NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana has won the 2016-17 Thomas Howell Cup, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference's (GCAC) all-sports award.
It's the sixth time that XULA won the award, all in the last seven years.
The Thomas Howell Cup, named for the GCAC's longtime commissioner, is awarded annually to the school with the most points based on order of finish in various sports. Howell served the conference for more than three decades. Xavier has received the award each year since 2011, with the exception of 2016, when Dillard University earned the distinction.
XULA was boosted this year by GCAC championships in men's cross country, women's cross country, women's volleyball (regular season and tournament), and women's outdoor track and field.
The conference did not announce point totals or standings for the Howell Cup, but unofficial scoring by XULA Assistant Athletics Director for Communications Ed Cassiere had XULA with 37 1/2 points. In the seven GCAC championship sports — men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball and men's and women's outdoor track and field — XULA scored 33 1/2 of a possible 41 points.
Although XULA won GCAC volleyball regular-season and tournament championships for the sixth consecutive year, the university was credited with all-sports points only for its regular-season standing. The GCAC also applied that method in men's and women's basketball.
Dillard, the 2015-16 Howell Cup winner, and Edward Waters tied for second place in Cassiere's unofficial scoring with 30 points apiece. Talladega was fourth with 24 1/2 points, followed by Southern University at New Orleans with 17, Tougaloo with 13 and Philander Smith with 11.
Receipt of the Howell Cup caps off a stellar year of awards and recognitions for Xavier's athletic program. Athletic Director Jason Horn was named 'Athletic Director of the Year' earlier in the month, while several Xavier student-athletes have been honored for excellence in athletics.