Streaks are impressive. Hitting streaks, consecutive wins, games played, championship banners; everyone loves a streak.
Joe Dimaggio hit safely in 56 straight games in 1941. Between 1953 and 1957 Oklahoma football won 47 straight games. UCLA's string of seven straight NCAA titles from 1967 to 1973 will never be replicated. The Celtics won the NBA title eight times between 1959 and 1967. In 1971 the Lakers won 33 straight games. Streaks rivet and thrill us.
Aside from the excitement for the observer wondering how long a streak will last, these remarkable things reveal the character of an individual or a team or a program. So it should not be surprising in the least that Stanford is in the midst of a remarkable streak of its own. For the 22nd consecutive year, Stanford has been awarded the Learfield Director's Cup for athletic excellence.
The Director's Cup was created in 1993 by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today to honor the nation's most successful college athletics program each year. It is determined by combining the final season standings in either NCAA championship play or media polls of 10 men's and 10 women's sports. The winner receives a Waterford crystal trophy.
In each but the award's inaugural year (won by the University of North Carolina; Stanford finished second), Stanford University has finished at the top of the rankings. Twenty-two consecutive years of athletic excellence from Cardinal athletes. The combination of men's sports and women's sports for one award allows us to realize just how strong Stanford athletics has been for quite some time. When viewed with a bird's eye, taking the long view of Stanford athletics, the Learfield Directors Cup dynasty reveals what most Cardinal fans already knew: Stanford has had and continues to enjoy a long tradition of excellence, of dedication to academics, and of success on the playing field and in the arena.
What explains Stanford's dominance? For each of the last 40 years, Stanford has had at least one national championship team. Not since 1975 has a year gone by where a Stanford team didn't win a national championship. This longevity in athletic success is created by many things, not the least of which is the invaluable Stanford education. A Stanford diploma opens doors, creates opportunities, and prepares young men and women to change the world. When you admit the best and brightest students and athletes, you enjoy success in all endeavors, whether it be the classroom or the playing field. Simply put, Stanford is an incubator of success.
There's a reason Stanford is known as the "Home of Champions." Stanford wins.