2017-18 certainly was a banner year for your Drake Bulldogs. Since my arrival almost eight months ago, we have talked about developing champions in the classroom, in competition and in our community. I’m so proud of what I witnessed during 2018 and have been very impressed by the character and talents of our student-athletes, coaches and staff that comprise our Drake University athletics department.It is still very much summer in Des Moines, but Drake student-athletes will soon be returning to campus and beginning preparations for the upcoming academic and athletic year. Before we officially turn the page to the 2018-19 school year, let’s celebrate a remarkable 2017-18 season by Des Moines’ Hometown Team that saw student-athletes excel with record-setting flair in competition, in the classroom and in our community.The Bulldogs laid claim to five regular-season conference titles and three teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Drake’s five male Academic All-Americans also tied for tops in the nation with Navy. Across the board, Drake distinguished itself against its MVC peers as the Bulldogs amassed a .793 winning percentage against MVC foes in sports with head-to-head competition (volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, softball). That percentage was 134 points higher than the next winningest program in those sports.In addition to those team accomplishments, Drake student-athletes earned a total of 80 individual all-conference honors and three earned conference Player of the Year accolades. Additionally, softball’s Nicole Newman became the program’s first NFCA All-American after leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament. Print Friendly Version Many of those honored during the 2017-18 season are looking to maintain and build upon that success as the Bulldogs turn the page primed for a successful 2018-19 that begins in earnest Aug. 17 when women’s soccer officially opens its season followed closely by men’s soccer, volleyball, cross country and football.Your support of our student-athletes is very much appreciated by all of us at Drake, and we encourage you to assist in our continued growth in Central Iowa. There is much to be proud about at Drake University and I love the momentum and energy we are building together. This is a great time to be a Bulldog and I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming sporting events.Let’s Go Drake!Brian HardinDirector of Athletics During the 2018 spring semester, the Bulldogs had a collective GPA of 3.35, the second-highest in department history and 65 percent of Drake’s teams posted their best semester GPA in the past four years during the 2018 spring semester.Finally, a total of 70 student-athletes earned their degree in 2017-18 during fall and spring commencement ceremonies.Drake Spring Semester GraduatesDrake Fall Semester Graduates At the conference level, 65 Drake student-athletes earned academic All-Conference honors and two – men’s basketball’s Reed Timmer and women’s basketball’s Sara Rhine – were named their sport’s MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Timmer’s honor was the third of his career. • Women’s soccer was the first of five squads to hoist a title, doing so with an unbeaten 6-0-1 mark in Missouri Valley Conference action.• Women’s basketball maintained its streak of dominance with its second-straight undefeated MVC season and a perfect 18-0 league record before steamrolling through the MVC Tournament to earn the program’s 12th NCAA Tournament appearance.• Both men’s and women’s tennis earned their respective conference titles with the men winning the Summit League Tournament title to make its 11th NCAA appearance and its seventh in the last eight years.• Softball posted a 24-1 record in MVC games en route to the league’s regular-season and tournament titles to become the fifth Drake team to earn an NCAA berth in 2017-18. The team earned two wins over BYU to record the program’s first NCAA Tournament victories and appeared in the regional championship series against host Oregon. All 18 of Drake’s teams posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in 2017-18 and 16 recorded a team GPA of 3.25 or better. The average Drake student-athlete posted a 3.29 GPA during the year with 25 recording perfect 4.0 GPAs. However, those athletic superlatives pale in comparison to the wins the Bulldogs racked up academically. In the recently announced MVC Academic Awards, 192 Bulldogs earned a spot on the MVC Honor Roll with 13 being named to the President’s Council, which requires a minimum 3.8 cumulative GPA. An additional 77 were named to the Commissioner’s list for having a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.In between winning titles and racking up academic honors, the Bulldogs also stepped off campus to give back to the Des Moines community with nearly 4,000 hours of community service in 2017-18. That total was 1,000 more hours than the department completed in the previous year as Drake’s teams and student-athletes continued to ingrain themselves in the Des Moines. Coaches and staff also added to this total throughout the year and with the department’s first ‘515 Day’ in which nearly every department staff member spent May 15 (5/15) engaged in community service at various locations throughout Des Moines and Central Iowa. Those impressive academic and athletic performances helped make Drake one of the national leaders in Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America selections. The Bulldogs’ eight Academic All-Americans tied for the fifth-most in the nation with the U.S. Naval Academy.The Bulldogs eight Academic All-Americans put it ahead of all Ivy League institutions, who had a total of 15 honorees as a conference. Drake’s eight were also well ahead of regional peer institutions such as Creighton (4), DePaul (3), Marquette (1), Bradley (3), Butler (2) and Valparaiso (1).