June 1, 2011
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND - On September 25, 2001 a new era of Spider Athletics was christened when the University of Richmond competed in its first official Atlantic 10 Conference event. A highlight was created that evening when the women's soccer team won a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime decision against George Washington. Ten years later, the highlights are still coming.
The unprecedented success of the past decade doesn't even include the CAA-based football program, which has etched its own special place in the annals of Spider Sports memoirs by winning four conference titles and the historic national championship in 2008.
Now, here's a chance for Spider faithful to help us celebrate 10 years in the Atlantic 10. Through the end of June, vote for your Top 10 highlights from Richmond's first 10 years in the Atlantic 10. The online ballot is located at the bottom of this page. Please vote as many times as you'd like, and feel free to share this ballot with other Spider faithful.
Beginning in August, RichmondSpiders.com will kick off a weekly "10 for 10" countdown, with archived stories, photo galleries and a video feature on each of the Top 10 highlights. We'll begin with No. 10 and culminate with the No. 1 highlight from Richmond's first 10 years in the Atlantic 10.
Enjoy reliving these memorable highlights then cast your ballot for your Top 10!
2010-11 It's A Great Time to be A Spider!
Spider teams ended Richmond's first 10 years in the Atlantic 10 with an emphatic exclamation point. Five programs won conference titles - Men's & Women's Cross Country, Men's Basketball, Women's Swimming & Diving, and Women's Tennis. Two others, lacrosse and baseball, advanced to the A-10 Championship Game, while men's golf placed third - just six strokes out of first. Individually, sophomore Nick Austin tied for first at the Men's Golf Championship; a UR-best five track & field student-athletes earned spots at the NCAA National Championship and sophomore Lauren Hines qualified for the NCAA Swimming & Diving National Championship, marking the seventh time in eight seasons the Spiders were represented at that event. Women's basketball advanced to the postseason for the third straight year. Men's basketball, which finished nationally-ranked for the second consecutive season, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history, while winning its first A-10 title. And fans noticed. Richmond had the 13th-highest increase in average attendance and finished in the top-100 in the nation in men's basketball attendance for the 2010-11 season.
38 conference championships
Spider athletic teams have captured a league-best 38 Atlantic 10 titles in 10 years in the league (2001-2011). Included are 11 teams with at least one title and six teams with multiple championships. Not included is the CAA-based football team which won four more conference titles during that span, and the 2008 National Championship. The next closest A-10 school is Charlotte with 27 titles.
Baseball's Super Season - 2002:
The Spiders set a school record with 53 wins, including 22-2 in the A-10, won the NCAA Winston-Salem Regional by defeating fourth-ranked Wake Forest twice, and took Nebraska to a third and decisive game in the NCAA Super Regional in Lincoln, Neb. - one win away from the College World Series. Tim Stauffer was named First Team All-American, leading the nation in wins and ERA for a starting pitcher. The Spiders finished ranked 13th in the nation, their highest ranking ever.
Coach Atkins Wins #700; Enters Hall Of Fame - 2007:
Retiring head coach Ron Atkins was inducted into UR's Athletics Hall of Fame prior to his 23rd and final season. On March 28 at Pitt Field, the Spiders gave Atkins, already UR's all-time winningest coach, his 700th victory in a 4-3 triumph over James Madison. On March 2, the Spiders shocked 11th-ranked Wichita St., 11-10, just the second team in 30 years to spoiler the Shockers' home opener. Future pro Joe Mahoney went 4-4 with a double, homer and 2 RBI.
Men's Basketball Makes Immediate A-10 Impression - 2002:
In its first year in the Atlantic 10, the Spiders finished second in the West (11-5), received a first round A-10 Tournament bye, and advanced to the A-10 title game before falling to Xavier. The Spiders made a run to the NIT quarterfinals before losing to Syracuse in front of a sell-out crown at the Robins Center, ending the season with 22 wins.
Men's Basketball Stuns No. 10 Kansas; Earns NCAA At-Large Berth - 2004:
The Spiders scored one of their biggest regular season triumphs in school history, winning at No. 10 Kansas 69-68, ending the Jayhawks 52-gm home court win streak vs. unranked opponents in a game nationally-televised by ESPN. Immediately prior to the game at Kansas, the Spiders won at Temple, and followed the victory over the Jayhawks with a win at Xavier. Those three road triumphs propelled the Spiders to their second-ever NCAA at-large berth.
Men's Basketball's Unprecedented Success - 2009-2011:
In back-to-back years, the Spiders advanced to the NCAA tournament, finished nationally-ranked and set school records for wins, including six triumphs over nationally-ranked teams. In 2010-11, the Spiders won their first A-10 title and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history. In 2009-10, Kevin Anderson was named All-American and A-10 Player of the Year; in 2010-11 he earned A-10 Tournament MVP honors.
