After a strong finish during the spring sports season, Cleveland State jumped from fifth place to capture the James J. McCafferty trophy, which is awarded annually to the Horizon League's All-Sport champion. It was the first McCafferty Trophy for CSU since joining the Horizon League for the 1994-95 season.
It was a banner year for the Vikings program that finished last in the standings in seven of the previous 14 seasons. In basketball, the men and the women both showed dramatic improvement. The men jumped from last place in 2006-07 with a 10-21 record to second place in 2007-08 with a 21-13 record. The women moved from seventh in 2006-07 to fourth in the 2007-08 regular season before winning the conference tournament and making the program's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
The improvements did not stop at basketball for the Vikings. CSU captured titles in men's golf and tennis while also winning titles in volleyball and softball on the women's side. The Vikings also received points from the men for a second place finish in swimming and a fifth place showing by the baseball team. The women rounded out the scoring with fourth place finishes in golf and tennis.
CSU finished with 46 points, three points ahead of second place Milwaukee and Butler. The men earned 25 of the 46 points to earn the Men's All Sports Award for the first time in school history. The women finished in third place with 21 points. The Viking's previous best in the McCafferty standings was a fifth place finish in 1998-99.
CSU will make a strong run at repeating the feat next season, as the Vikings return numerous top performers that were underclassmen in 2008. All-Horizon League athletes returning next season for the Vikings include Junior Brad Buell (Baseball), Juniors J'Nathan Bullock and Cedric Jackson (Men's Basketball), Sophomore Mitch Boyer (Men's Soccer), Sophomore Jakub Dobies (Men's Swimming), and Sophomores Phill Orno and Ryan Hamning along with Freshman Robert Fox (Men's Tennis). Dobies was an NCAA qualifier for the swimming team and Orno was Horizon League Men's Tennis Player of the Year.
All-Horizon League players returning on the women's side include Sophomore Kailey Kline (Women's Basketball), Junior Jennifer Wieand (Women's Soccer), Junior Christa Coppus and Sophomore Amanda Macenko (Softball), Freshman Melissa Holzinger (Women's Tennis), and Sophomore Beth Greulich and Freshman Amy Benz (Volleyball). Macenko was the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year in softball while Benz was the Newcomer of the Year for Volleyball.
The McCafferty Trophy has been awarded each season since 1979-80. Oral Roberts and Notre Dame each have won the award seven times. Butler leads all current Horizon League members, winning the trophy six times.