February 2016

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Page 3 of 212

A year ago, the University of Iowa Athletics Department needed a momentum boost. We challenged our coaches and staff to do their part to make "our team" better throughout the 2015 calendar year and in 2016. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, opting instead to set goals and create a plan of action; I am proud of the way the Hawkeyes responded. Since January of 2015… The wrestling program, under head coach Tom Brands, won the Big Ten Conference Dual Championship, shared the Big Ten Tournament title with Ohio State, and finished runner-up in the NCAA Championships. Lisa Bluder's women's basketball team won 26 games, waltzed through the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships, and took on fifth ranked Baylor in the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City. The men's basketball team, under the direction of Fran McCaffery, won 22 games, including our first NCAA Tournament game since 2001. Rick Heller's Hawkeye baseball team finished the season with 41 victories, two of them com- ing against Oregon in the NCAA Regionals, our first appearance there since 1990. These accomplishments created an impressive snowball of momentum. It would have been easy to take the strides we made for granted. Fortunately, thanks to hard work, intentional focus, and planning we've maintained a strong forward push. Head coach Kirk Ferentz and the football team won their first 12 games, a Big Ten West Divi- sion championship, and played in the Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California. The Hawkeyes earned a final national ranking of ninth in The Associated Press poll. At one point late in 2015, our football, women's basketball, men's basketball, and wrestling teams were all ranked in a national top 25 poll. Hawkeye wrestling is undefeated through 14 duals and ranked No. 2 in the country; men's basketball climbed as high as No. 3 in national rankings and is 18-4 overall, 9-1 in the Big Ten. The success stories don't stop there: Coach Larissa Libby's women's gymnastics team opened the Big Ten season with impressive victories against Michigan State and Ohio State and then a road win at Maryland. Men's tennis has had early impressive wins against nationally ranked Utah State and Cornell. Amidst one of the most competitive runs in Iowa athletics history, our student-athletes have earned back-to-back years with a record Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent. Remarkable! Everyone in the Hawkeye Family is committed to the WIN! GRADUATE! DO IT RIGHT! mission. With the continued hard work and dedication of our coaches, staff, and student-ath- letes — and the ongoing support of the best fans in the country — the momentum can con- tinue and I believe the best is yet to come. Thank you! Go Hawks! WIN. GRADUATE. DO IT RIGHT.

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