The Stanford Cardinal are the athletic teams that represent Stanford University. Stanford's program has won 125 NCAA team championships, as well as 25 consecutive NACDA Directors' Cups, awarded annually to the most successful overall college sports program in the nation. As of February 15, 2019, Stanford-affiliated athletes have won 270 Olympic medals. Stanford's teams compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for college football) level as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, along with other schools from the western third of the United States.
|Athletic director||Bernard Muir|
|Football stadium||Stanford Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Maples Pavilion|
|Baseball stadium||Klein Field at Sunken Diamond|
|Softball stadium||Smith Family Stadium|
|Soccer stadium||Maloney Field at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium|
|Mascot||Stanford Tree (unofficial)|
|Colors||Cardinal and White|
Nickname and mascot history
On November 25, 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot "Indian". A few months after the football team's second straight win in the Rose Bowl in January 1972, the Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate.
From 1972 to 1981, the official nickname returned to "Cardinals," a reference to the color, not the bird. During the 1970s, a number of suggestions were put forth as possible nicknames: Robber Barons (a sly reference to Leland Stanford's history), Sequoias, Trees, Railroaders, Spikes, Huns and Griffins. The last suggestion gained enough momentum to prompt the university to place two griffin statues near the athletic facilities.
On November 17, 1981, school president Donald Kennedy declared that the athletic teams be represented by the color cardinal in its singular form.
Stanford has no official mascot, but the Stanford Tree, a member of the Stanford Band wearing a self-designed tree costume, appears at major Stanford sports events. The Tree is based on El Palo Alto, a redwood tree in neighboring Palo Alto that appears in the Stanford seal and athletics logo.
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Swimming & diving||Rowing lightweight|
|Track and field†||Softball|
|Water polo||Swimming & diving|
|Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.|
Stanford University sponsors 15 men's, 20 women's, and two coed sports varsity teams, primarily in competing in the NCAA Division I and the Pac-12 Conference. The rowing program competes in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, the men's and women's gymnastics, track and field, men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and women's lacrosse all compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the field hockey program competes in the America East Conference, sailing in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, squash program in the College Squash Association, and the synchro program in the USA Synchro.
The men's golf team has won nine NCAA Championships: 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942 (co-champions), 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007, 2019. They have crowned three individual national champions: Sandy Tatum (1942), Tiger Woods (1996), and Cameron Wilson (2014). They have won 11 Pac-12 Conference championships: 1960, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977 (south), 1992, 1994, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019. Other notable players include Tom Watson, Bob Rosburg, NFL quarterback John Brodie, and Notah Begay III.
In 1971 Shelley Hamlin won the women's national intercollegiate individual golf championship (an event conducted by the Division of Girls' and Women's Sports, which evolved into the current NCAA women's golf championship).
Stanford Sailing has won the 1997 Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Team Race Championship, the ICSA Men's Singlehanded Championship in 1963, 1967, and 2006, and the ICSA Women's Singlehanded Championship in 2000 and 2018.
In March 2019, John Vandemoer, Stanford University’s head sailing coach for 11 years, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering for accepting bribes in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, to hold open admission spots at the university for three applicants falsely portrayed as competitive sailors, in exchange for $770,000 in payments to the sailing program. The university fired him. Clinton Hayes was appointed interim head coach.
The Cardinal have appeared in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament 14 times since their inaugural season in 1973, including 11 times in the 20 seasons from 1997–2016. They have seven appearances in the College Cup, including winning the 2015, 2016, and 2017 national championships.
The Cardinal softball team has appeared in two Women's College World Series, in 2001 and 2004. The Cardinal program was the co-champions of the PAC-10 conference in 2005, which is their only conference championship. The current head softball coach of the Stanford program is Jessica Allister.
The Cardinal have won 20 of the 38 NCAA Women's tennis championships that have taken place: 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Stanford has won more than half of all the NCAA women's tennis championships that have been held, and this has been true in every year except 1983, 1985, 2015, and 2017, when Stanford had won exactly half.
