Blue Raiders capture fifth straight All-Sports trophy

Program won prestigious award 9 times in 13 years

May 21, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee continued its dominance of the Sun Belt Conference by winning the 2012-13 All-Sports Trophy for a league record-tying fifth straight time as announced by the SBC office Tuesday night. The Blue Raiders equal the consecutive mark of five in a row set by South Florida from 1978 to 1982.

The Blue Raiders, who begin play in Conference USA in August, leave the SBC like they came in by winning the Vic Bubas All-Sports Trophy. Overall, MT won the award given to the top all-around sports program for the ninth time in 13 years.

The Blue Raiders, who scored 132.5 total points (out of a possible 189), were presented their ninth trophy Tuesday during the league meetings in Destin, Fla. Middle Tennessee won this year's prestigious trophy by a margin of seven points over second place North Texas.

Middle Tennessee won or shared five conference championships during the 2012-13 campaign to secure its fifth straight all-sports title and sixth over the last seven 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, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Middle Tennessee becomes just the third school in Sun Belt history to win the award nine times and no school has won the award more since the Blue Raiders joined the league in 2000-01.

"We strive each year to be the best all-around program in our conference and to win this trophy five straight years and nine of 13 is a truly phenomenal feat," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "It's a culmination of the hard work of our student athletes and coaches. 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 North Texas for the award, while WKU was third and South Alabama fourth. The Blue Raiders' All-Sports Championship was bolstered by regular season titles in men's and women's basketball, and women's soccer while garnering conference post-season championships in women's basketball and men's outdoor track. Additionally, three Middle Tennessee coaches earned Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors -Kermit Davis (men's basketball), Aston Rhoden (women's soccer), and Dean Hayes (men's outdoor track).

The Blue Raiders aided their cause with a very strong fall. The Blue Raiders had 42.5 points in five sports during the fall which was up eight points from 2011. Middle Tennessee saw gains in five sports from the previous season, including women's cross country, soccer, football, men's outdoor track, and women's outdoor track. Football made the most substantial jump by 6.0 points from the previous year while women's cross country was second at 4.0 points.

Demonstrating tremendous balance, Middle Tennessee earned seven points or more in 13 of the 17 sports it sponsors and 10 or more points in six 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 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. The Blue Raiders do not field teams in men's and women's swimming and diving.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.