Colorado State University's tradition of success continues to thrive throughout the entire athletic program, leaving a legacy of champions in its path.
For the past century Colorado State has enjoyed a growing number of team and individual successes that has rendered the university's athletes among the most competitive in the nation.
The combination of dedicated and respected coaches and diligent student-athletes has made the program a source of pride for the Fort Collins community and the state of Colorado. Along the way, athletic achievements have played an integral part in the evolution of the entire university's reputation both nationally and internationally.
The university's enrollment has now surpassed 25,000 full-time students with the number of applicants continuing to escalate. Contributions by alumni members and friends are also at record levels.
Athletics continue to be a vital part of campus and community life in Fort Collins and at Colorado State.
Despite suffering several setbacks during the 2004-2005 season, Sonny Lubick's football squad is ready to get back on the road to success, a road that has included eight bowl appearances and six conference titles under Coach Lubick.
Lubick has, in fact, sheparded in the most successful era in the history of Colorado State's football program. Since 1994, the Rams rank among the top 15 teams nationally in total victories. This success has allowed Lubick to be named conference coach of the year four times during his tenure at the university.
The popularity of the program has reached an all-time high. With attendance at home football games flourishing, recent renovations to Hughes Stadium have been a welcome sight. In 2004 4,400 seats were added to the stands allowing more fans to enjoy live Ram football action. This year a brand new club seating level will enhance the experience of many Colorado State fans.
Colorado State's volleyball program has mirrored the success of the football program over the years. Tom Hilbert, now beginning his ninth season as head coach for the Rams, has enjoyed many successes with the team during his tenure, amassing a record of 220-45, 77-7 in Mountain West Conference play. In 2005, Rams Volleyball made its school-record 10th straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and has advanced to the Regional Semifinals four of the last six seasons.
Also, for the past 10 straight seasons, the Colorado State volleyball team has surpassed 20-matches won. The 2004 season was also the 16th time in the school's 27-year history that the Rams posted at least 20 wins in a single season.
Colorado State men's and women's cross country teams - like the entire track and field program - are under the direction of Del Hessel, a former All-American at Colorado State and a member of the Rams Athletic Hall Of Fame. Hessel was honored last season as the Co-Women's Coach of the Year for the indoor season for the first time in his coaching career, after leading the Ram's to a second place finish at the conference championships in 2005. Hessel has been named the men's indoor coach of the year twice and Co-Coach of the year for men's indoors during the 2004 season as well.
Last year Hessel guided both men's and women's cross country teams to impressive finishes in the NCAA tournament with the women ranking 26th and the men 29th overall.
Colorado State's swimming and diving program is recognized as one of the country's finest under the direction of veteran coach John Mattos. Last season, the Ram's team concluded its season with a fourth place finish in the Mountain West Conference Championships. The team posted a 5-5 overall dual record, with a 3-4 mark in MWC competition and landing an impressive five individuals on the All-Conference first team, and six on the second team
One of the top performers in school history in any sport is Amy Van Dyken, the first female athlete in history to win four gold medals in summer Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996. Four years later in Sydney, Australia, the former Rams All-American won her fifth gold medal.
Four times in the past five years, including the 2004-05 season, Colorado State's women's basketball team has played in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The 2003 team, led by All-American Ashley Augspurger as well as 2002 All-American Angie Gorton, played NCAA first round and both were named Kodak All-American Honorable Mention.
Colorado State's men's basketball team was ranked 14th nationally in blocked shots, averaging 5.4 per game. The Rams also led the Mountain West Conference in free throw percentage (.730), field goal percentage defense (.405), three-point field goal percentage defense (.315), blocked shots per game (5.36) and assists per game (15.11).
Coach Dale Layer has worked diligently and tirelessly to build a foundation for consistent success at Colorado State. Colorado State features a youthful, enthusiastic squad that broke the school record for blocked shots in a season with 150 in 2005.
Colorado State's men's golf team is among the top programs in the nation. Coach Jamie Bermel continues to add to the program's lengthy list of achievements, which includes ten consecutive NCAA Tournament invitations, the longest streak by any men's sport at CSU and ties the women's volleyball team for the most consecutive NCAA appearances.
The women's golf team completed its 2005 campaign with a 15th place finish in the NCAA West Regional with a 61-over-par 925 in the three-day event tying as the Rams' second-best in an NCAA Regional in the program's history. Fourth-year coach Angie Hopkins was named as the Co-Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Rams to seven top-five finishes in 2004-05, including a team title in the 2004 Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic. Senior Kristen Campos earned a spot on the all-MWC team while fellow senior Lynette Duran received the Mountain West Sportsmanship Award as well. Campos' 40th place finish in the NCAA West Regional stands as the best in Colorado State's women's golf history in an NCAA Tournament.
The Colorado State softball team, led by one of the nation's premier softball mentors Coach Mary Yori, finished the 2004-05 season posting a record 30 wins for a third straight year. Five Rams were named to the All-Mountain West Conference Team, putting them second behind the Conference Champion BYU with six and tied with No. 2 ranked UNLV. Sophomore pitcher Jessica Strickland led the Rams for the in batting average and ERA through the regular season, becoming the first player in school history to do so. Strickland was also named to the all-region first team as a designated player and recorded a team-leading .380 batting average, five home runs, 36 RBI's and a record-tying 19 doubles, while leading the team with an ERA of 2.04. Fellow sophomore Brittany Huerta received her first team All-Conference honors, posting a .346 batting average in 2005 after breaking the single-season home run record with 14 as a freshman in 2004.
The Colorado State women's water polo team concluded its inaugural season with an 8-15 record overall and a 9th place finish in the Western Water Polo Association Tournament. Junior Marisa Fernandez was named honorable mention all-WWPA for the 2005 season. Fernandez was second on the team with 23 goals, third with 10 assists and fourth with 24 steals. The Rams finished 39th in the nation in goals per game, averaging 6.3 per contest. With no seniors in 2004-05, the Rams entire team will return for 2005-06.
Veteran coach Jon Messick led his Rams tennis team to a 15-9 finish in 2004-05, marking the team's most dual victories in the program's history. The Rams finished 5th in the Mountain West Conference for the second year in a row, ahead of Wyoming and Utah. Five players will return this season with the addition of three-regionally-ranked prep stars. Sophomore Emily Kirchem was named to the all-MWC women's tennis team, the second all-MWC selection in her career as a Ram. Colorado State tennis produced three MWC Players of the Week during the 2004-2005 season, more than any other year in the program's history.
With ambitious and knowledgeable coaches tutoring skilled and dedicated student-athletes, Colorado State will continue to add to its already prosperous athletics legacy.