It’s become almost an annual rite-of-passage for the Pioneers. Last week, Denver Athletics landed the 1-AAA Directors’ Cup as the best Division 1, non-football athletic department in the country for the 2020-2021 season. Since 2008, Pepperdine is the only other program to win the award and COVID-19 canceled the award in 2020. Denver has won the title all the other years since 2008 and this is the Pioneers’ 8th straight Cup.
DU was buoyed by all the Pioneer women’s teams who won conference championships and advanced to their respective NCAA tournaments. Women’s gymnastics, soccer, and lacrosse all advanced in NCAA Tournament play and chipped in with key Director’s Cup points. Denver men’s soccer won the Summit League, men’s lacrosse won the Big East, and men’s and women’s tennis and golf won Summit League titles.
EIGHTH-straight I-AAA @LDirectorsCup 🏆and 12th I-AAA 🏆 in the last 13 years.
— Denver Athletics (@DU_Pioneers) July 2, 2021
An unknown going forward are head coaching changes for men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, and skiing which occurred at the end of this academic year. Surely, spiraling costs of NCAA Division I operations combined with revenue losses and additional costs associated with COVID-19 contributed to the changes. You would be hard-pressed to blame any of the departing coaches for pursuing opportunities at schools in the Power Five conferences, even without the financial strain from the pandemic. While the specific circumstances for these changes are unknown, this will be an opportunity for the current athletic administration to put their fingerprints on these programs. Denver’s banner programs such as hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and gymnastics remain relatively unchanged.
Once again, we’re reminded how fortunate we are to be fans of the University of Denver Pioneers with all of this sustained, long-term success. The Director’s Cup is just one material reminder, even after what has been a tough year for everyone, that DU athletes, coaches, and administration are continuing to deliver results on the field and in the classroom.