May 4, 2005
By Jon Wilner
San Jose Mercury News
It was a memorable weekend for Santa Clara athletics -- and the opening of Stephen Schott Stadium was only half the reason.
The Broncos also clinched the Commissioner's Cup, given to the most successful athletic department in the West Coast Conference during the academic year. SCU had finished second to Pepperdine each year since the competition began in 2001-02.
Although SCU won't receive the trophy until the league meetings this summer, the Broncos are in full celebration mode. First-year athletic director Dan Coonan is sending out e-mails to alumni this week and will present the athletes with commemorative T-shirts at the senior banquet later this month.
``A lot of teams, especially women's soccer, have, as other sports have come up, been pushing them along,'' Coonan said. ``They kept saying, `We've got to win this thing.' ''
The difference for SCU this year was consistency. Only one team finished in the lower half of the league (women's tennis), compared with four last year.
Men's golf improved from eighth place to third, men's basketball from fifth to third and women's basketball from sixth to third.
``I think men's golf was disappointed they didn't finish even higher, but they made a huge jump,'' Coonan said.
SCU clinched the Cup last weekend when the women's rowing season ended with SCU holding a 7.5-point lead over San Diego with one sport outstanding (baseball). But based on a formula that gives a team eight points for finishing first and one for finishing last, USD cannot overtake Santa Clara.