Unlike last year’s fashion trends, the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup never gets old.
The award is given annually to the nation’s most successful collegiate athletic program. In the 19 years of the contest, Stanford has won 18 times.
Patrick Dunkley, interim director of athletics, picked up the 2012 Directors’ Cup on June 26 at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics meeting in Texas.
The trophy consists of a crystal cup with a solid base. It weighs about 30 pounds, stands more than 2 feet tall and was clearly made to be displayed.
Just ask Richard Dundas, a Stanford graduate and five-year docent at the Sydney and Theodore Rosenberg Hall of Fame. Dundas helps oversee the Hall of Fame – located in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center – and the 14 Directors’ Cups displayed there. The other four are located upstairs in the athletic administrative offices because Stanford simply ran out of room in the Hall of Fame.
"It’s the most significant display and represents the university’s overall athletic success and fame. Most visitors are in awe when they see it," said Dundas, who readily admits that the display is his favorite part of the Hall of Fame room, too.
But there is a slight problem. When your Hall of Fame room is only 4,000 square feet, what do you do with 540 collective pounds of crystal?
Walk into the Hall of Fame room, and the first thing you will see is the immense glass case filled to the brink with Directors’ Cup trophies.
"As you walk in, the sheer dominance and presence of so many Directors’ Cups that are all just jammed in the case and you are, like, oh my gosh!" said Earl Koberlein, senior associate director for intercollegiate sports. "It shows we are a broad-based program. We are not just a football or basketball power. It represents all of our teams and the success they have, and we are very proud of that result."
But Koberlein acknowledged, "It’s a running joke we talk about: Where are we going to put them all?"
The Hall of Fame opened in January 1994, coincidentally the first year the Directors’ Cup was awarded – and the only year Stanford didn’t win. North Carolina placed first and Stanford second. Since that year, Stanford hasn’t lost, despite tweaks in the scoring rules that were designed to increase competition.
The room was envisioned by former athletic director Ted Leland as a place to display the university’s many athletic awards, which at that time were scattered throughout the university.