49er Athletics Ranks Amongst Sports Illustrated's Best in the Nation
LBSU won six conference titles, went to five NCAAs
Long Beach State's Athletic Department is ranked in Sports Illustrated’s national top-40 for overall excellence during the 2007-08 school year. The 49ers were part of the "best of the rest" category, receiving 18.5 points. Arizona State was the overall winner, followed by Stanford. UCLA, North Carolina and Georgia.
Last year, LBSU won six conference championships, sending five teams to NCAA tournaments. The men's volleyball team reached its fifth NCAA Final Four, while traditional powers continued their NCAA prowess in women's volleyball (22 NCAA tournaments), baseball (19), softball (18) and women's tennis (6).
Individually, the 49ers garnered 10 All-American and 11 conference players of the year selections including the National Player of the Year in Paul Lotman (men's volleyball) and an academic and athletic All-American in first baseman Shane Peterson (baseball). Men's volleyball had three All-Americans, while baseball and track and field had two All-Americans each. Women’s soccer defender Amanda Perry was named a second team Academic All-America as well.
From a coaching standpoint, six coaches were named conference coaches of the year, led by Alan Knipe (men's volleyball), who also earned Volleyball Magazine's National Coach of the Year honor. Veteran coaches Mike Weathers (baseball), Jenny Hilt-Costello (women's tennis) and Andy Sythe (men's track and field) were honored again for their leadership, while Gavin Arroyo (men's water polo) and Kim Sowder (softball), were named for the first time.
The Olympics also had a 49er flavor to it (LBSU has had a representative in every one since 1952), as six former volleyball players represented the U.S. in Beijing, led by gold medalist Misty May in beach volleyball.
For the Sports Illustrated poll, points were awarded based on national championships in 22 sports (11 men's — baseball, basketball, cross country, Division I-A football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor track and field and volleyball; and 11 women's — basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field and volleyball), conference championships and final rankings in the national top-30.