Based on information provided by the NCAA through its Academic Progress Rate scores coach Frank Bennett and his Lady Bisons have the top score in the area among women’s basketball teams and the highest score overall in the area.
Bennett’s Lady Bisons have a score of 992 for the past six years, starting with 2003 and ending with 2009.
This marks the first time the NCAA has released APRs for individual coaches.
“It is good to see that we rank ahead of all the teams in the midstate area,” Bennett said. “We were ranked the highest overall in the midstate. We finished one point ahead of Belmont’s basketball team.”
The APR score is determined by giving one point to an athlete for each semester he or she remains academically eligible. Each athlete also earns a point for each semester they remain at the school or for graduating. A final team score is determined through the use of a mathematical formula.
A perfect score is 1,000 points. In 2004-2005, 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 the Lady Bisons compiled perfect scores. The lowest score is 980 from 2007-2008.
Bennett gives much of the credit to his players and the faculty.
“We have the players set academic goals for each class,” Bennett said. “We emphasize trying to get help through tutors if they have problems with a class. We try to monitor their progress which a lot of coaches do.
“A lot of it is just recruiting students who emphasize academics and want to do well. Lipscomb is a pretty rigorous school academically and we want to find players who can thrive here. We also have a team approach that everybody has to do their part to get awards like this.”
One area that can also have an effect on the total score is the retention of student-athletes.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of turnover,” Bennett said. “If someone leaves and they are still eligible that helps as well. “One thing with academics and retention is that the faculty does a great job of really working with the students in providing help and resources for them.
A lot of students want to stay here because of the family atmosphere and the quality of the school in general. I think that says a lot for both the school and the faculty.”
The Lady Bisons ranked ninth nationally in NCAA Division I on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association 2009-2010 Top 25 Team Honor Roll. That announcement was made in July.
Teams are honored for maintaining the highest grade point averages for the entire season based on the nomination submitted by WBCA-member head coaches.
The Lady Bisons compiled a 3.452 average. They were close behind DePaul in eighth place with a 3.455 average.
This was the first time the Lady Bisons have been honored by the WBCA in the top 25.
Lipscomb was the only Atlantic Sun team to be honored.
“We have been proud of our student-athletes,” Bennett said. “We have also been recognized the last three years for being in the top 10 percent in the APR for women’s basketball.
“Hopefully, we can build a tradition. We know what we have to shoot for to achieve that. We had a strong group of freshmen last year and that kind of put us over the top.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.