When I accepted this position as your Director of Athletics and Recreation over three years ago, my unwavering charge was to guide our entire athletic program to national prominence.
I hope you have had a chance to read some of the local press we have received recently that addresses this very topic. You will find that we are well on our way toward building a broadly successful program that can compete at the highest levels of competition.
I am proud to report four of our six fall sports are currently ranked among the top-20 in the country and a fifth is quickly earning a reputation as one of the top programs on the West Coast.
Men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and men's water polo are each currently among the country's top-rated programs in the various rankings. Women's cross country is ranked 10th in the NCAA's West Region, which is a major stride forward after finishing 23rd in the region just a few years ago.
Over the last three years, we have been able to either hire or extend the contracts of the coaches who guide these sports. Women's soccer coach Jerry Smith and volleyball coach Jon Wallace are considered two of the top coaches in the nation and we have worked hard in the last two years to ensure they will remain Broncos by extending their contracts.
Men's soccer coach Cameron Rast has been a part of Bronco soccer for over a decade since his All-America career at Santa Clara. He was well prepared to take over the reigns when we hired him as our head coach a little over a year ago.
Men's water polo coach Keith Wilbur and women's cross country coach Tom Service were each hired within the last few years and have brought energy, enthusiasm and a sense of high expectation to each of their sports.
In addition to our athletic success, a recent NCAA report showed we retained our position as the West Coast Conference leader in graduation rates. And, we continue to have the second-highest success rate in this area among Division I institutions in the state of California.
Bronco athletics has momentum. We have widely been considered an athletic department on the move with a reputation for excellence and integrity. I think we have a program that, in many regards, can serve as a model for other institutions of similar size and scope.
I hope you as proud of the achievements of your athletic program as I am to be the person responsible for guiding it.