The Cardinal have won 8 NCAA Women's volleyball national championships: in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016, and 2018. Stanford is one of only two teams, along with Penn State, that has appeared in every NCAA tournament since its inception in 1981. Stanford has won 8 NCAA championships, the most of any team, and has appeared in 16 championship games, more than any other team.
The Stanford Wrestling team is coached by Jason Borrelli. Borrelli wrestled at Central Michigan University. Currently in his sixth season, Borrelli has compiled a 42-53-3 career record. The Cardinal wrestlers practice in the Weintz Family Wrestling Room, and compete on campus at Burnham Pavilion, with a capacity of about 1,400. The Cardinal Wrestling team have placed in the top 20 at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in 1967 (13th), 2004 (19th), 2008 (19th), 2011 (11th), and 2012 (16th). The team finished third in the Pacific Coast Conference placings in 1933 and 1935, second in the AAWU in 1965, third in the Pacific-10 Conference in 1985 and 1986 second in the Pac-10 in 2008, and third in the Pac-12 in 2012.
Stanford has one national champion in its history: Matt Gentry at 157 pounds in 2004. Through 2015, the Cardinal can claim 21 conference champions and 17 All-Americans, but no team Pac-12 titles.
Notable non-varsity sports
Stanford has fielded a college rugby team since 1906, and replaced football entirely until 1917. Stanford achieved one of the most surprising victories of American rugby's early history by beating a touring Australian club team in 1912. Rugby remained a varsity sport at Stanford until 1977. Despite the loss of varsity status, the Stanford Rugby Foundation covers many of the team's expenses from an endowment fund. Rugby is one of the largest sports programs on campus with over 100 players. Stanford Rugby is led by Director of Rugby Matt Sherman, who has served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's national team.
From 1996 to 1998 Stanford reached the national semifinals in three consecutive years, finishing second in 1998. During the 2010–11 season, Stanford was champion of the Northern California conference, reached the national quarterfinals, and finished the season ranked 4th in D1-AA rugby. Following the 2011–12 season, Stanford were promoted to Division 1-A and played in the California conference, but have since returned to Division 1-AA and now play in the Pacific Western conference. Stanford won the Pacific Western conference in 2014, earning a berth in the D1-AA national playoffs, where they defeated Oregon 24–12 at home in front of a strong crowd, before losing to Arizona 27–24 in the quarterfinals.
NCAA team championships
- Men's (67)
- Baseball (2): 1987, 1988
- Basketball (1): 1942
- Cross country (4): 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003
- Golf † (9): 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007, 2019
- Gymnastics (6): 1992, 1993, 1995, 2009, 2011, 2019
- Outdoor track & field (4): 1925 (unofficial), 1928, 1934, 2000
- Soccer (3): 2015, 2016, 2017
- Swimming (8): 1967, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998
- Tennis (17): 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
- Volleyball (2): 1997, 2010
- Water polo (11): 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2019
- Women's (58)
- Basketball (2): 1990, 1992
- Cross country (5): 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
- Golf (1): 2015
- Rowing (1): 2009
- Soccer (3): 2011, 2017, 2019
- Swimming (11): 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Tennis (20): 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019
- Volleyball (8): 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016, 2018
- Water polo (7): 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019
- † The NCAA started sponsoring the intercollegiate golf championship in 1939, but it retained the titles from the 41 championships previously conferred by the National Intercollegiate Golf Association in its records.
