Building champions on the field and in the classroom

This has been a banner year for the Miami Hurricanes, both on the field and in the classroom.

It began with the Hurricanes’ epic men’s basketball run that began with a 13-0 start in ACC play – who could forget the 27-point upset of No. 1 Duke at home and fans storming the BankUnited Center court? – and culminated in ACC regular-season and tournament titles on the hardwood.

Led by future NBA first-round draft pick Shane Larkin and National Coach of the Year Jim Larranaga, the Hurricanes advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and posted a school-record 29 wins.

Women’s tennis advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fifth consecutive year and won the program’s first ACC women’s tennis championship.

Baseball made its 41st consecutive NCAA postseason appearance – the longest active streak in any sport.

Then, of course, there’s the 7-0 start by the Miami Hurricanes football program, which catapulted the team to No. 7 nationally. The Hurricanes will go to their first bowl game since the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl and the first under third-year head coach Al Golden.

Fifteen of Miami’s 18 varsity sports advanced to NCAA postseason play during the 2012-13 athletics season. Clearly, the on-field accomplishments have been outstanding, but what could be better? Miami’s success in the classroom.

Miami’s department-wide GSR is tied for third among ACC schools and 10th overall among FBS programs. UM has exceeded the NCAA average GSR in each of the last nine years. In 2012, Miami set a school record with a 93 percent GSR, a year after establishing a then-record at 89 percent.

When the GSR rankings were released in October, Miami had the highest score of the remaining 10 undefeated FBS programs (Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Missouri, Alabama, Oregon, Texas Tech, Fresno State, Baylor and Florida State).

Eight teams compiled GSR marks of 100 percent. Men’s diving and golf each posted their ninth consecutive perfect marks, while women’s tennis recorded its sixth straight GSR score of 100 percent.

Baseball, women’s track & field/cross country, rowing, women’s swimming and volleyball also tallied perfect GSR scores. It was volleyball’s third straight year with a perfect GSR; rowing and women’s swimming posted perfect scores for the second straight year. Baseball had the largest jump of any UM program, improving by 20 points (80 to 100) and has improved by 40 points (60 to 100) since 2010.

Earlier this year, three Hurricanes teams received APR Public Recognition Awards for being among the top 10 percent in APR – men’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s golf. Six teams scored 980 or better out of a possible 1,000 points – baseball (983), men’s basketball (990), men’s tennis (993), women’s cross country (1,000), women’s golf (1,000) and women’s swimming (989).

Not to be lost in the impressive APR and GSR numbers: Miami student-athletes set athletics department records with a 3.01 GPA for the spring 2013 semester and a 2.98 cumulative GPA.

It’s full speed ahead at The U.

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