|Conference||Pac-12 Conference (primary)|
America East (field hockey)
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (men's gymnastics, men's volleyball, water polo, fencing)
CSA (women's squash)
|NCAA||Division I (FBS)|
|Athletic director||Bernard Muir|
|Varsity teams||38 (16 men’s, 20 women’s, 2 co-ed)|
|Football stadium||Stanford Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Maples Pavilion|
|Baseball stadium||Klein Field at Sunken Diamond|
|Softball stadium||Smith Family Stadium|
|Soccer stadium||Maloney Field at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium|
|Aquatics center||Avery Aquatic Center|
|Rowing venue||Arrillaga Family Rowing and Sailing Center|
|Sailing venue||Arrillaga Family Rowing and Sailing Center|
|Tennis venue||Taube Tennis Center|
|Mascot||Stanford Tree (unofficial)|
|Colors||Cardinal and white|
The Stanford Cardinal are the athletic teams that represent Stanford University. As of the summer of 2023, Stanford's program has won 134 NCAA team championships, the most of any university. Stanford has won at least one NCAA team championship each academic year for 47 consecutive years, starting in 1976–77 and continuing through 2022–23. Stanford athletes have won 544 individual NCAA titles.
Stanford has won 26 of the 29 NACDA Directors' Cups, awarded annually to the most successful overall college sports program in the nation, including 25 consecutive Cups from 1994–95 through 2018–19. 177 Stanford-affiliated athletes have won a total of 296 Summer Olympic medals (150 gold, 79 silver, 67 bronze), including 26 medals at the 2020 Tokyo games.
Stanford's teams compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for college football) level as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, along with other schools from the western third of the United States.
Nickname and mascot history
Following Stanford's win over California in the first-ever Big Game on March 19, 1892, the team was metonymically referred to as the "Cardinal" by sportswriters in the next day's San Francisco Chronicle. The university's athletic teams continued to be referred to as the "Cardinal" or "Cardinals" even after the adoption of the "Indians" name.
On November 25, 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot "Indian".
On March 3, 1972, a few months after the football team's second straight win in the Rose Bowl, the Indian symbol and name were dropped by Stanford president Richard Lyman after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate.
From 1972 to 1981, the official nickname returned to "Cardinals," a reference to the color, not the bird. During the 1970s, a number of suggestions were put forth as possible nicknames: Robber Barons (a sly reference to Leland Stanford's history), Sequoias, Trees, Railroaders, Spikes, Huns and Griffins. The last suggestion gained enough momentum to prompt the athletics department to move two griffin statues from the site of the former Stanford Home for Convalescent Children to near the athletic facilities.
Stanford has no official mascot, but the Stanford Tree, a member of the Stanford Band wearing a self-designed tree costume, appears at major Stanford sports events. The Tree is based on El Palo Alto, a redwood tree in neighboring Palo Alto that appears in the Stanford seal and athletics logo.
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Swimming and diving||Rowing lightweight|
|Track and field†||Softball|
|Water polo||Swimming and diving|
|Track and field†|
|Fencing · Sailing|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
Stanford University sponsors 38 varsity sports teams — 16 men's, 20 women's, and two coed sports — competing primarily in the NCAA Division I and the Pac-12 Conference. The rowing program competes in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, the men's and women's gymnastics, men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and women's lacrosse all compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the field hockey program competes in the America East Conference, sailing in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, squash program in the College Squash Association, and the synchro program in the USA Synchro.
In July 2020, due to increased financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford Athletics announced they will be eliminating 11 varsity teams after the conclusion of the 2020–2021 academic year: men's and women's fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men's rowing, co-ed and women's sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men's volleyball and wrestling. These planned cuts were canceled in May 2021.
The men's golf team has won nine NCAA Championships: 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942 (co-champions), 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007, 2019. They have crowned three individual national champions: Sandy Tatum (1942), Tiger Woods (1996), and Cameron Wilson (2014). They have won 12 Pac-12 Conference championships: 1960, 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977 (south), 1992, 1994, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2023. Other notable players include Tom Watson, Bob Rosburg, NFL quarterback John Brodie, and Notah Begay III.