Other national team championships
Below are 38 national team titles in NCAA sports that were not bestowed by the NCAA:
- Men's (17)
- Women's (21)
- ‡ Unofficial by virtue of winning both the collegiate individual and doubles crowns of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association
Below are 41 national team titles won by Stanford varsity and club sports teams at the highest collegiate levels in non-NCAA sports:
- Men's (5)
- Rugby (1) (Div. II): 2002
- Sailing, offshore large boats (2): 1967, 1968
- Ultimate (2): 1984, 2002
- Women's (23)
- Archery (2) (recurve): 2006, 2007
- Rugby (4): 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008
- Synchronized swimming (8): 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2016 (USA Synchro collegiate championships)
- Table tennis (1): 2006
- Ultimate (8): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2016
- Combined (13)
- Badminton (3): 1997, 1998, 1999
- Canoe/Kayak (4) (flatwater): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
- Cycling (4) (road): 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007
- Sailing (1) (team race): 1997 (ICSA)
- Taekwondo (1): 2013
Consecutive years winning NCAA team championships
Stanford's run of 44 consecutive years winning an NCAA team championship is the longest such streak in NCAA history. The next longest NCAA championship streak is 19 years. The most NCAA team championships Stanford has won in a single year is six in 1996-97 (men's and women's cross-country, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's volleyball) and again in 2018-19 (men's golf and gymnastics and women's volleyball, swimming, tennis and water polo). Stanford has won five NCAA team championships in a year three times (1991–92, 1994–95, and 1997–98).
Stanford has won the NACDA Directors' Cup every year for the last 25 years. The Directors' Cup recognizes the most successful overall sports program in NCAA Division I.
The Directors' Cup is awarded annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The Directors' Cup rewards broad-based success in both men's and women's college sports. Points are awarded based on post-season success in NCAA-sponsored sports.
Stanford finished second in the first Directors' Cup competition in 1993-94, behind North Carolina. Stanford won its first Directors' Cup the following year, 1994-95. Stanford has won the Directors' Cup every year since then, winning 25 Directors' Cups in a row from 1994-95 through 2018-19.
- Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation — Fencing, squash
- Arrillaga Family Rowing and Sailing Center — Men's and women's rowing, Women's lightweight rowing, sailing
- Avery Aquatic Center — Men's and women's swimming and diving, women's synchronized swimming, men's and women's water polo
- Burnham Pavilion — Men's and women's gymnastics, wrestling
- Cobb Track and Angell Field — Men's and women's track and field
- Klein Field at Sunken Diamond — Baseball
- Maloney Field at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium — Men's and women's soccer, women's lacrosse
- Maples Pavilion — Men's and women's basketball, men's and women's volleyball
- Red Barn — Equestrian
- Smith Family Stadium — Softball
- Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium — Beach volleyball
- Stanford Golf Course — Men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf
- Stanford Stadium — Football
- Taube Tennis Center — Men's and women's tennis
- Varsity Field Hockey Turf — Women's field hockey
Stanford athletes have traditionally been very well represented at the Olympics. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Stanford sent 47 current or former student athletes, 32 of whom competed for the United States, 14 for other countries, and one as a coach for the United States softball team. In all, Stanford athletes won 25 medals: For the 2012 London Olympics, 39 athletes were from Stanford and 26 represented Team USA.
Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame
The Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame was established on December 21, 1954. The brainchild of Walt Gamage, sports editor of the now-defunct Palo Alto Times, the first class of inductees consisted of 34 Stanford sports greats. New members are inducted annually and are recognized during halftime of a home Stanford football game. The Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame Room is located on the first floor of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center on the Stanford campus.
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- Associated Press (December 5, 1975). "Stanford vote favors 'Robber Barons' tag". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- The NCAA started sponsoring the intercollegiate golf championship in 1939, but it retained the titles from the 41 championships previously conferred by the National Intercollegiate Golf Association in its records.
- "Stanford 2012–13 Men's Golf" (PDF). Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "Men's Tennis History". Go Stanford. Stanford University.
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- College Premier Division
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- Stanford's 1926 football team won the Rissman Trophy as the national champion of one contemporary selector, the Dickinson System, and also was ranked #1 by three retroactive selectors, the Helms Athletic Foundation, the National Championship Foundation, and Jeff Sagarin,
- Stanford's 1940 team was ranked #1 by one contemporary selector, the Poling System, and by two retroactive selectors, Helms Athletic Foundation and Billingsley Report.
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- "Stanford Olympic Medalists From London". Stanford University. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame". Stanford Athletics website. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
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