What You May Think…
It’s common knowledge, in the college sports community, which ‘beasts’ are dominant in the numbers of NCAA D-1 team championships through December 31, 2016. In fact, the Bruins of UCLA are at the top of the list in the PAC-12 and the west but also in the country with a whopping total of 113 NCAA Championships. The Cardinal, pardon the pun, of Stanford University and the University of Southern California, are not far behind with 111 and 103 NCAA Championships respectively, with USC leading all schools with 84 Men’s Team Championships. That’s a total of 327 team championships garnered by just 3 schools, all in the same conference.
So which ‘beast’ is the leader in the East. Certainly, there are schools with historically great athletic programs up and down the East coast and in the Midwest. One would imagine that the Wolverines of the University of Michigan, with it’s vaunting 935 wins in football and 11 NCAA football titles would place it near the top of the list. But outside of football, U of M has only won 25 other championships including only 2 women’s titles. Wouldn’t another coveted Big Ten school, such as ‘THE’ Ohio State University, with its massive athletic budget and diverse athletic program score high on this list. The Buckeyes have had great runs in both football and basketball over the years which has contributed to their total 29 total championships. But tOSU only covets 3 women’s team championships. And with its year around weather Shangri-la and history of sports teams, one would believe that the University of Florida would have a trophy case full of championships. And they do. Florida possesses 31 NCAA D-1 team championships with the Florida women winning 17. However, the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University, with their great track and field and baseball teams, lead the SEC with 44 and 43 respectively.
We will mention the University of North Carolina here, as they are the only ACC school amongst the top 10 in team championships, with 42, due mostly in part to their women’s soccer program, which has captured 21 trophies.
Penn States Case for the Title of “Beasts of the East”…
All the aforementioned are great athletic institutions with great traditions. But the title of “Beast of the East” can be claimed by none other than the Pennsylvania State University. With its total of 48 NCAA D-1 team championships, the Nittany Lions rank #5 nationally, just 3 championships behind #4 Oklahoma State. But this is only part of the story. The Nits actually own 76 national collegiate team championships as 28 championships were won before the NCAA sponsorship, including 4 rare boxing titles and 11 men’s soccer titles. Penn State leads all Big Ten teams in championships and since joining the conference in 1991 has won a total of 95 conference regular season and tournament titles. This number also leads all Big Ten schools since 1991. There is diversity in the championships, as Penn State, known for it’s football program, has championships in 9 different sports including boxing (1), cross country (3), men’s gymnastics (12), men’s and women’s volleyball (9), wrestling (6), fencing (14) and women’s soccer (1). It should also be noted, that Penn State leads the nation in co-ed championship victories with their 13 NCAA fencing championships.
As storied and as successful Penn State’s athletics programs have fared, the future looks just as bright for the school to bring home some more ‘hardware’. This winter, the wrestling, men’s ice hockey and men’s gymnastic teams are all competing at championship levels. A much-improved men’s lacrosse team may also make some noise during the NCAA championships later on in May. With great coaching and great support, it appears that the Nittany Lions will carry on the tradition of being the “Beast of the East”.
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