Linfield College athletes lead state in grad rates, academics

Many Wildcat teams take home the nation’s top sports awards, but now Linfield athletes have been recognized as top scholars, too. The Linfield football team leads all divisions with 55 consecutive winning seasons, the most ever in college football. The women’s softball team placed second in the nation last year, and the baseball team slugged its way to third place.

And now Linfield athletes lead the state in athlete graduation rates and academic rankings according to a recent survey from NCSA Athletic Recruiting.

“Linfield’s success in football has been the bi-product of a culture that focuses first and foremost on developing successful life skills in our athletes,” said Joseph Smith, head football coach. “This idea has been handed down from coach to coach for 55 years.”

“When we recruit athletes we’re looking for the whole package,” said Scott Brosius, a Linfield graduate who now coaches the school’s baseball team, after being named Most Valuable Player of the 1998 World Series.

“Obviously, we’re looking for guys who physically have the ability to play at the college level, but we also want athletes who have taken care of their business in the classroom,” Brosius said. “We’re looking for a well-rounded person.

“At the Division III level there are no scholarships, so most of the money our players earn is based on their academic performance,” he said. “Integrity is something we talk a lot about here.”

“Winning in academics is just as important as winning on the field,” said Linfield College President Thomas Hellie.

NCSA Athletic Recruiting ranked schools by averaging graduation rates, academic rankings provided by U.S. News & World Report, and the strength of athletic departments as determined by the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup ranking.

At 72nd place among all Division III schools, Linfield is one of only two Oregon schools that made the top 100 cut, and is ranked highest in the state.