History Of Team National Championships For BYU Athletics

May 8, 2021, 12:20 AM | Updated: Dec 6, 2021, 7:17 pm
BYU Cougars - National Champions...
BYU Cougars National Champions. (Photos courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Photos courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Since Brigham Young University was founded in 1922, the BYU Cougars athletic programs have won 11 National Championships in their history.

Here’s a history of the National Championships BYU sports have claimed over the years.

BYU Cougars: National Championship History

BYU has a total of 10 National Championships from NCAA events. The 1984 football National Championship was not an “NCAA title.” It was a National Championship awarded by the Associated Press and Coaches poll in those days.

BYU’s 10 NCAA National Championships is tied with Alabama, Florida State, Harvard, Old Dominion, San Jose State, and Wayne State (Michigan).

For individual sports, BYU athletes over the years have claimed 76 individual national championships. 31 of the 76 individual National Championships are from men’s outdoor track.

National Championships before 1984

  • 1981 Men’s Golf
  • 1970 Men’s Track & Field

1984 – Football

The controversial 1984 BYU football national championship is still a talking point in college football to this day. After an undefeated 13-0 season, the pollsters gave BYU the National Title. The Cougars and the Holiday Bowl did everything they could to land the best possible bowl game to get a “National Championship” style of game in that poll era.

Instead of Tennessee, Washington, South Carolina, or someone else with a better record, BYU was left with 6-5 Michigan. BYU won that game and weeks later was atop the polls to win the National Championship.

1997 – Women’s Cross Country

The first national championship by a women’s team at BYU came in 1997 when the cross country team defeated powerhouse Stanford, 100-102. Stanford was the defending National Champion and entered the Cross Country Championships as the No. 1 team in the land.

BYU pulled off the improbable.

1999 – Men’s Volleyball

BYU was the best program in the country in 1999. They entered the National Championship round with a 29-1 record. The lone loss was against Long Beach State. BYU had to take down The Beach in the natty at historic Pauley Pavilion to win men’s volleyball’s first national title.

BYU did just that, led by star Ossie Antoinetti; the Cougars swept Long Beach 3-0.

1999 – Women’s Cross Country

Coach Patrick Shane was building a powerhouse, showing that the 1997 title wasn’t a fluke. BYU dominated in 1999 to claim their second National Title in three years.

2001 – Men’s Volleyball

A rare win over UCLA capped off BYU’s memorable 2001 season with a National Championship in the Pyramid at Long Beach. It was only BYU’s seventh win all-time against UCLA since 1990.

2001 – Women’s Cross Country

BYU took down No. 1 Stanford to win its third title in five years.

2002 – Women’s Cross Country

For the first time in BYU sports history, the Cougars produced a back-to-back National Championship program.

2004 – Men’s Volleyball

BYU won the final two sets of a five-set thriller against Long Beach State. This was the first national championship for head coach Tom Peterson who had previously led Penn State to a title in 1994. Peterson became the first men’s volleyball coach to lead two different programs to National Championships.

2019 – Men’s Cross Country

This is the first team national championship for a BYU program under athletic director Tom Holmoe (since 2004). BYU defeated rival and heavy favorite Northern Arizona by 54 points, 163-109 to claim the title.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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History Of Team National Championships For BYU Athletics