Razorbacks earn John McDonnell Program of the Year award

NEW ORLEANS – The Arkansas Razorbacks earned the 2021 John McDonnell Program of the Year award, presented by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, based on its finish at the three national championship meets held this season.

This is the third time for Arkansas to receive the honor since USTFCCCA started the award in 2008-09, and it’s the seventh time to place among the top three over the past eight seasons.

“It’s a reflection of the hard work our athletes and coaches put in all year from day one,” said Razorback men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “I’m very proud of them and their efforts. It’s also a reflection of our commitment, as a program, to the total development of our student athletes.

“We feel each season is meaningful and adds to their overall development. It’s also in our DNA, since the award is named after John McDonnell, that we strive to win this award every year. Our ultimate goal is to bring a national championship triple crown back to Fayetteville, which hasn’t been accomplished by any school since Coach McDonnell’s last triple crown in 1998-99.”

The Razorbacks also claimed the Program of the Year in 2012-13 and 2016-17. Arkansas has been runner-up for the award three times in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2017-18. They also finished third in 2013-14.

This season the Razorbacks enjoyed a podium finish during the NCAA Cross Country Championships, which were held in March instead of November, as they placed fourth two days after hosting the NCAA Indoor Championships, where they tied for seventh place.

Arkansas completed the season tying for 28th place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which gave them a total of 40 among three championship placings.

Challenging the Razorbacks for the top honor this season was BYU, who was runner-up to Stanford in 2018-19. The Cougars total for this season was 40.5 from a tie for 16th at NCAA Indoor, then seventh at NCAA Cross Country, and 17th at NCAA Outdoor.

Teams finishing among the top five included Ole Miss (53), Iowa State (54), and Notre Dame (75.5).

The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Arkansas head coach John McDonnell. McDonnell’s Arkansas teams won a combined 40 National Championships and finished in the top ten in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville.