The best year yet!

It was truly an exceptional year for athletics at the University of Delaware. During the 1997-98 season, Blue Hen teams won more than 60 percent of their contests, earned five conference titles (men's golf, men's swimming, men's basketball, baseball and women's lacrosse) and had the football, basketball and baseball teams advance to the NCAA championships.

"I think it's the best year we've ever had," says Athletic Director Edgar Johnson, HNS '67, '70M.

Delaware joined Washington, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Florida State and Clemson as the only six NCAA Division I schools to qualify for the NCAA championships in football, basketball and baseball during the 1997-98 season.

Four UD coaches earned league coach of the year honors: Mike Brey, men's basketball; Bob Hannah, baseball; John Hayman, men's swimming; and Denise Wescott, women's lacrosse. Tony Decker, athletic trainer, was chosen National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.

It was no surprise that Delaware won its seventh straight America East Commissioner's Cup Award for compiling the strongest overall record in the 21 sports sponsored by the conference.

Four teams were ranked among the top 20 for most of the season and a total of seven Blue Hen student-athletes earned All-American honors, 21 earned All-Region honors, 51 earned all-conference honors and two were conference individual champions.

All-American honors went to Brian Smith, AS '98, Beaver Falls, Pa., football; Dorrell Green, CHEP '98, Capitol Heights, Md., football; Kevin Mench, HNS 2000, Newark, Del., baseball; Matt Phillips, HNS '98, Seaford, Del., baseball; Liza Shoemaker, AS '98, Baltimore, women's lacrosse; John Grant, HNS '99, Petersborough, Canada, men's lacrosse; and Krysta Pidstawski, BE '98, Allentown, Pa., softball.

"When you're that fortunate, it's no longer luck," says Johnson, praising the coaches, student-athletes and supportive fans in a Wilmington News Journal interview.

Football
12-2, 7-1 Atlantic 10;
NCAA I-AA semifinalists

* * *

Field hockey
13-7, 6-1 America East
(2nd place), ranked 14th in the final NCAA poll.

* * *

Volleyball
23-12, 11-3 America East
(3rd place)

* * *

Mens' soccer
4-13-1, 1-8 America East
(10th place)

* * *

Women's soccer
10-9-1, 5-4 America East
(4th place)

* * *

Women's cross country
3-2, 4th place,
America East
championships

* * *

Men's cross country
1-1, 3rd place,
America East
championships

* * *

Women's tennis
17-1, 2nd place,
America East
championships

* * *

Women's basketball
6-21, 3-15 America East
(10th place)

* * *

Men's basketball
20-10, 12-4 America East,
America East
champions/
NCAA Midwest Regionals

* * *

Men's swimming
6-4, 1st place,
America East
championships

* * *

Women's swimming
6-4, 5th place,
America East
championships

Men's indoor track and field 5-3, 4th place,
America East
championships

* * *

Women's indoor track
and field
4-7, 7th place,
America East
championships

* * *

Baseball
43-10, 22-2 America East, America East
champions/
NCAA Atlantic II Regionals

* * *

Softball
27-20, 9-5 America East
(2nd place)

* * *

Women's lacrosse
14-4, 6-0 America East
(1st place),
ranked 12th in the final national ranking

* * *

Men's lacrosse
9-6, 3-2 America East
(2nd place),
ranked 16th in the final national ranking

* * *

Golf
America East
champions

* * *

Men's tennis
10-8, 3rd place,
America East
championships

* * *

Men's outdoor track
and field
2-1-1, 3rd place,
America East
championships

* * *

Women's outdoor track
and field
2-2, 7th place,
America East
championships