USA Today features Belmont on its front page today, with a look at how Belmont’s first NCAA men’s basketball appearance “validates the bold and expensive step the 4,300-student private institution took in 1996, when it jumped from the low-profile NAIA to the NCAA.”
From the USA Today story:
Fisher co-authored a book in the ’90s, Real Dream Teams. It examined winning characteristics of groups ranging from the USA’s “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team of 1980, to the first team of Americans to scale Mount Everest.
Fisher keeps one sports trophy in his office, won four consecutive years by his personal collection of dream teams. The Atlantic Sun Academic Champion trophy goes to the school with the most athletes who have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Of Belmont’s 220 athletes, about 70% meet that standard. “I graciously tell the other college presidents that the only reason we’ve only won it for four years is because we’ve only been in the conference four years,” Fisher says. “I taunt them just a little bit about that.”
Coach Byrd echoes that philosophy, saying his proudest accomplishment this season is seeing Belmont lead the league in basketball all-academic selections with 12.