Most of the University of Missouri's sports have enjoyed a recent run of success, in particular the basketball and football programs. Over the past two years the football and basketball teams have invigorated what might have been considered a stagnant fan base not long ago.
This last school year might go down as the best in Missouri sports history. The 2008-09 Missouri basketball team, with a lot of help from coach Mike Anderson, might have just put Missouri basketball back in the national discussion with their recent Big XII Tournament championship and Elite Eight run. After going 16-16 just a year ago, the Tigers won almost double their amount of games and lost less than half of their games from the year before going 31-7 this year. Over the past ten years the Tiger basketball team has had its fair share of ups-and-downs but this past year might have set them on the right path toward restoring MU basketball to national relevance.
While the Mizzou Men's golf team didn't qualify for the NCAA Regional Tournament, senior Peter Malnati will be headed to Stillwater, Okla. for one of five NCAA Division I Regional tournaments May 14-16. He qualified based on his individual play throughout the fall and spring which included top-ten finishes in five of 11 tournaments. The top five individual players from each regional tournament will move on to the finals in Toledo, Ohio.
While the MU softball team's season isn't quite over, it has already had one of the most successful seasons in team history. With a 42-9 record, the Tigers have already doubled their win total from 2006 and have been on a steady incline of win percentage over the last four years. The 14th ranked team in the nation still has the Big XII Tournament the weekend of May 8. The Tigers are looking to cap off their season with their second ever Big XII championship (1997) as they also prepare for the NCAA Division I Tournament.
A Mizzou team that hasn't enjoyed much success in its history is the football team, but lately things have been changing. In the past ten years the Missouri football team has increased its winning percentage from the previous year every year except three. The football team has brought its fans more excitement in the past two years than it probably ever has. The next couple of years will tell if Missouri football is now strong enough to compete at a high level year in and year out and have enough pull to bring top recruits to Mizzou.
The other team that won a Big XII championship this year was the women's soccer team. After defeating Colorado to win the Big XII Tournament championship, the Tigers lost in a penalty kick shootout to the University of Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The team finished the year with a No. 10 national ranking, a record of 16-5-2, their first Big XII championship, several All-Big XII players and a fourth team All-American in sophomore Alysha Bonnick.
With all of these successful seasons by Missouri sports teams and players in recent years, it could bode well for future years at Mizzou. If teams continue to excel on the playing field more high school recruits and top-notch coaches will come to MU, which should result in similar success.
The following two graphs show the winning percentage of six Mizzou teams over the past ten years in their respective sports. The softball and baseball winning percentages for this year are incomplete, as both still have to play in their respective Big XII tournaments and the baseball team has a six game home stand against Kansas and Cal State Bakersfield starting May 8.
Brandon Schatsiek is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri