Blue Raiders SBC's top program ... Again

MT wins all-sports trophy for 7th time in 11 years

May 24, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For the seventh time in 11 years since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Middle Tennessee's athletic department has won the Vic Bubas Cup as the top overall sports program in the league. The award is given each year to the university that comes in first in the Sun Belt's all-sports standings.

The Blue Raiders, who scored 126.5 total points (out of a possible 189), were presented their seventh trophy Tuesday during the league meetings in Destin, Fla. Middle Tennessee easily won this year's prestigious trophy by a margin of 13.5 points over second place Western Kentucky.

Middle Tennessee won or shared six conference championships during the 2010-11 campaign to secure its third straight all-sports title and fourth over the last five years. The Blue Raiders also won the prestigious title in 2001, which was their first year in the SBC, and again in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010. Middle Tennessee becomes just the third school in Sun Belt history to win the award seven times and no school has won the award more since the Blue Raiders joined the league in 2000-01.

"We make this a goal of ours every year, and it's really a culmination of the hard work of the student athletes and their drive to compete for championships," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "And, of course, we all know what a wonderful coaching staff we have at Middle Tennessee. With all of the great programs in the Sun Belt Conference, this is indeed an honor to be recognized as the best overall.

"Everyone in our athletic department, the University, and community should take great pride in this because this was a total team effort and that's the great thing about an All-Sports Championship."

Middle Tennessee defeated Western Kentucky for the award, while Arkansas State was third. The Blue Raiders' All-Sports Championship was bolstered by regular season titles in volleyball and women's basketball, and conference post-season championships in volleyball, women's soccer, men's indoor track, and men's tennis. Additionally, four Middle Tennessee coaches earned Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors - Jimmy Borendame (men's tennis), Dean Hayes (men's indoor track), Matt Peck (volleyball), and Whit Turnbow (men's golf).

The Blue Raiders aided their cause by beginning the year with a record 48 points after men's and women's cross country, soccer, volleyball, and football. Middle Tennessee saw gains in four sports from the previous season with women's soccer and men's tennis making the most substantial jump by 3.0 points.

Demonstrating tremendous balance, Middle Tennessee earned seven points or more in 12 of the 17 sports it sponsors and 10 or more points in five sports. Points are awarded based on the number of schools sponsoring the sport. Institutions not sponsoring a sport do not receive points in that sport. Institutions tying for positions split the combined points of their positions.

Middle Tennessee is the only football-playing member to win the Bubas Cup since football became a league-sponsored sport in 2001. The Blue Raiders do not field teams in men's and women's swimming and diving.

Middle Tennessee sponsors sports in men's cross country, women's cross country, women's soccer, volleyball, football, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis, women's tennis, softball, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, and baseball.

Rick Stockstill: "This honor speaks highly to the student-athletes, coaches, administration and support staff within our athletics department. Every year we strive to be the best and most complete athletic program in our conference and we could not win this award consistently without great support from Dr. McPhee, Chris Massaro, and the entire University administration."

Kermit Davis: "I think the Bubas Cup is a tribute to all of the really good coaches that we have on our staff, to all of the players, and a great tribute to Chris (Massaro) and to Dr. (Sidney) McPhee because without their support, winning the Bubas Cup wouldn't be possible."

Rick Insell: "We are constantly promoting the entire athletic program to recruits, to let them know that we have a great overall program with unmatched leadership from President (Sidney) McPhee and Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. It's great to know you have the best overall program in the Sun Belt Conference and it's exciting to be a part of that."

Whit Turnbow: "Winning the Bubas Cup means we have the best all-around athletics program in the conference, and that is a tribute to everybody here, from the secretaries, to the administration, the head coaches, the assistant coaches, the trainers, and the weight-room staff. Everybody that is involved in athletics at Middle Tennessee should take pride in the fact that we are Bubas Cup champions again, because it takes every single one of them to get it done."

Steve Peterson: "It's a great honor for the athletic department, the coaches, and everybody on staff. It is the result of the commitment to athletics all the way up to the President's office, and also shows the excellence in athletics both on the field and in the class room that is so important to everyone here. It's a feather in the cap of Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, that Middle Tennessee athletics is the best in the Sun Belt Conference. "

Dean Hayes: "The biggest thing in my mind is that this signifies just how solid the total athletic program is at Middle Tennessee. There isn't any emphasis on any one program. One of the goals in any athletic department is to be the most solid in the conference, and that's what we've been since we entered the Sun Belt in 2000. In addition to that, it keeps our name up at the top of the Sun Belt, and gives our program more credibility to the public."

Chris Adams: "It's always a goal at this University to win the Bubas Cup. It's nice to be considered the top program and something that everyone looks up to. Very few schools out there can go out and compete for and win championships across all sports like we've done over the years, and that's just a testament to the athletic department."

Aston Rhoden: "Winning the Bubas Cup is a great honor for our athletic department. It is indicative of the hard work that the student-athletes and all of the coaches have done, and the pride that we take in our jobs and our community."

Matt Peck: "All of us who work for Middle Tennessee, from the President on down, are aware that one of the primary goals of our athletic department is to win conference championships. Taking home another Bubas Cup is a testament to that goal, as it represents success across every sport."

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