A banner year for OCU athletics

7/7/2017

Wins in golf and softball raise OCU’s total national championships to 66 since joining the NAIA.

Oklahoma City University’s colors are blue and white, but you wouldn’t know it when you step into the Freede Center arena and encounter a sea of red. Hanging from the rafters are row after row of national championship banners.

“While other schools tend to hang their conference championships and runner-up banners, OCU only hangs their national championships,” explained athletic director Jim Abbott.

On May 26, the third-ranked OCU Women’s Golf Team defeated the fourth-ranked team, from Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University (Arizona), by eight shots on the Squire Course at PGA National Resort in Florida. That secured OCU’s eighth national title in women’s golf since 2005.

Six days later, on June 1, OCU’s Softball Team defeated Corban University (Oregon) 4-1 in the NAIA Softball World Series in Florida to clench OCU’s 10th national softball title. That win raised OCU’s national championships to a total of 66 since the university joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

In addition to the new banners, the United Methodist- related university now also has a prized crystal cup to display on campus. OCU has been named the 2017 NAIA recipient of the coveted Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup — the first time the school has received this honor.

It recognizes the best-of-the-best across all college athletic programs, including NCAA schools, and puts OCU on par with Stanford, Michigan, and Ohio State universities in terms of success in their athletic programs.

The Directors’ Cup recognition this year came after OCU secured the golf and softball national championships in the weeks after the spring semester, combined with national titles in Women’s Basketball and Competitive Cheer as well as second- and third-place finishes for many of OCU’s other athletic teams.

The crystal cup stands more than 2 feet tall on a wooden base and weighs nearly 30 pounds.

A week of celebrations is planned for the fall to recognize the accomplishments of OCU student-athletes, coaches, and the athletic department. At the center of the celebration will be that crystal cup amid the sea of red banners overhead.

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