Bravo, U of U Athletics - 2019 edition

I just received this e-mail, which I assume went out to all Crimson Club members:

Dear Ute Nation:

As the calendar has now turned to 2020 and as we enter the second half of this school year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible success the Utes are experiencing in competition and in the classroom. It’s an exciting time to be a Ute, and this is an opportunity to pause and appreciate what is happening at the University of Utah, particularly in Athletics.

I’m extremely proud of the performance by our athletics programs thus far in 2019-20. They have set the bar high and continue to contribute to a championship culture that elevates expectations for the entire department.

Each of our fall sports programs received NCAA postseason or bowl game invitations, and one, Volleyball, finished in the Top 10 in the nation.

  • Volleyball: Pac-12 Coach of the Year Beth Launiere’s team reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and finished 9th in the final AVCA rankings, the highest finish in program history.
  • Football: Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year Kyle Whittingham’s team won the Pac-12 South for the second year in a row, won 11 games, and played in the Alamo Bowl, one of the top Pac-12 Bowl partners.
  • Soccer: Coach Rich Manning’s squad qualified for the NCAA Division I Soccer Championships.
  • Cross-Country: Coach Kyle Kepler’s team qualified for the NCAA championship meet and placed 16th, the highest finish in program history, after placing fifth at the NCAA Mountain Regional.

Utah is one of just nine athletics programs in the nation—and one of two in the Pac-12—to have teams in all four of these sports reach the NCAA postseason or a bowl game. The Utes closed the 2019 fall season ranked 25th nationally in the Learfield Cup Fall standings that recognizes overall department competitive success. An astounding 26 student-athletes across the four sports earned All-Pac-12 recognition and 11 earned All-America consideration. Beyond the unprecedented success on the field, 45 student-athletes were named to the fall Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll and Utah Athletics produced a 94-percent figure in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report.

We all are extremely proud of these accomplishments. It’s important that we take time to celebrate and to acknowledge the people and the hard work that goes into success.

As always, it starts with our people: high-achieving student-athletes, elite level coaches and extraordinary staff working together every day. However, credit also goes to those who support our programs in every way, which enable us to deliver a world-class experience for our student-athletes. This would not be possible without you, and we will continue to thrive when we combine all of those elements into our plan for future achievements and growth.

The future is exceptionally bright for Utah Athletics and we look towards exciting new memories in 2020. We will continue to update you on the many happenings here, including the start of construction of the Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium this month, along with many other exciting projects ahead. Thank you all for being a part of the Utah Family.

Happy New Year!

Mark Harlan

Of all the accomplishments last year, the AAU invite is most significant to me. Combined with last year’s accomplishments by student athletes, I can’t remember a better year for the University as a whole. Kudos to the administration, teachers, researchers and students.


Hear, hear!


The strides made by the University as a whole are really quite amazing to see. Props to all who have made this happen.

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