Women's Basketball Earns NCAA At-Large Berth - 2004-05:
Richmond received an at-large bid as the No. 11 seed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament after posting a 23-8 record and winning a program-best 12 A-10 games. The appearance marked the Spiders' third in program history. Richmond received its first-ever national ranking that year, coming in at No. 25 in the USA TODAY poll in mid-January.
Brittani Shells, Kevin Anderson Reach 2000-point Milestone On Same Day - 2010-11:
Shells became the second-ever UR women's basketball player to record 2,000 points (2042 - second on all-time list). Anderson became the third UR men's player to eclipse 2,000 points (2165 - second on all-time list). Shells and Anderson both tallied their 2,000th point Feb. 26 (Shells against Saint Louis at home, Anderson at Charlotte. Both were reverse lay-ups), becoming the first male and female college basketball players at the same school to accomplish that feat on the same day.
Cross Country Captures Men's & Women's Championships - 2010:
The men captured the program's first A-10 Championship, while the women claimed their third. Andrew Benford secured the men's title and set a new course record for the 8K at 24:12. The women won their second title in the past three years. Both programs competed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, and the men received a bid to the NCAA National Championship, finishing 24th in the nation.
Field Hockey's Five Straight Titles - 2002-06:
Won five straight A-10 titles and NCAA appearances (2002-06) as well as six in a span of eight seasons. During that eight year stretch, the Spiders earned 10 A-10 Player of the Year Awards, 3 Coach of the Year Awards, had five All Americans and were nationally ranked in six seasons.
Men's Golf NCAA-Bound - 2006:
The men's golf team earned an NCAA Tournament At-Large Bid, the Spiders' first since 2001 and 4th all-time. Adam Decker was named State Coach of Year.
Women's Lacrosse's Three-Peat - 2005-07:
Richmond won three-straight A-10 titles (2005, 2006, 2007) and made three consecutive NCAA appearances. Richmond's three lacrosse titles are second most in the A-10.
Robins Stadium Opens - 2010:
While football christened the much-awaited, $25-million on-campus facility by going 5-1 in the inaugural season, 8,700-seat Robins Stadium, with its brick architecture and modern amenities - including high-quality video board and state-of-the-art sound system - has become home for Spider athletic teams competing in the Atlantic 10 - women's lacrosse, men's & women's track & field, men's soccer and women's soccer.
Men's Soccer's First NCAA At-Large Berth & First Place Finish - 2002-2003:
The Spiders earned their first-ever NCAA at-large berth in 2002, making their third all-time appearance. In 2003, men's soccer won its first Atlantic 10 regular season title, its eighth consecutive winning season.
Women's Soccer Sweet 16 - 2002:
Richmond beat top-seeded Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 Tournament to capture its first conference crown. Sophomore Meghan Ogilvie was named Tournament Most Outstanding Player. The Spiders beat Clemson 1-0 for their first-ever NCAA win in the first round, then beat JMU 1-0 to advance to the school's first-ever Sweet 16 in a women's sport. The Spiders fell to Portland in the third round, and finished with a 14-6-2 record, the most wins in program history.
Swimming & Diving's Dynasty:
Cementing its place as one of the most successful programs in conference history, the Spiders won A-10 titles in their first eight years in the league, just the fourth team in league history to win eight or more consecutive conference titles, and then added a ninth in ten years in 2011. Brooke Boncher and Jessica Witt were All Americans. Boncher, Witt, Mary Adams, Lauren Beaudreau, Katie Sieben and Matt Kredich won four A-10 Coach of the Year Awards while his successor, Matt Barany, won three straight, and four overall.
Men's Tennis Nets Four Titles:
In the first year in the A-10, Men's Tennis captured the 2002 Conference title and earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. The Spiders won three straight A-10 titles in 2004, 05, 06, giving them four titles and NCAA appearances in five years.
Women's Tennis Aces A-10 Eight Times:
Richmond enters the 2011 postseason having won its third-straight and conference-record eighth A-10 crown in past nine years. A-10 Coach of the Year Mark Wesselink guided Richmond to its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, seventh in the last eight years, and its 17th winning season. It was the sixth time Wesselink garnered the award.
Spiders In The Pros:
When Tim Stauffer was selected with the fourth pick in the first round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft, he became the highest-drafted Spider ever. He's now a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Although undrafted, Paris Lenon began his pro football career in 2001 and has spent ten years in the National Football League, now suiting up for the Arizona Cardinals. One of his teammates is Tim Hightower, who Arizona selected in the fifth round in 2008. Tim played in Super Bowl XLIII. Lawrence Sidbury, MVP of the 2008 FCS National Championship Game, was picked by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round of 2009. Defensive back and punter returner Justin Rogers was selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft by Buffalo. And still to come, All-Atlantic 10 First Team men's basketball standout Justin Harper is expected to hear his name called in the June 23rd NBA Draft.