It’s official: Flagler College has the top athletics program in the Peach Belt Conference. On the back of strong performances by all six of its spring sports, Flagler College captured for the first time the 2018-19 PBC Commissioner’s Cup as announced by the league at its annual awards dinner at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island on Tuesday, May 28.
In addition to the Cup, Flagler won its eighth Institution of the Year Sportsmanship Award.
The Commissioner’s Cup is presented annually to the conference’s best overall athletics program based on regular season standings and select championships. The Sportsmanship Award is also presented annually at the conclusion of each academic year. Flagler received the Institution of the Year Sportsmanship Award six consecutive years (2010-16) and has now added two more such awards to its total (2017-18 and this year.)
This marks the first time in PBC Conference history that a single institution has been simultaneously awarded the Commissioner’s Cup and the Sportsmanship Award. Flagler was a member of the NAIA’s Florida Sun Conference (now The Sun Conference) from 1990 through 2006 and has been a member of the Peach Belt Conference (NCAA Division II) since 2009.
“This is really a wonderful moment for the college and our athletics program,” said Director of Athletics Jud Damon. “The Peach Belt Conference is a great conference with a tremendous tradition of athletics success. For us to be recognized among so many really strong institutions is certainly meaningful to us.”
Damon pointed out that this recognition is particularly significant because it is earned by every student-athlete on every team as well as many others who do not don the Crimson and Gold in the arena of competition. “It has been a total team effort over many years to get us to this point,” Damon said. “From our board of trustees to our president, faculty and staff, coaches, and student-athletes, the commitment to excellence is a driving force at Flagler College – and it’s great to be a part of it.”
The Commissioner’s Cup is determined by calculating the number of points possible for each school, given the number of sports in which they participate, divided by the number of points earned during the year. Points are determined by final regular season finish in each of the PBC’s 15 championship sports. Flagler sponsors 13 of those 15 sports.
Thanks to three conference championships this spring, the Saints tallied a remarkable 50.5 out of a possible 57 points over their six spring sports, upping their overall tally to 95.5 points out of a possible 125 for a .764 rating. The .764 rating is the highest earned by a Peach Belt Conference institution since Armstrong Atlantic State University earned an .803 rating in 2012-13.
Overall, 11 of Flagler’s 13 PBC championship sports placed in the top four of the final league standings.
The Commissioner’s Cup was instituted in the former Florida Sun Conference in 1996. Over the next 10 years, Flagler finished in second place five times, third place twice, and fourth place three times.
Following each championship sports season a Team Sportsmanship Award is presented to the team in that sport that best exemplifies what the award stands for: the spirit of sportsmanship, a high degree of integrity, character and class. Other teams who compete in that sport vote on each team award and points are awarded on how each team finished in the voting.
The Saints earned a Team Sportsmanship Award in softball, women’s golf, men’s basketball, and volleyball. Flagler has won 31 Team Sportsmanship Awards in the last 10 years; more than any other conference institution.
“We are incredibly grateful to be recognized for the way that our student-athletes, coaches, and staff handle themselves in competition,” said Damon. “The Institution of the Year Sportsmanship Award is especially meaningful this time because of winning the Commissioner’s Cup in the same year. We feel that this is affirmation and proof that fielding highly competitive teams and strongly emphasizing sportsmanship are not mutually exclusive endeavors. In fact, they should always go hand-in-hand.”