by Chris Thompson
After a year of three Northwest Conference championships for Puget Sound, the Loggers are celebrating one more time: The university is the winner of the 2005–06 McIlroy-Lewis Northwest Conference All-Sports trophy, which commends overall athletic achievement.
Puget Sound started the year strong, with its fourth consecutive NWC title in women’s soccer, while also collecting second-place finishes in men’s cross country and volleyball, and a third in men’s soccer. The Loggers ranked fourth in football standings after a big conference win over Pacific Lutheran.
The winter season was easily one of the most successful in Logger history. UPS sent athletes from all four winter teams to NCAA Championships. Men’s basketball advanced to the “Elite Eight” of the NCAA Division III Tournament and made it three-straight when they captured both the NWC regular season and conference tournament titles. The women’s basketball team earned a trip to the NCAA tournament after finishing second in the NWC.
In the pool, men’s swimming splashed into the year with a young team, but freshman Paul Hughes, who went on to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors, led the Loggers to a second-place finish at the NWC Championships. Women’s swimming made it a decade of dominance by winning its 10th consecutive conference title.
In spring, second-place finishes by men’s track and field and women’s golf, and third-place finishes in baseball and women’s tennis helped claim the trophy.
This is the first time the Loggers have won the McIlroy-Lewis trophy. The prize honors former Linfield College coach and athletic director Jane McIlroy and former Willamette coach and athletic director John Lewis.
So long to Coach Bridgeland
Head men’s basketball coach Eric Bridgeland has accepted a position as assistant men’s basketball coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
Bridgeland took over the Logger men’s basketball program in August 2001 and led the team to three consecutive Northwest Conference championships, in 2004, 2005, and 2006. The team advanced in the Division III NCAA championship “Sweet Sixteen” sectionals in 2004 and 2005 and to the “Elite Eight” in 2006, finishing all three years ranked number one in the West. Bridgeland compiled a record of 92–39 at Puget Sound and 58–22 in the Northwest Conference, improving his overall career record to 115–65.
Assistant Coach Justin Lunt was appointed interim head coach. Lunt joined the Loggers staff in 2004 and worked closely with Bridgeland recruiting players and developing the championship men’s basketball program.
Logger sports news, rosters, scores, and schedules can be found at www.pugetsound.edu/athletics.