BYU National Championships
BYU has won a total of 11 national championships in NCAA competition and two National Invitation Tournament basketball titles. The most recent championships were claimed by men's cross country team in 2019 and men's volleyball in 2004. The men's volleyball team also won in 2001 and 1999, and the women's cross country team won championships in 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1997. In addition, there was the 1984 football title, the 1981 men's golf championship, the 1970 men's track and field championship and two NIT basketball titles in 1951 and 1966. Below are summaries of each championship season.
Men’s Cross Country
Year: 2019 Coach: Ed Eyestone
Head coach Ed Eyestone led the BYU men's cross country team to its first NCAA title in program history in 2019. The team was ranked third in the nation coming into the meet behind No. 1 Northern Arizona and No. 2 Colorado, teams that edged the Cougars at the Mountain Region Championship eight days prior. Eyestone's squad beat the odds, defeating NAU – the three-time defending champions and heavy favorites – by a sizable margin of 54 points, 109-163.
BYU took home the West Coast Conference championship and finished 1-2-3-5-7 for a score of 18 points. Six Cougars were named to the All-WCC First Team along with one earning a spot on the Second Team. Eyestone received his seventh WCC Coach of the Year award.
All-American Conner Mantz went undefeated in the first four meets of the season, capturing the individual titles at the BYU Autumn Classic, Bill Dellinger Invitational, Pre-Nationals Invitational and the WCC Championships. He finished third at the national meet, BYU's highest individual finisher since 2006 when Josh Rohatinsky was the national champion.
The Cougars received many key contributions from fellow All-Americans Danny Carney and Heslington. The All-American combo finished 17th and 21st at the national meet, placing ahead of the first NAU finisher. Sophomore Brandon Garnica steadily improved throughout the season, earning All-WCC First Team honors en route to a 42nd-place finish at nationals, two spots away from being named an All-American. Matt Owens ran the first 10k of his career at nationals, bringing home a huge 45th-place finish.
Eyestone became the first person in NCAA history to win an individual cross country title (1984) and coach a team to a title. He was also named 2019 National Coach of the Year.
Year: 2004 Coach: Tom Peterson
The BYU men’s volleyball team headed to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2004 NCAA Final Four as the No. 1 seed and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular-season and tournament champion. Just two victories separated the Cougars from a third NCAA Volleyball Championship.
After defeating defending national champion Lewis University 3-0 in the semifinals, BYU faced Long Beach State for the fourth time during the 2004 season.
Pure determination along with a strong team effort helped the Cougars battle back from a 10-6 deficit in the fifth and deciding game. Led by Carlos Moreno (#5) — the AVCA National Player of the Year — BYU inched its way back and won the final game, 19-17, to capture the 2004 National Championship.
Along with Moreno, the team featured three other All-Americans. Fernando Pessoa (#17) joined Moreno as a first-team selection, while Joe Hillman (#11) and Victor Batista (#18) were named second-team All-American. Moreno was also honored as the NCAA Final-Four MVP.
The entire 2004 season was marked by unprecedented success. The Cougars set a new school record of 21-straight victories and spent 10-straight weeks ranked No.1 in the nation. BYU head coach Tom Peterson also made NCAA history by becoming the first men’s volleyball coach to win a National Championship with two different schools. Peterson led Penn State to a national title in 1994.
With the 15-30, 30-18, 20-30, 32-30, 19-17 win over Long Beach in the finals, the Cougars finished the year with a 29-4 record — the second highest single-season win total in BYU history.
Women’s Cross Country
Year: 2002 Coach: Patrick Shane
On a cold but sunny afternoon in Terre Haute, Indiana on November 25, the 2002 women's cross country team capped a perfect season by winning the NCAA National Championship — its fourth national title in six years.
In addition to winning every race it entered, the 2002 women’s cross country team became the first BYU program to win back-to-back national championships.
Although the Cougars dominated its 2002 competition, the National Championship race had plenty of drama.
Just minutes after the race ended, the meet announcer declared Stanford the winner based on the unofficial results. But during the review process NCAA officials discovered that BYU's top runner, Michaela Mannova, had not been counted properly. Twenty minutes after the race ended, BYU was declared the official winner.
Junior All-American Mannova matched her 2001 national finish, placing fifth overall, while freshman sensation Kassi Andersen followed closely in seventh place. Katie Martin and Breanne Sandberg rounded out the top-four runner for BYU, giving the Cougars four All-Americans. Coach Shane was named National Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Women’s Cross Country
Year: 2001 Coach: Patrick Shane
With the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships returning to Greenville, South Carolina, the site of BYU's first cross country national title in 1997, the scene was set for history to repeat itself.
The Cougars were led by two-time All-American Tara Northcutt, who had been BYU’s top runner in each race she had entered during the 2001 season. BYU returned four athletes from a 2000 team that finished second in the nation, and were bolstered by the addition of two talented transfers, Michaela Mannova and Jessie Kindschi.
The Cougars arrived in South Carolina looking to unseed top-ranked Stanford, the only team BYU had not beaten during the regular season.
But the much anticipated match up between No.1-ranked Stanford and No. 2-ranked BYU never materialized as the Cougars scored an amazing 62 points to defeat runner-up North Carolina State by 86 points, claiming one of the largest winning margins in NCAA history.
Mannova led BYU with a fifth-place finish, followed by Kindschi in seventh and Northcutt in ninth. Lindsey Thomsen and Sarah Taylor finished 23rd and 24th, while Nan Evans placed 36th, giving the Cougars six All-Americans.
The 2001 National Championship was the Cougars seventh-straight top-four finish and third national title in five years. The team’s performance demonstrated once again that the BYU women’s team had become a national powerhouse in collegiate cross country.
Year: 2001 Coach: Carl McGown
After 23 victories, an MPSF regular-season championship, seven weeks as No. 1, and four All-Americans, the Cougars goal for a second national volleyball championship became a reality on May 5, 2001 at the Pyramid in Long Beach, California.
Led by seniors Mac Wilson and Scott Bunker who combined for 13 blocks, the BYU Men’s Volleyball team knocked off 18-time National Champion and top-ranked UCLA to claim its second NCAA National Championship in three seasons.
After defeating Penn State 3-1 in the semi finals, BYU swept the Bruins 3–0, marking the 15th three-game sweep for the Cougars during the 2001 season. The 2001 team was the most decorated in BYU history. Outside hitter Mike Wall earned the 2001 NCAA Final Four MVP award, and was joined on the Final Four All-Tournament Team by Joaquin Acosta and Hector Lebron.
Wall, Lebron, and Scott Bunker were selected first-team All-Americans, while Matt Olsen was named to the second-team.
The team finished with a record of 23–4, the second-highest winning total in school history. Coach Carl McGown was honored a second time as the AVA National Coach of the year, while Hector Lebron was named Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year.
Women’s Cross Country
Year: 1999 Coach: Patrick Shane
For the second time in three years, the BYU women's cross country team ran away with the national title. The Cougars performance at the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Championships was dominant. Just one year after being edged by Villanova in the closest 1-2-3 finish in NCAA history, BYU placed three runners in the top twenty to score an impressive 53-point victory.
Senior Elizabeth Jackson led the way for the Cougars, crossing the finish line in just under seventeen minutes. Her time of 16:59.20 was good for an 11th place overall finish and eight points in the team scoring.
The next four BYU finishers crossed the line within six seconds of each other. Senior Kara Ormond and sophomore Tara Rohatinsky finished together in 16th and 17th place overall. Just seconds behind them, junior Sharolyn Shields and sophomore Laura Heiner rounded out the scoring for the team. All five scorers for the Cougars earned All-America honors. Jackson became the first athlete in BYU history to be named All-American in cross country all four years.
The win solidified BYU’s position as one of the premiere women's cross country programs in the country. The Cougars finished in the top four at the national championships in each of the previous five years, and recorded top-ten finishes in eight of the last ten.
In addition to their national championship trophy, the 1999 team earned several other honors for their performances. Coach Shane received the first-ever Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year Award, after winning six similar awards from the Western Athletic Conference. Senior Elizabeth Jackson was named Mountain West Conference Athlete of the Year and Sarah Ellett took Freshman of the Year honors.
Year: 1999 Coach: Carl McGowan
After dominating NCAA Division I volleyball throughout the 1999 regular season, BYU put the finishing touches on a storybook year by sweeping Long Beach State, 3-0, in the national title match to win its first NCAA Volleyball Championship.
After defeating Penn State, 3-1, in the semifinal match, the top-seeded Cougars savored the opportunity to redeem its only loss of the season against the second-seeded 49ers of Long Beach.
Led by All-Americans Ryan Millar, Hector Lebron, and Final Four MVP Ossie Antoinetti, the Cougar defense dominated Long Beach in the finals, holding the 49ers to a dismal .156 hitting percentage in front of more than 8,000 fans at UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion.
The National Championship was the perfect ending to a 1999 season, marked by unprecedented success. After compiling a 25-1 regular-season mark, BYU defeated Pacific, Hawaii and USC to win its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title and advance to the NCAA Final Four for the first time.
By seasons end, the Cougars had won a school-record 30 matches, including 12-straight to end the season. On February 19, 1999, BYU set a new NCAA men’s volleyball single-match attendance record with 14,156 versus Hawaii at the Marriott Center.
The triumphant season was a tribute to the leadership of head coach Carl McGown. In just 10 years after becoming an NCAA-sanctioned program, McGown assembled one of the greatest collegiate volleyball teams ever. For his efforts, McGown was named the 1999 AVCA National Coach of the Year.
Women’s Cross Country
Year: 1997 Coach: Patrick Shane
Defying the odds, the 1997 BYU women's cross country team defeated Stanford, 100-102, bringing home the first NCAA Championship ever by a BYU women's team.
Entering the 1997 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the experts had picked Stanford, the defending champions to easily win another NCAA title. The media, the coaches' poll and the publications all agreed that Stanford was the nation's No. 1 team. After all, the Cardinal hadn't lost a meet in over a year.
But BYU took home the title in a manor as impressive as the title itself.
All-American Courtney Pugmire finished first for the Cougars with a time of 16:58. She passed two competitors in the last 150 meters to place eighth overall, claiming her fourth All-America honor.
Maggie Chan, shadowed two of Stanford's top runners until the course's final hill, where she passed them both on her way to a 13th place finish and her third All-America award.
Sophomore Elizabeth Jackson finished 22nd to win her second All¬-American citation, and freshman Tara Haynes was 27th, just missing All-American status.
With four of the seven runners finished for both schools, BYU trailed Stanford in the team totals. The championship would come down to where the fifth runner would place.
Then it happened.
With less than 100 meters to go, BYU's fifth runner, sophomore Caisa Monahan, was accidentally tripped by another runner. With the team title on the line, teammate Emily Nay sprinted past Monahan to place 33rd overall and cement BYU's team score at 100.
Now it was a matter of where Stanford's fifth runner would finish.
Courageously, Monahan got up and finished the course just a head of the Cardinal’s fifth runner, knocking Stanford's score back a point and ensuring the Cougars a 100-102 victory and the 1997 NCAA Championship.
Year: 1984 Coach: LaVell Edwards
Led by junior All-American quarterback Robbie Bosco, BYU started the season on the road by upsetting No. 3 Pittsburgh, 20-14, and finished the season by defeating Michigan, 24-17, in the 1984 Holiday Bowl at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego to complete a perfect 13-0 season and become the 1984 National Champions.
The Cougars were named No. 1 by the Associated Press, the United Press International, Sports Illustrated, CNN-USA Today, and the Football Writers of America.
LaVell Edwards was selected as the NCAA National Coach of the Year and was invited to visit President Ronald Reagan in the White House.
Five Cougars were named All-Americans, including Bosco, Kyle Morrell, Leon White, Marv Allen and David Mills. Fifteen players from the 1984 team were drafted by NFL teams.
Year: 1981 Coach: Karl Tucker
The 1981 BYU men’s golf team was the first Cougar team in any sport to win an outright NCAA Championship, defeating Oral Roberts by two shots at Stanford Golf Course in California. The Cougars won the title after finishing runner-up in 1980.
BYU had finished in the top 5 in the NCAA Championships for eight straight years before winning the title in 1981.
Dick Zokol was the low BYU scorer in the tournament, including a second-round score of 66. He finished eighth overall, followed by Keith Clearwater at 10th and Rick Fehr at 15th. Zokol, Clearwater and Barry Willardson were All-Americans.
Men’s Track & Field
Year: 1970 Coach: Clarence Robison
BYU scored 35 points to claim a share of the national title at the 1970 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 16-18 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Cougars were led by All-Americans Altti Alarotu, David Hindley, Ken Lundmark and national champion Ralph Mann who set a new world record of 48.8 seconds in the 440-yard hurdles at the NCAA Championships.
Year: 1966 Coach: Stan Watts
BYU defeated NYU, 97-84, in Madison Square Garden in New York City to win the National Invitation Tournament on March 19, 1966.
BYU achieved a 20-5 record during the 1965-66 season on its way to claiming its second NIT championship.
The Cougars were led by All-American Dick Nemelka, who went on to play professional basketball with the Utah Stars of the ABA.
Year: 1951 Coach: Stan Watts
BYU defeated Dayton, 62-43, in Madison Square Garden in New York City to win the National Invitation Tournament on March 17, 1951.
BYU achieved a 28-9 record during the 1950-51 season on its way to claiming the program’s first national title.
The Cougars featured two All-Americans in Mel Hutchins and Roland Minson, with Minson voted the most valuable player of the tournament.