Now before you read the list and send me your nasty emails saying that I don't know what I am talking about, please consider the following criteria in which I used to come to my informed and educated opinion about which Navy sports teams had the best (and worst) seasons. First and foremost, I looked at the sport team's success or failure against Army. Since Navy's teams play at different levels in the college sports worlds, the easiest and most dependable measuring stick of a team's season is how the unit did against Army. Next, I looked at how the team faired against Air Force if it was applicable. Third, I looked at how the group performed in its respective league. Fourth, I looked at the strength of the opponents each team played. Finally, I looked at individual performances, trends against Army, and my infallible gut instinct to break any ties.
I have decided to not include the sailing and rowing teams in the rankings for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they are really difficult to evaluate by the aforementioned criteria.
I look forward to following the debate on the GoMids.com message boards.
PART I: The Bottom Five (#22 - #18)
22. Men's Soccer – In perhaps one of the quietest stories of the season in Navy sports,
Rich Miranda resigned as coach of the Navy men's soccer team in November after four seasons as head coach. Unfortunately, Miranda did not go out on a high note as
the Mids finished his last season with a record of 4-14-8. Navy failed to score a goal in 18 of its 26 games. Included in its 14 loses were 1-0 defeats to Army and Air Force. Navy hopes its future is brighter on the soccer field behind the direction of one of the most successful coaches ever in Division III – Dave Brandt. Brandt led Messiah College to a gaudy 246-25-14 record in 12 seasons.
21. Baseball – There are only three Navy teams on this list with losing records and some will undoubtedly be surprised to see a 20-win team this low on the rankings. However, the Navy baseball team took a step back this year after three consecutive 30-win seasons under the direction of head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. Perhaps more discouraging is seeing Army whip the Mids for a fourth year in a row. Navy is 3-14 over that span against their archrivals. Pitching was definitely a problem this season as Navy gave up close to six runs per game.
20. Volleyball – Navy has a good women's volleyball team as evidenced by their 17-13 overall record this season. However, they have not come close to beating Army in the past three seasons which is the main measuring stick of this list. In fact, Navy trails the all-time history against the Cadets 33-9…that's almost as bad as how Army's wrestling team has faired in the storied series. An additional concern is Navy's play in the Patriot League where they finished a very mediocre 5-9 in a very mediocre (at best) conference.
19. Men's Track and Field – It's probably going to be a long off-season for the Men's Track and Field as it looks to forget losses to Army for both the indoor and outdoor teams. Only a year after sweeping Army AND both Patriot League tournaments (indoor and outdoor), Navy slipped to third in the Patriot League tournaments this season. Meanwhile, Army has dominated both events – winning 17 out of the last 18 outdoor tournaments and three out of the last four indoor tournaments.
18. Women's Basketball – Perhaps nothing speaks to the quality of Navy athletics this past season by seeing a much-improved Women's Basketball team this low on the list. First the good – Navy had a winning record (16-15) for the first time in six years, and advanced to the second round of the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2006. As for the bad, even though Navy beat Army, it was only their second win against Army in the last five years (2-8). When Navy beating Army wouldn't be considered an upset in women's basketball, the Mids will shoot way up this ranking.