In 1971 Shelley Hamlin won the women's national intercollegiate individual golf championship (an event conducted by the Division of Girls' and Women's Sports, which evolved into the current NCAA women's golf championship). In 2015, Stanford won the team title in the first match play championship. In 2021, Rachel Heck won the NCAA individual title. In 2022, Rose Zhang won the NCAA individual title, and Stanford won the team title. In 2023, Rose Zhang won the individual title again, becoming the first woman to win two NCAA individual titles.
Stanford Sailing has won the following Intercollegiate Sailing Association championship events:
- the ICSA Open Fleet Race Championship in 2023
- the ICSA Open Team Race Championship in 1997
- the ICSA Women's Fleet Race Championship in 2023
- the ICSA Men's Singlehanded Championship in 1963, 2006, and 2022
- the ICSA Women's Singlehanded Championship in 2000 and 2018
In March 2019, John Vandemoer, Stanford University's head sailing coach for 11 years, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering for accepting bribes in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, to hold open admission spots at the university for three applicants falsely portrayed as competitive sailors, in exchange for $770,000 in payments to the sailing program. Unlike others indicted in the scheme, he did not personally benefit financially. The university fired Vandemoer. Clinton Hayes was appointed interim head coach.
The Cardinal have appeared in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament 20 times, including in 8 consecutive years from 2013 through 2020. They have seven appearances in the College Cup, winning the national championship in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The Cardinal softball team has appeared in three Women's College World Series, in 2001, 2004, and 2023. The Cardinal program was the co-champions of the PAC-10 conference in 2005, which is their only conference championship. The current head softball coach of the Stanford program is Jessica Allister.
The Cardinal have won 17 NCAA Men's tennis championships: 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988 through 1990, 1992, 1995 through 1998, and 2000.
The Cardinal have won 20 of the 41 NCAA women's tennis team championships that have taken place, winning in 1982, 1984, 1986 through 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004 through 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Stanford also won the 1978 women's tennis championship, awarded by the AIAW. 2023 is the first year in which Stanford held fewer than half of the NCAA team championships ever awarded.
Stanford tennis players have won the individual singles championship many times:
|1986 and 1987||Patty Fendick||NCAA|
|2000 and 2001||Laura Granville||NCAA|
|2003 and 2004||Amber Liu||NCAA|
|2012 and 2013||Nicole Gibbs||NCAA|
Stanford tennis players have also won the doubles championship many times:
|1962||Linda Yeomans and Carol Hanks||AIAW|
|1967||Jane Albert and Julie Anthony||AIAW|
|1976 and 1977||Susie Hagey and Diane Morrison||AIAW|
|1978||Barbara Jordan and Kathy Jordan||AIAW|
|1979||Kathy Jordan and Alycia Moulton||AIAW|
|1981||Caryn Copeland and Alycia Moulton||AIAW|
|1984||Linda Gates and Elise Burgin||NCAA|
|1985||Linda Gates and Leigh Anne Eldridge||NCAA|
|1990||Meredith McGrath and Teri Whitlinger||NCAA|
|2002||Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra||NCAA|
|2005||Alice Barnes and Erin Burdette||NCAA|
|2010||Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette||NCAA|
|2011||Hilary Barte and Mallory Burdette||NCAA|
|2012||Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs||NCAA|
The Cardinal have won 9 NCAA Women's volleyball national championships: in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Stanford has appeared in 17 championship games, more than any other team. Stanford has qualified for 41 of the 42 NCAA tournaments, missing the postseason only during the COVID-shortened 2020–21 season. Only Penn State has appeared in all 42 tournaments.
Women's water polo
The Cardinal have won 9 NCAA Women's volleyball national championships, more than any other university: in 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022, and 2023. Stanford is the only program that has participated in every NCAA Championship since the event began in 2001. Stanford has advanced to the title match in 12 of the last 13 championships.
The Stanford wrestling team is coached by Rob Koll, replacing Jason Borelli after he took the head coaching job at American University in 2021. In his 13 years as head coach, Borelli led the Cardinal to 122 dual wins, making him Stanford's winningest coach. The Cardinal wrestlers practice in the Weintz Family Wrestling Room, and compete on campus at Burnham Pavilion, with a capacity of about 1,400.
The Cardinal wrestling team won the Pac-12 championship once, in 2019. They have placed in the top 19 at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships eight times: in 1967 (13th), 2004 (19th), 2008 (19th), 2011 (11th), 2012 (16th), 2016 (19th), 2021 (17th), and 2022 (19th). Stanford has two individual national champions in its history: Matt Gentry at 157 pounds in 2004 and Shane Griffith at 165 pounds in 2021.
Stanford's wrestling program was one of the eleven the school planned on eliminating after the 2020–21 season. In response, the team wore solid black singlets without the school logo. Wrestling fans led a movement to keep the program afloat before the school reversed its decision.
Notable non-varsity sports
Stanford has fielded a college rugby team since 1906, and replaced football entirely until 1917. Stanford achieved one of the most surprising victories of American rugby's early history by beating a touring Australian club team in 1912. Rugby remained a varsity sport at Stanford until 1977. Despite the loss of varsity status, the Stanford Rugby Foundation covers many of the team's expenses from an endowment fund. Rugby is one of the largest sports programs on campus with over 100 players. Stanford Rugby is led by Director of Rugby Matt Sherman, who has served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's national team.
From 1996 to 1998 Stanford reached the national semifinals in three consecutive years, finishing second in 1998. During the 2010–11 season, Stanford was champion of the Northern California conference, reached the national quarterfinals, and finished the season ranked 4th in D1-AA rugby. Following the 2011–12 season, Stanford were promoted to Division 1-A and played in the California conference, but have since returned to Division 1-AA and now play in the Pacific Western conference. Stanford won the Pacific Western conference in 2014, earning a berth in the D1-AA national playoffs, where they defeated Oregon 24–12 at home in front of a strong crowd, before losing to Arizona 27–24 in the quarterfinals.
NCAA team championships
- Men's (70)
- Baseball (2): 1987, 1988
- Basketball (1): 1942
- Cross country (4): 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003
- Golf † (9): 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007, 2019
- Gymnastics (9): 1992, 1993, 1995, 2009, 2011, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023
- Outdoor track & field (4): 1925 (unofficial), 1928, 1934, 2000
- Soccer (3): 2015, 2016, 2017
- Swimming (8): 1967, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998
- Tennis (17): 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
- Volleyball (2): 1997, 2010
- Water polo (11): 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2019
- Women's (64)
- Basketball (3): 1990, 1992, 2021
- Cross country (5): 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
- Golf (2): 2015, 2022
- Rowing (2): 2009, 2023
- Soccer (3): 2011, 2017, 2019
- Swimming (11): 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Tennis (20): 1982, 1984, 1986 through 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019
- Volleyball (9): 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2016, 2018, 2019
- Water polo (9): 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022, 2023
- † The NCAA started sponsoring the intercollegiate golf championship in 1939, but it retained the titles from the 41 championships previously conferred by the National Intercollegiate Golf Association in its records.
Other national team championships
Below are 39 national team titles in NCAA sports that were not bestowed by the NCAA:
- Men's (17)
- Women's (22)
- ‡ Unofficial by virtue of winning both the collegiate individual and doubles crowns of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association
Below are 42 national team titles won by Stanford varsity and club sports teams at the highest collegiate levels in non-NCAA sports:
- Men's (5)
- Rugby (1) (Div. II): 2002
- Sailing, offshore large boats (2): 1967, 1968
- Ultimate (2): 1984, 2002
- Women's (24)
- Archery (2) (recurve): 2006, 2007
- Rugby (4): 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008
- Synchronized swimming (9): 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2021 (USA Synchro collegiate championships)
- Table tennis (1): 2006
- Ultimate (8): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2016
- Combined (13)
- Badminton (3): 1997, 1998, 1999
- Canoe/Kayak (4) (flatwater): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
- Cycling (4) (road): 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007
- Sailing (1) (team race): 1997 (ICSA)
- Taekwondo (1): 2013
Consecutive years winning NCAA team championships
Stanford has won at least one NCAA team championship each academic year for 47 consecutive years, starting in 1976–77 and continuing through 2022–23. This is the longest such streak in NCAA history. The second-longest NCAA championship streak ever was 19 years, achieved by USC from 1959–60 through 1977-78. As of the summer of 2023, the second-longest active streak was five years.
