After winning five conference championships during 2018–19, Wright State University has received the James J. McCafferty Trophy, which recognizes the Horizon League’s all-sport champion. This is the first time the university’s athletics program has won the award.
Named in honor of James J. McCafferty, who served as the conference’s first commissioner from 1979-80, the trophy is awarded annually by the Horizon League to a member institution compiling the greatest number of performance points, based on its finish in the league’s 19 championship sports.
Wright State concluded a terrific year of on-the-field accomplishments. The Raiders won regular-season titles in men’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball, as well as postseason tournaments in women’s basketball and golf. Men’s soccer and men’s basketball also advanced to the finals of their postseason tournaments. Women’s cross country placed second at their championship.
The athletic recognition comes amid a stretch of unprecedented academic achievements by Raider student-athletes. In May, the program set a school record with four programs earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards for multiyear Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores that rank among the top 10 percent nationally in their respective sports. In addition, eight teams posted a perfect single-year APR score for 2017-18 (the most recent available data). Wright State student-athletes have a three-year average Graduate Success Rate of 86% and just completed their 51st consecutive term with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
“This is historic and special and really validates our PSA mission and the priorities that it dictates,” said Bob Grant, director of athletics. “We truly value our students-athletes as people first, students second and athletes third. This reinforces that happy, healthy student-athletes can achieve at a very high level athletically, and comes on the heels of record setting academic and exposure achievements. I could not be more proud of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”
Wright State joined the Horizon League in 1994-95 (then known as the Midwestern Collegiate Conference) and has finished in second and third place three separate times, with the latest coming in 2015-16. The university has finished in the top half of McCafferty standing the last three years, despite being in the bottom half of the league in athletics spending.
Wright State finished with 43 points, followed by Oakland with 35 and Milwaukee with 34. For the sports of men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, softball and baseball, points are awarded based on combined regular season (60 percent) and championship (40 percent) finishes. For all other sports, points are based on performance in the league championships.