GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Riding a strong fall athletics season that saw three of its teams qualify for NCAA competition and with at least two more squads preparing for post-season play this spring, Furman is poised to make a run at its best ever finish in the Learfield Director's Cup Competition, according to recently released standings.
The current standings, which reflect completed NCAA competition in 23 sports, have Furman with 173 points, good for 79th among all Division I programs and easily tops among Southern Conference schools.
The standings include 222 schools that have accumulated points via NCAA Tournament competition thus far.
Furman's football team scored competition points following an 2017 season that saw the Paladins go 8-5 and advance into the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.
The Furman men's and women's cross country teams tallied points after both claimed their fifth respective consecutive SoCon Championship in 2017. The Paladin women, who placed second at the Southeast Region meet to earn the program's first trip to the NCAA Championships, finished seventh at the national meet, while the Paladin men, who posted their first Southeast Region title in the fall, tied for 26th at the national championship meet.
Furman will add to its overall points tally with upcoming national tournament appearances by its women's tennis and women's golf teams, both of whom claimed recent SoCon Tournament championships. In addition, runners representing the Paladins' men's and women's track & field squads appear set to qualify for national championship competition, thus boosting Furman's overall points total.
A year ago Furman finished 98th in the Learfield Director's Cup Competition — the highest by a SoCon school for a second straight year following a 92nd place showing for the 2015-16 school year. The 209 competition points Furman earned for 2016-17 is an all-time high for Paladin athletics, topping the 208 points garnered for the 2001-02 school year when Furman finished 86th in the competition — its best ever finish.
Given annually since 1994 to the school with the most successful, broad-based athletics program based on national finishes in both men's and women's sports, the Learfield Directors' Cup was originally developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information