press Contact: Dave Hilbert
(773) 702-4638

Chicago athletics in the ’90s: Championship momentum

With seven NCAA Division III postseason appearances and five University Athletic Association championships in the past two years, the University of Chicago’s varsity sports teams show that at Chicago the ideal of the student-athlete is consistent with the highest levels of athletics and academics.

Chicago’s varsity sports teams have enjoyed success in recent years, but perhaps never more than in 1997-98. Last year, Chicago qualified for NCAA Division III postseason play in men’s basketball and women’s soccer and sent individuals to NCAA III Championships in wrestling and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field. In addition, Chicago’s 19 teams compiled a combined winning percentage of .552 and boasted six All-Americans, 13 All-Region performers, and 53 All- UAA selections, as well as two UAA Coaching Staffs of the Year.

Chicago believes in that old-fashioned notion of the scholar-athlete and that academic and athletic excellence complement each other. The University encourages talented students to achieve competitive success as well as academic distinction, and during the past few years Chicago’s student- athletes have met that challenge.

  • Under Head Coach Amy Reifert, the 1996 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year, women’s soccer has made two straight NCAA III postseason appearances and in 1996 advanced to the national semifinals.
  • Men’s basketball has also qualified for NCAA III postseason play the past two years, reaching the round-of-16 each season. Three-time UAA Coach of the Year, Pat Cunningham, guided his teams to UAA titles each of the past two seasons. Last season, Chicago became the first UAA men’s basketball team to post a perfect record (14-0) in league play. Led by All-Americans Aaron Horne and Rusty Loyd, the Maroons have registered a record of 65-15 (.813) during the past three years.
  • With a 21-12 record, baseball registered its third consecutive 20-win season, a feat unprecedented in the program’s 106-year history. In 1997, Chicago second baseman Mark Mosier was drafted by the San Francisco Giants after earning All-America and Academic All-America accolades.
  • Wrestling continued its consistent success in 1998 with one All-American, three national qualifiers and its sixth UAA team title. Heavyweight Matt Eckerman placed third at the 1998 NCAA III Championship, giving Chicago its 18th All-American since 1984. No UAA school has won more conference titles than Chicago six league championships in the last 11 years.
  • In 1998, Chicago’s Rhaina Echols (1,500-meter run) and Amy Buhl (400-meter hurdles) garnered All-America recognition in indoor and outdoor track & field, respectively.
  • In 1997-98, Karen Lui and Julie Calhoon competed in the NCAA III Women’s Tennis Championships, becoming the school’s first women’s tennis players to qualify for postseason play.
  • In 1998, Under Head Softball Coach Michele Hawkins, who plays professionally for the Georgia Pride of Women’s Professional Fastpitch, the team enjoyed its best season to date with a 20-15 mark. Catcher Erin Slone became the school’s first-ever softball All-American.
  • Guided by Head Football Coach Dick Maloney, the school’s most successful modern era coach and 1994 UAA Coach of the Year, the team finished with a 5-4 mark to gain its second winning season in the past three years. In 1995, Maloney guided the Maroons to their best-ever modern era record with an 8-2 finish. The UAA’s Offensive Player of the Year has been a Chicago Maroon four times in the past five years.
  • Men’s soccer finished 9-8-1 in 1997, one year after advancing to the NCAA III national semifinals under the 1996 NCAA III Coach of the Year, John O’Connor.

At the same time that Chicago’s varsity sports teams have enjoyed a dramatic resurgence, participation in intramural and club sports on campus continues to reach unprecedented levels.

Currently, an average of 2,000 people a day use the University’s athletic facilities, and even though the 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students are challenged by rigorous academic demands, approximately 9,500 students participated in intramural, club, and intercollegiate sports during the last academic year. In 1997-98, the University offered 27 intramural sports and 40 club sports. Nearly 425 of the University’s 3,600 undergraduate students competed on one or more of Chicago’s 19 intercollegiate teams.
Last modified at 03:51 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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