Harding wins third GAC Commissioner’s Cup All-Sports Trophy

RUSSELLVILLE — On Monday, the Great American Conference announced Harding University as the winner of the 2021 Commissioner’s Cup and Arkansas Tech as the winner of the President’s Trophy, the league’s two all-sports awards.

Harding captured the Commissioner’s Cup – awarded to the GAC school that totals the most cumulative points in the 12 countable sports of men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s tennis, women’s track & field, men’s and women’s golf, softball and baseball. The Lady Bisons won GAC titles in tennis and track & field and won the Eastern Division in volleyball. Harding added top-three results in men’s and women’s cross country, softball, women’s golf and women’s basketball.

Harding has won three of the conference’s last four all-sports trophies, also posting the top cumulative points total in 2017 and 2019. Harding also won the 2011 men’s all-sports trophy in the Gulf South Conference and the NAIA Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference trophies in 1976, 1981 and 1990-93.

Arkansas Tech became the first recipient of the President’s Trophy – given to the program that earns the highest percentage of points based on the sports they sponsor. The Wonder Boys won their second-straight men’s golf title and continued the postseason success with the conference’s first team national title. They tied for the regular-season title in baseball. The Golden Suns won the Eastern Division in women’s basketball and placed second in women’s cross country, women’s golf and volleyball.

Oklahoma Baptist took third in both standings. The Bison claimed GAC titles in women’s cross country – their fourth straight – and women’s soccer – their third in four seasons. They added division titles in men’s basketball and volleyball. The Bison completed an undefeated season in volleyball and reached No. 1 in the AVCA rankings.

Southern Arkansas finished fourth. The Muleriders captured their fifth regular-season title in baseball and finished atop the softball standings for the third-straight season. SAU tied Arkansas-Monticello for the Eastern Division crown in men’s basketball. The Muleriders qualified for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time in program history.

Southwestern Oklahoma State, Henderson State and Southeastern Oklahoma State took the next three positions. The Lady Bulldogs basketball team won a regular-season title for the fourth-straight season and reached the finals of NCAA Regional Tournament. The Reddies outlasted Arkansas Tech in a playoff to win their second women’s golf title. The Savage Storm finished as the runners up at the Women’s Basketball, Tennis and Softball Championships.

East Central, Southern Nazarene, Ouachita, Arkansas-Monticello and Northwestern Oklahoma State rounded out the standings. ECU won its seventh men’s cross country title. Ouachita placed second to Oklahoma Baptist in the women’s soccer regular season race but defeated the Bison to win the GAC Championship title. UAM shared the Eastern Division title in men’s basketball with SAU.