Soon finishing a fall semester with no sports, Creighton athletes and fans look forward to a change of pace come next spring. At this time, fall sports and championships plan to take place alongside the typical spring sports. As athletes continue preparations, here’s a look at some of the most successful programs in Creighton history.
In 1991, Creighton’s baseball team reached heights that no other had ever accomplished before and hasn’t since.
After finishing 49-20 and sweeping all regional games against Pepperdine, Minnesota, USC and Hawaii, the team earned a spot in the College World Series.
The 1991 tournament at Rosenblatt Stadium is the only time Creighton baseball has completed the road to Homaha.
Eliminated after two losses to conference rival Wichita State, the Bluejays did rack up two impressive victories in the tournament, defeating Clemson and Long Beach State.
The team was coached by Jim Hendry, who was awarded NCAA’s National Coach of the Year for his role in the record season. His number is the only retired jersey number by the program because of his successful coaching career from 1983 to 1991.
The team starred three first-round MLB draft picks and 10 total future professionals—four of which made MLB debuts.
2000 Men's Soccer
The 2000 men’s soccer program is the most successful team in the program’s history, advancing to the NCAA Championship before falling short to Connecticut 2-0.
While the team has been off campus for 20 years, former goalkeeper Mike Gabb is the current assistant coach, bringing some of those memories to current programs.
When Gabb thinks back to that team, he thinks of the word “family.”
“We were just a great family group. We enjoyed being around each other and fought for one another,” he said.
Yet, he said that historic run in Creighton history books had humble beginnings.
“What most people forget is that we were not expected to do much that year. We had lost nine seniors the year before and had a lot of new pieces,” Gabb said.
But the pieces came together, culminating in a Missouri Valley Conference Championship and a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
Once in the tournament, Creighton found ways to win, advancing all the way to a semifinal showdown with Indiana where Mike Tranchilla’s goal in triple overtime clinched Creighton’s spot in the national title game.
“That feeling was just indescribable. We knew we’d achieved something that no other Creighton team had ever done,” Gabb said.
Although the team fell short in the championship game, the run formed a team dynamic and ultimately created memories that make Gabb still smile even today.
“I will never forget singing U2 on the team bus after the UVA game,” Gabb said.
Under coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s leadership, the volleyball program experienced a major shift in momentum and stance on a national scale since her start in 2002.
That includes the team’s Elite Eight run in 2016, which followed the program’s first Sweet 16 performance the season prior.
The 2015 season was the third straight Big East regular season and tournament championship year for the Bluejays, something the squad repeated the next three years.
While the season resembled similar aspects to those from Booth’s recent years, its tournament run was driven by three straight five-set wins to land in its deepest ever spot on the bracket before falling to No. 5 Texas.
Despite a 6-6 start, the Jays bounced back with a record 23 straight victories, losing only in that tournament matchup.
Their 29-7 record included a dominating control over the Big East with an undefeated 18-0 season. Individuals dominated the conference recognitions as well: Booth was titled Big East Coach of the Year, and then-junior Lydia Dimke was named the conference player of the year and as well as Third Team All-American as she averaged 11.36 assists.
2019-20 Men's Basketball
Before the last year’s early cut off, the men’s basketball program celebrated one of its most successful seasons as Big East regular season champs.
While many remember the final home game when the Jays topped Seton Hall, the success was evident throughout the season.
With four top-25 wins in February and reaching seventh in the AP Poll for the program’s best ranking, the team had a strong run to end their season.
Coach Greg McDermott earned his 500th career victory as a head coach with the team’s victory over Xavier, a milestone that only 28 active Division 1 men’s coaches have reached.
“To get the win on the road against a program that I respect as much as Xavier makes it even a little bit more special,” McDermott said following the game. He was later named the conference coach of the year.
The season held accomplishments for individual athletes as well.
Junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander earned first team All-Big East honors and sophomore guard Marcus Zegarowski earned second team honors. Junior Denzel Mahoney was named Big East Sixth Man.
The year started with a two-week trip to Australia, as the team prepared for what became a memorable season.