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ASU athletics finishes 30th in Directors' Cup, tied for worst ever

Ray Anderson

Athletic director Ray Anderson announces Bob Bowman as the official swim coach for ASU at a press conference on April 24, 2015. 

ASU finished 30th in the 2014-15 Directors' Cup, which measures athletic performance from schools across all sports, tying with the 2011-12 year as the program's worst ever. 

The Directors' Cup began in 1993-94, with ASU ranking in the top-15 in 14 of the first 16 years. ASU placed as high as fourth in 2007-08 led by softball and men's and women's indoor track & field winning national championships. The Sun Devils haven't been as successful since,  not finishing in the top 15 in the past six years.

Stanford won the Directors' Cup for a 21st-consecutive time, with conference rivals UCLA and USC right behind them, giving the Pac-12 a 1-2-3 finish. ASU was seventh in the conference, also behind Cal (12), Oregon (13) and Washington (24). ASU's rivals, the Arizona Wildcats, finished 36th. Even when looking at ASU historically, it has been in the middle of the pack (fourth to seventh in the Pac-12 in all but one season).

High points from 2014-15

– Women's basketball qualified for its first Sweet 16 since 2008-09.

– Football finished No. 12 in the AP poll, its highest final poll result since 1996. The team has won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the '70s

– ASU continues to introduce new sports with it announcing additions of men's ice hockey and triathlon during the year.  

Low points

– Gymnastics, unable to fill out a full lineup on most nights, didn't qualify for an NCAA regional.

– Women's golf saw its record 23-year NCAA championship appearance streak end and head coach Melissa Luellen left for Auburn. Her associate, Missy Farr-Kaye, takes over

– Given that there are six running sports counted in the Directors' Cup, this is one area where it would pay to be good. However, both of ASU's cross country failed to score and men's outdoor track endured its worst showing since 2003

– Men's swimming/diving did not score at the NCAA meet. Michael Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, looks to jump-start ASU's swimming programs. 

I was able to go back all the way to 2002-03 to see how each ASU sport was performing in the Directors' Cup. Each sport goes from 0 to 100 points, with the national champion getting 100, and teams that don't make regionals or NCAA tournaments getting nothing. The sliding scale appears to have changed to its current format after 2001-02, so that's why I cut it off where I did. 

Using each season's totals, it's easy to compare the sports against each other. So I ranked all of ASU's sports by its average Directors' Cup points from 2002-03 to now.

ASU's sports, ranked

1. Golf (W)
2. Softball
3. Outdoor track & field (W)
4. Golf (M)
5. Indoor track & field (W)
6. Indoor track & field (M) 
7. Outdoor track & field (M)
8. Baseball
9. Swimming & diving (M) 
10. Swimming & diving (W)
11. Wrestling
12. Tennis
13. Gymnastics 
14. Basketball (W)
15. Cross Country (W)
16. Football 
17. Soccer 
18. Volleyball 
19. Cross Country (M)
20. Basketball (M)
21. Water Polo

It should be noted that water polo has an incredibly small NCAA tournament and ASU plays in by far the toughest conference, making it even harder to get in. Additionally, sand volleyball will have its first NCAA championship next year. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @jjanssen11 on Twitter.

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