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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis Athletics earns Institution of the Year honors

Published: October 1, 2007
Section: Sports

Last season, Brandeis athletic teams did very little wrong.

Both Mens Soccer and Womens Volleyball captured Eastern College Athletic Conference titles. The Womens Soccer team made a run of its own to the ECAC semifinals. Both fencing teams were the highest placing Division III sides at the Intercollegiate Championships. Both basketball teams qualified for the NCAA tournament.

In recognition of these myriad success stories, Brandeis has been honored as the 2007 ECAC Jostens Institution of the Year.

The award, which has been in existence since 1995, is given yearly to one ECAC school with an exemplary athletic and scholarly record. The winner can come from any of the three NCAA divisions, and this is the first time that Brandeis has been recognized. The initial award was given to Williams College, while New York University won last year.

Its great, were really psyched about it, said Athletic Director Sheryl Sousa. From all three divisions, they name one institution of the year, which makes it even more special. Its a tribute to a lot of good folks on staff, a lot of people working very hard.

Theyre looking at how your teams perform, she added. Weve never had two teams win (ECAC titles) in a year. Put all that together, and thats what got their attention.

Sousa has been working for the Brandeis Athletics Department for ten years, and is in her fourth year as Athletic Director. For her, the award also brings a touch of personal satisfaction, as she began her career working in the ECAC office.

One of the interesting things for me was I started as an ECAC intern in 90-91, she said. So to start my career then have this award is special on a personal level.

Brandeis athletes, while having successful teams on the field, also managed to achieve a lot academically. In all, 156 student-athletes were named to the University Athletic Association All-Academic team.

Sousa noted that Brandeis recent success has contributed to very strong recruiting classes in the last few years, and that the Athletics Department is committed to consistently improving the program.

Were just still trying to do things better and better, she said. Its paying off.

Sousa will be presented with the ECAC Jostens Award on Sept. 30 at the ECAC Honors Dinner at the Sheraton Hyannis Resort. Jostens, the awards sponsor, is a Minneapolis-based company specializing in keepsake products.