35th Anniversary - Feature 11
Charlotte's Corey Nagy: Four-time All-American
As we continue to travel down memory lane and examine the 2004-09 academic years, we are reminded of a time of growth, development and overwhelming success among the A-10's Olympic sports.
Most notably during this time period, are the additions of Charlotte and Saint Louis. The two tradition-rich schools, which began competing in the league during the 2005-06 academic year, brought with them academic success, national prominence and greater exposure for the Conference as a whole. The 49ers men's basketball program had been to the Final Four and Saint Louis won an NIT title in its hay day. Both programs had great athletic histories and prestige that would push the A-10 to new heights and greater levels of success.
|Saint Louis joined the conference during|
the 2005-06 academic year
The Charlotte men's golf program had the most immediate impact on the A-10. Led by recent graduate (2010) Corey Nagy and current senior Will Golden, the 49ers earned the school's first-ever No. 1 national ranking in any sport during the 2008 regular season and finished in a tie for eighth at the 2008 NCAA Championship. Charlotte concluded the 2008 campaign ranked in the top 10 in every major poll. The 49ers went on to capture their fifth straight A-10 title in 2010 and earned the school's sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid. Nagy became the first athlete in 49ers history to earn All-America honors in each of his four years (2006-10) and is the most decorated 49ers golfer in school history.
The A-10 has also reaped great notoriety from Rhode Island in men's golf. Veteran head coach Tom Drennan was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in January of 2008. Drennan, who is in his 22nd season, has led his teams to 10 of the last 11 New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championships, five Atlantic 10 Championships and 16 straight NCAA Regional appearances. Drennan has been named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year twice, New England Coach of the Year eight times and Rhode Island Coach of the Year on two separate occasions. He will retire after the 2010-11 season.
"I am really looking forward to coaching my last season with the Rhode Island golf program,'' Drennan said. "They are a special group and I am looking forward to working with them. It has been a great experience and I have nothing but praise for the people I have worked with over the years, especially at URI.''
|Rhode Island's 22-year Golf head coach Tom Drennan|
Charlotte's women's soccer program has been quite successful as well. The 49ers claimed back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference regular season and championship crowns in 2007 and 2008. Lindsey Ozimek (2004-07), one of the most highly regarded women's soccer players in A-10 history, was the 2007 A-10 Midfielder of the Year, a three-time first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection and a three-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American earning first team honors in 2006 and 2007. The following year, Ozimek became the first 49er to be a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award (2008). In 2009, she became the first women's soccer player in school history to have her jersey retired.
Saint Louis also gleamed in the national spotlight in the realm of men's soccer. The Billikens have made 46 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, won 10 national titles and advanced to the NCAA title game on 13 separate occasions. Since joining the A-10, SLU made four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Men's College Cup (2006-09) and earned a No. 12 ranking in the final 2007 NSCAA/adidas Top 25 Poll.
|Charlotte's Lindsey Ozimek was the first|
49er Women's Soccer Player to have her jersey retired
The Billikens weren't the only program in the A-10 to draw national attention in men's soccer; Massachusetts has garnered its fair share as well. The Minutemen reached the semifinals of the 2007 NCAA College Cup and ended that year ranked fourth in the final NSCAA/adidas Top 25. Additionally, Zack Simmons, a member of the 2007 College Cup All-Tournament Team, was named a third-team All-America, Umbro/Soccer News National Player of the Year and the A-10's Student-Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
The Massachusetts women's rowing program has also grabbed the attention of many in the A-10. The Minutewomen, under the tutelage of legendary coach Jim Dietz, won its 12th straight Atlantic 10 Championship in 2007 -- the most consecutive A-10 crowns won by any team, in any sport. Dietz, who is in his 17th season at the helm, has guided his teams to 54 Atlantic 10 gold medals in 14 league championship events. He has been honored as the A-10 Coach of the Year seven times.
|Massachusetts Rowing earned its record-setting|
12th straight A-10 title in 2007
Dietz was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in March of 2010, and was also elected as the vice chair to the board of directors of U.S. Rowing in February of 2010. Dietz guided UMass to a fourth-place team finish at the 1998 NCAA Championship in Gainesville, Ga., and his varsity eights earned silver medals at both the 1997 and 1998 NCAA meets. Six of his student-athletes have earned a total of seven Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-America citations.
Dietz also coached the 2000 U.S. Olympic team in Sydney, Australia to a bronze medal in the women's lightweight double and in 1999, he coached the U.S. National Team, taking medals at both the Pan American Games and the World Rowing Championships. In 2003, his women's lightweight double finished fourth at the World Championship in Milan, Italy.
He has had some great rowers to boot. Former UMass rower Sarah Jones became the first-ever UMass Hall of Famer from the rowing program when she was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in September of 2010. Jones, a two-time Atlantic 10 champion in 1996 and 1997, was an NCAA silver medalist in 1997 in the varsity eights.
|Xavier's Lauren Clary|
2005 NCAA Sportsmanship Award Winner
Former Xavier tennis player Lauren Clary made her mark during her four years in Cincinnati (2001-05). Clary was given the NCAA's Sportsmanship Award in 2005 and was one of 13 honorees at the 2006 National Sportsmanship Award dinner. She closed out her career as the winningest female tennis player in Xavier history, earned the A-10's Sporting Award for 2004-05 and was just the second person in conference history to earn Student-Athlete of the Year honors in an individual sport three times. The all-conference performer and four-year starter left the program with a career singles record of 115-25 and 103-27 in doubles, all at the No. 1 position.
From the pitch to the arena, the hard court to the hardwood, Atlantic 10 teams have excelled. Individual student-athletes have pushed their teams to greatness and collectively those teams have claimed numerous accolades and titles, helping to establish the Atlantic 10 Conference as the diverse league it is known as today.
A-10 fans have spoken. Fans selected Phil Martelli being named as National Coach of the Year as their favorite moment of the 2003-04 season.
Scroll through and click the icons below for the membership history of each institution.