June 22, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
A second-straight national championship by the Florida State men’s outdoor track and field team capped a tremendous 2006-07 school year for the FSU athletics department on and off the field.
All told, 13 of the Seminoles’ 17 teams finished the year in the top 25 nationally with five of the squads cracking the top five. In addition to its back-to-back outdoor titles, the men’s indoor team placed second at the NCAA Championships. On the women’s side the FSU soccer team reached the College Cup for the second year in a row – the third time in four years – and finished fifth in the national rankings.
Many of Florida State’s teams achieved new heights in 2006-07 or reclaimed past excellence. The women’s basketball team reached the “Sweet 16” for the first time in the program’s history and ended the year with its highest ranking ever at No. 19. The men’s swimming and diving team won its first ACC title while indoor and outdoor titles by the men’s track and field teams pushed their run to six-straight ACC crowns. The men’s golf team made its first appearance in the NCAA Championships since 1996.
Individual honors were plentiful, starting with sprinter Walter Dix, who was named the NCAA Division I Men’s Track Athlete of the Year after he won the 100-meter and 200-meter races and took part in the winning 4×100 meter relay. Seminole second baseman Tony Thomas Jr. was named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball.
Dix’s teammate Ricardo Chambers captured his first national title by winning the 400-meter dash. In the pool, freshman Terry Horner brought home a national title on the one-meter board for Florida State’s first diving championship since 1971. Women’s golfer Caroline Westrup captured the title at the Women’s Golf World Amateur Championships.
Florida State athletes accounted for 56 different All-America awards in 2006-07. At the conference level they brought home 87 All-ACC honors and won 11 end of the year ACC awards (Player, Coach, Freshman, etc. of the Year).
Leading the way amongst Seminole coaching accolades was track and field boss Bob Braman as he was named NCAA Division I National Men’s Coach of the Year. The best turnaround in school history and a No. 13 national ranking – the highest in Seminole tennis history – earned women’s tennis coach Jennifer Hyde ITA South Region Coach of the Year honors. The winningest football coach in Division I history Bobby Bowden and Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Longtime Florida State dugout boss Mike Martin was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame.
Numerous athletes moved on to the professional ranks, headlined by linebacker Lawrence Timmons – who led the Seminoles to a victory over UCLA in the Emerald Bowl – as the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Forward Al Thornton is expected to be a lottery pick in next week’s NBA Draft. Eight baseball players went in the major league draft, topped by Thomas as a third-round selection of the Chicago Cubs. Three-time All-American Veronica Wootson joined the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Success wasn’t limited to athletic competition as the Seminoles had an excellent year in the classroom. Florida State ranked second to only Duke with 200 student-athletes, its highest total ever, on the ACC Honor Roll – which requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. The average team GPA rose from 2.788 in the fall to 2.867 in the spring while the individual student-athlete GPA increased to 2.795 during the spring term.
Swimmer Alex Kennon received the highest individual academic honor with an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Kennon was joined by Sarah Griffin (volleyball), Kelly Rowland (soccer), Andrew Diakos (track & field) and LaKendra McColumn (track & field) as ACC Weaver James Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship recipients. Griffin was one of six Seminoles to be recognized with CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District accolades.
Florida State student-athletes know how to give back to the community as they logged more than 5,300 hours of community service. The athletics department won the National Consortium for Academics and Sports award at its annual conference for the most successful outreach and community service program for the 2005-06 academic year.