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 10th, in 2003-04:
Directors' Cup No. 10 (2003-04) | 2003-04 Season In Photos
ONE STANFORD MOMENT from 2004 remains frozen in time. Stanford photographer Dave Gonzales was on the upper concourse at Maples Pavilion when he caught the last-second shot from Nick Robinson as the ball left Robinson’s hand.
Stanford was ranked No. 2 in the country and had won its first 19 games of the season when it faced Arizona, the defending Pac-10 champ, was No. 12.
Stanford trailed by four in the final minute, but rallied to tie the score. With Arizona working a final possession for the victory in the closing seconds, Robinson and Matt Lottich trapped Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire, knocking the ball loose.
Lottich reached the ball and threw it forward to Robinson, who had broken downcourt. Robinson scooped the ball, took a couple of dribbles and let fly a running 35-footer at the buzzer.
As the ball released from Robinson’s hand, Gonzales captured the moment. The stunned anticipation in the crowd. Tiger Woods standing in the front row. Jim Plunkett just behind. ESPN announcers Dick Vitale and Brent Musberger in rapt attention, in front of a Sixth Man Club ready to pounce The desperate reach by the Arizona defender. The basket awaiting impact.
The ball swished through the net, and Stanford’s 80-77 victory created bedlam as fans stormed the court in a joyous, yet frightening celebration for those trapped by the bombardment.
Stanford reached No. 1, captured its fourth Pac-10 title in six years, and won its first 26 games, finishing the season with an Elite Eight loss to Alabama. That game was the last for coach Mike Montgomery, who left to coach the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Montgomery is the winningest coach in Stanford history and his success with the Cardinal included 16 postseason appearances (12 NCAA, 4 NIT), four regular season Pac-10 titles, a 2004 Pac-10 Tournament crown and a record of 393-167 (.702).
Robinson’s shot remains one of the great moments in Stanford history and was a highlight of Stanford’s 10th consecutive Directors’ Cup-winning year.
The Cardinal, which was third in the fall and second to Michigan after the winter season, rallied to edge the Wolverines by 111 points, the slimmest margin in Stanford’s decade-long hold on the Waterford crystal trophy. Stanford, which scored 1,337.25 points, won national championships in women's tennis, and women and men's cross country, and was the runner-up in men's swimming. The Cardinal placed eight additional teams in the top 10.
Stanford teams placing in the top 10 were women's gymnastics (3rd), softball (3rd) women's basketball (5th), women's swimming and diving (5th), men's tennis (5th); women's outdoor track and field (6th), men's gymnastics (7th), women's volleyball (9th) and fencing (10th). The Cardinal recorded points in the maximum of 10 women's and 10 men's sports. Stanford averaged 67 points per sport.
For the Cardinal wrestling team, Matt Gentry provided its Nick Robinson-moment. Gentry became Stanford’s first NCAA champion when he beat Ohio’s Jake Percival, 4-2, in a matchup of undefeated competitors at 157 pounds.
Gentry won on a reversal to complete his season with a 41-0 record and usher in a new age for the Cardinal program, which could produce wrestlers that could compete at the highest level.
The Stanford men’s cross country team produced a national-championship meet for the ages. Led by runner-up Ryan Hall, a future U.S. Olympic marathoner, Stanford crushed the NCAA record for largest margin of victory while also sweeping both the men’s and women’s titles.
The men scored 24 points, placing four runners in the top six, and six among the top 13 to win by an ungodly 150 points, the greatest margin of victory in the history of a meet that began in 1938. Stanford’s top six runners finished only 30 seconds apart in winning the team’s second consecutive title and fourth overall.
The Cardinal women, after six consecutive top-five finishes, unseated two-time defending champ BYU, with Sara Bei leading the team with a third-place finish in the cold of Waterloo, Iowa.
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More highlights from 2003-04:
• The Stanford women’s gymnastics team finished third in the country, its best-ever NCAA Super Six finish. The Cardinal earned 15 All-America awards, a Pac-10 title, and Kristyn Smith was named national coach of the year.
• Amber Liu claimed her second NCAA singles title and led Stanford to its 13th team crown. The Cardinal finished a 29-0 season by routing UCLA in the championship match, 4-1.
• Peter Marshall broke the world record for the 100-meter shortcourse backstroke at the NCAA swimming and diving championships (50.32) during Stanford’s run to a second-place team finish. Marshall won three consecutive NCAA titles in that event.
• Nicole Powell earned first-team All-America honors and was a three-time Naismith Award finalist for the Cardinal women’s basketball team. Powell was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and scored 2,062 career points. In 2003-04, she led the Cardinal into the Elite Eight and helped lift the Cardinal back into the nation’s elite.
• Tara Kirk (women’s swimming) and Dan Gill (men’s gymnastics) were presented with Stanford’s Al Masters Award, representing excellence in athletics, leadership, and academic achievement. Kirk won NCAA titles in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, winning the 100 breast all four years. Gill won the Nissen-Emery Award as the nation’s top gymnast.
• Katie Norris won the solo final at the synchronized swimming Collegiate Nationals.
• Alicia Craig won her second consecutive NCAA women’s track and field title in the outdoor 10,000 meters
The Final Count:
1) Stanford, 1,337.3
2) Michigan, 1,226.3
3) UCLA, 1,178.8
4) Ohio State, 1,026.5
5) Georgia, 1,005.3
Stanford’s Top Scoring Teams:
1 (tie), men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s tennis, 100 points each; 2, men’s swimming and diving, 90; 5, softball, 83.
Directors' Cup No. 1: 1994-95
Directors' Cup No. 2: 1995-96
Directors' Cup No. 3: 1996-97
Directors' Cup No. 4: 1997-98
Directors' Cup No. 5: 1998-99
Directors' Cup No. 6: 1999-2000
Directors' Cup No. 7: 2000-01
Directors' Cup No. 8: 2001-02
Directors' Cup No. 8: 2002-03