Florida State’s Men Claim Their First John McDonnell Program of the Year Acclaim

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

June 14, 2011   

NEW ORLEANS – The Florida State men’s program is the winner of the USTFCCCA’s John McDonnell Program of the Year award for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Seminoles were nation’s runner up in the fall at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and at the past weekend’s outdoor track & field championships. The USTFCCCA Program of the Year award, now in its third year of existence, is given to an institution that had the best combined team finishes in each of the NCAA’s cross country/track & field sports in a given academic year.

John McDonnell Men’s Division I Program of the Year Winners

2010-2011: Florida State (1st), Stanford (2nd), BYU (3rd)
2009-2010
: Oregon (1st), Arizona State (2nd), Northern Arizona (3rd)
2008-2009: Oregon (1st), Stanford (2nd), Florida State (3rd)

Bob Braman’s squad also finished fifth at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the winter. FSU was the only program in the country to record top-five national finishes at each of the championships in the year.

"We are really excited. It was a goal of our team at the beginning of the year – like it is every year – to be the best overall program,” said Braman. “It is really difficult when you have 12 scholarships to split up between cross country, indoor track and outdoor track and track has 21 events. So it’s very difficult to balance it out and most universities don’t try. They try to load up in one or the other. To receive this honor really means a lot to us. We won by a large margin and I am just so extraordinarily proud of our young men in all three sports."

The Seminole harriers were ranked by the nation’s coaches as the No. 10 team in the country heading into the cross country national championships in the fall, but shocked the field by finishing as the nation’s runner up with a tightly-packed top five, led by senior Ciaran O’Lionaird (18th, 30:14) and junior Michael Fout (28th, 30:21). Only 42 seconds separated the top five Seminoles, who shattered the program’s previous best finish of eighth, set back in 1981.

In March, Florida State took fifth at the indoor track & field national championships with 30 points. Ngoni Makusha would win the long jump crown and Maurice Mitchell claimed second-place finishes in both the 60 and 200 meters.

Last weekend, at the NCAA’s outdoor track & field championships, the Seminoles came just one point from a national team title, scoring 54 points to three-time champ Texas A&M.

FSU captured four event national titles, two of which came from Makusha who claimed the 100-meter title in a collegiate- and meet-record 9.89 and the long jump title with a best of 27-6¾ (8.40m). Makusha won a share of a third national crown in the weekend as a member of FSU’s 4×100-relay squad. Makusha was on the end of what could be called an “immaculate baton pass” from leadoff leg Kemar Hyman. Hyman handed the baton to Makusha, but it was flipped in the air by the receiver and was caught by Hyman from mid-air. Hyman still had enough time to re-pass the baton to Makusha before the end of the exchange zone. Makusha would hand to Mitchell who handed it to Brandon Byram who would take the baton to the tape for the victory. Mitchell would also later win the 200 meters in a wind-aided 19.99.

Stanford finished second in the Program of the Year Standings as the only other squad to record top-ten finishes at each of the NCAA’s championships this year. With 18½ points (4 XC, =8 ITF, 6 OTF), the Cardinal trailied only Florida State’s nine. Stanford also finished second in the award’s standings in 2008-2009.  

BYU recorded their first top-three finish in the history of the award in scoring 29 points (18 XC, 3 ITF, 8 OTF).

Two-time defending winner of the award Oregon placed eighth in this year’s standings.

A total of 15 programs recorded team finishes at each of the year’s NCAA championships.

The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Arkansas head coach John McDonnell.  McDonnell’s Arkansas teams won a combined 40 National Championships and finished in the top ten in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville. Five of his teams won the NCAA Triple Crown. 

The NCAA Division I Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs.  The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field seasons) based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Division I Championships.

In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships.  Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Division I Championship in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.

The Terry Crawford Division I Women’s Program of the Year Award winner will be announced on Wednesday.

 

Program of the Year Award Standings (Top Five FINAL)
Men’s Division I – John McDonnell Award

1

Florida State

9 pts

2

Stanford

18½ pts

3

BYU

29 pts

4

Indiana

35½ pts

5

Oklahoma

40½ pts