The most NCAA team championships Stanford has won in a single year is six in 1996–97 (men's and women's cross-country, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's volleyball) and again in 2018–19 (men's golf and gymnastics and women's volleyball, swimming, tennis and water polo). Stanford has won five NCAA team championships in a year three times (1991–92, 1994–95, and 1997–98). Stanford won 3 of the 7 NCAA team championships awarded in the 2019-2020 academic year, when, due to COVID, only the fall sports were contested.
Stanford has won two NCAA team championships in a single day three times: in men's and women's cross-country on November 25, 1996; in men's and women's cross-country on November 24, 2003; and in men's water polo and women's soccer on December 8, 2019.
NCAA individual championships
Stanford athletes have won 540 NCAA individual championships as of January 23, 2023.
Stanford's 540 individual championships are the most individual championships won by any school in NCAA Division I. No other Division I school is within 100 of Stanford's total.
Stanford won the NACDA Directors' Cup in 25 consecutive academic years, from 1994–95 through 2018–19, and won again in 2022–2023. Stanford was the runner-up the other years the Directors'Cup has been awarded: 1993–94, 2020–21, and 2021–22.
The Directors' Cup recognizes the most successful overall sports program in NCAA Division I. It is awarded annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The Directors' Cup rewards broad-based success in both men's and women's college sports. Points are awarded based on post-season success in NCAA-sponsored sports.
Stanford finished second in the first Directors' Cup competition in 1993–94, behind North Carolina. Stanford won its first Directors' Cup the following year, 1994–95. From 1994–95 through 2018–19, Stanford won 25 Directors' Cups in a row. When the Directors' Cup was next awarded, in 2020–21, Stanford finished second, behind Texas.
- Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation — Fencing, squash
- Arrillaga Family Rowing and Sailing Center — Men's and women's rowing, Women's lightweight rowing, sailing
- Avery Aquatic Center — Men's and women's swimming and diving, women's synchronized swimming, men's and women's water polo
- Burnham Pavilion — Men's and women's gymnastics, wrestling
- Cobb Track and Angell Field — Men's and women's track and field
- Klein Field at Sunken Diamond — Baseball
- Maloney Field at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium — Men's and women's soccer, women's lacrosse
- Maples Pavilion — Men's and women's basketball, men's and women's volleyball
- Red Barn — Equestrian
- Smith Family Stadium — Softball
- Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium — Beach volleyball
- Stanford Golf Course — Men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf
- Stanford Stadium — Football
- Taube Tennis Center — Men's and women's tennis
- Varsity Field Hockey Turf — Women's field hockey
Stanford athletes have traditionally been very well represented at the Summer Olympics. 175 Stanford-affiliated athletes have won a total of 296 Summer Olympic medals (150 gold, 79 silver, 67 bronze). In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Stanford sent 47 current or former student athletes, 32 of whom competed for the United States, 14 for other countries, and one as a coach for the United States softball team. In all, Stanford athletes won 25 medals: For the 2012 London Olympics, 39 athletes were from Stanford and 26 represented Team USA. Stanford athletes won 27 medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games and 26 medals at the 2020 Tokyo games.
Stanford does not compete at the varsity level in any events contested at the Winter Olympics. Stanford students and alums who have won Winter Olympic medals include John Coyle, Eileen Gu, Eric Heiden, Sami Jo Small, and Debi Thomas.
Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame
The Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame was established on December 21, 1954. Envisioned by Walt Gamage, sports editor of the now-defunct Palo Alto Times, the first class of inductees consisted of 34 Stanford sports greats. New members are inducted annually and are recognized during halftime of a home Stanford football game. The Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame Room is located on the first floor of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center on the Stanford campus.
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Ranked second by the experts were Stanford's Cardinals with 468 points
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- College Premier Division
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- Stanford's 1926 football team won the Rissman Trophy as the national champion of one contemporary selector, the Dickinson System, and also was ranked #1 by three retroactive selectors, the Helms Athletic Foundation, the National Championship Foundation, and Jeff Sagarin,
- Stanford's 1940 team was ranked #1 by one contemporary selector, the Poling System, and by two retroactive selectors, Helms Athletic Foundation and Billingsley Report.
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