Heading toward the determination of the winner of the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, gostanford.com will provide a progression of each of Stanford’s 19 consecutive victories. Here is the fourth, in 1997-98:
Directors' Cup No. 4 (1997-98) | 1997-98 Season In Photos
LOOKING FOR AN all-time signature moment in Stanford sports history?
This one, from Bob Murphy’s call in the final minute of the 1998 NCAA Midwest Regional men’s basketball final against Rhode Island, is certainly as good as any:
“MADSEN STUFFED IT, MADSEN STUFFED IT . . . AND . . . HE . . . WAS . . . FOULED!”
A fourth consecutive Directors’ Cup was hardly in question for Stanford. With a new scoring system in place, giving NCAA-winning teams 100 points, rather than 64, Stanford won by 350 points over joint runners-up Florida and North Carolina (1,010 points to 660).
Titles came in men’s tennis for the fourth consecutive season, men’s cross country for the second year in a row, and both men’s and women’s swimming and diving.
But it was a team that didn’t win a national title that created the biggest stir on campus. The Cardinal men’s basketball team reached its first Final Four since 1941-42 thanks to a dramatic 79-77 victory remembered most for a comeback that culminated in Mark Madsen’s dramatic three-point play.
Stanford trailed 71-65 with 59 seconds left, but went ahead when Arthur Lee stripped the ball from a Ram player in the backcourt, and fed Madsen for a dunk as … “HE … WAS … FOULED!” The raucous reaction from Madsen and the intense joy of the moment will live forever in Stanford lore, even as the season ended in the semifinals with an 86-85 overtime loss to Kentucky.
Stanford in 1997-98 was full of great athletes at their best in the biggest events. Bob Bryan, who would join his twin Mike on two NCAA title teams and for 15 Grand Slam doubles championships, was a triple national champ. He won singles, doubles, and the team title in the same season.
The Dick Gould men’s tennis dynasty truly was special. Stanford earned the 16th NCAA team title in a Stanford coaching career that would span 38 seasons, and won its fourth consecutive national championship by sweeping all four opponents in the NCAA tournament to finish 28-0.
Women’s volleyball ushered in another remarkable year for Stanford athletics, which captured at least five NCAA team titles for the third time in four years. In the past two academic years, Stanford won 11 national championships.
Kristin Folkl, one of Stanford’s greatest two-sport athletes, smashed the last two of her 22 kills to give Stanford the 1997 NCAA championship in a tight five-setter over Penn State.
Folkl played volleyball and basketball at Stanford, causing much discussion over where she should focus her immense talents. Volleyball ultimately won the day, with Folkl earning four All-America honors and making as many NCAA all-tournament teams. Her legacy was leading the Cardinal to three national championships in four years, with a young Kerri Walsh joining her for two of them.
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More highlights from 1997-98:
• Victories by Tom Wilkens in the 200-yard breaststroke in the 200 individual medley and Tate Blahnik in the 200 backstroke, and Matthew Pierce in the 200 butterfly and three relays helped Stanford to the NCAA men’s swimming and diving title, the team’s seventh in 14 years, under Skip Kenney.
• In women’s swimming, Misty Hyman won five NCAA titles, including individual crowns in the 200-yard backstroke, 100 butterfly, and 200 fly. She also teamed with Catherine Fox, the 50 freestyle winner, on the winning 200 and 400 medley relays. Hyman and Fox would eventually total 28 All-America honors each, joining Julia Smit as the most in program history.
• The men’s volleyball team won the first eight matches to extend its school-record winning streak to 24.
• Stanford softball recorded its first winning season in 1997 under first-year coach John Rittman and took it a step further in 1998, recording a program-best 41-18 record, its first Pac-10 winning record (17-11), and earning its first NCAA tournament appearance.
• Felicia Zimmermann won women’s epee title at the NCAA fencing championships as the Cardinal earned the second of three consecutive third-place team finishes.
• Stanford's synchronized swimming team, coached by Vickey Weir, won its first national championship.
The Final Count
1) Stanford, 1,010
2) Florida, 660
North Carolina, 660
4) UCLA, 650
5) Michigan 620
Stanford’s Top Scoring Teams:
1 (tie), Men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, and women’s volleyball, 100 points each.
Directors' Cup No. 1: 1994-95
Directors' Cup No. 3: 1996-97