Three years after he inherited a Cal football program with its academic reputation in shambles, coach Sonny Dykes’ team has earned its best Academic Progress Rate four-year average score since 2008-09.
The Bears scored 997 of a maximum 1,000 points on the APR scale for the 2014-15 academic year, raising their four-year average to 960, according to figures released by the NCAA on Wednesday.
Cal ranked last in the Pac-12 the past three years, but its four-year average now is tied for eighth in the conference. The 19-point jump from 941 last year was the best in the conference.
The Bears’ 997 score for 2014-15 ties for the highest in the Pac-12, and is the second-best in program history. Cal football had sub-930 scores in consecutive seasons before Dykes’ hiring.
“The issue we were dealing with early was we had some (academic) numbers that weren’t very good,” Dykes said. “A lot of these kids came to Cal with a leap of faith. They’re the guys that did it.
“To go from one of the worst to one of the best just shows what kind of hard work and effort and character these guys have.”
The NCAA uses APR to track eligibility, retention and graduation, providing a gauge for each team’s academic performance.
The Cal men’s basketball team was among a school-record 13 sports that posted scores of 1,000. The perfect score came in coach Cuonzo Martin’s first season of 2014-15 and boosted the program’s four-year average to 960, matching the football team’s score over the same span.
Cal athletic director Mike Williams was pleased by the progress of the Bears’ two most high-profile programs.
“Under Sonny Dykes, our football program’s trajectory remains on an upward path, and the first-year results for our men’s basketball team under Cuonzo Martin couldn’t be any better,” he said in a statement.
The Cal women’s basketball program scored 949 for 2014-15 and its four-year average of 973 represents a 13-point improvement from last year and ranks ninth in the Pac-12.
The Cal men’s tennis program scored 1,000 for the seventh straight season and the women’s tennis team has posted a perfect mark six years in a row.
Other Cal programs that scored 1,000 were women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s golf, men’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, men’s swimming & diving, and men’s and women’s water polo.