Saint Mary’s Ties Best Ever Finish in West Coast Conference Commissioner’s Cup Standings, a Celebration of Overall Athletic Excellence

The second place standing ties for the highest finish ever for the Gaels, in a year marked by conference wins in Men’s Basketball and Softball, and a return to prominence by SMC Baseball.

by SMC Athletics | June 5, 2024

Today, the West Coast Conference announced the 2023–24 Commissioner’s Cup winner, and Saint Mary’s tied the best-ever finish for the College, earning a No. 2 finish in standings.

The WCC Commissioner's Cup is an all-sports award presented at the end of each academic year to the league's top performing school in conference play and is based on a point system, reflecting the finish of each team in conference play. The institution with the highest point total after combining the men's and women's point totals is honored with the Commissioner's Cup. Stretching back to the 2001-02 school year, the Commissioner's Cup has become an annual tradition celebrating WCC athletic excellence.

Highest Finish Ever for Women’s Athletics

Coaches of the Year Marty Kinsey, with cross-country team (above), and Sonja Garnett, with softball team (below)
Coaches of the Year and the teams they led: Above, Marty Kinsey with the Women's Cross Country team. Below, Sonja Garnett and the WCC Championship Softball team / Photos by Tod Fierner

On the women's side, the Gaels were narrowly edged out by Pepperdine by just half a point. This season included some landmark achievements for women’s athletics at SMC, highlighted by Softball's first-ever WCC title, as well as top three finishes by Beach Volleyball, Cross Country, and Rowing.

The second place finish for the women in the WCC standings is their highest ever. Women's teams tallied 100 total wins over the season.

Two coaches—Marty Kinsey ’01 for Women’s Cross Country, and Sonja Garnett for Softball—were each named WCC Coaches of the Year. The game that won the Gaels the WCC Title in Softball was also Garnett's 100th at the helm of the Gaels, and it was part of only the second-ever 30-win season in program history. 

That WCC Title in Softball also earned the Gaels a spot in the NCAA Tournament—just the second time in program history they have appeared in the tournament. 


Basketball Dominance and Baseball Prominence

Men's Basketball players celebrate WCC Tournament Championship victory in March 2024
Men's Basketball celebrate the WCC Championship in 2024. / Photo by Tod Fierner

On the men's side, the Gaels finished fourth overall. Men's Basketball continued their dominance in the WCC, winning both the conference regular season and tournament titles. Head Coach Randy Bennett was named WCC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. 

Baseball also returned to prominence, finishing in third place in the WCC. Men's teams tallied 76 total wins on the year.

“Our goal is always year over year improvement within our athletic department, but this year was one for the history books,” said Saint Mary's Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Matoso. “Our 176 wins as a department is the most since the COVID shutdown, while our three conference titles were the most since the 2015–16 academic year. I am extremely proud of all of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff that made this season such an incredible success!"

A second place finish in the final WCC Commissioner's Cup standings ties for the highest finish ever for the Gaels, who also finished in second in the 2015–16 school year.

Saint Mary's Baseball celebrates a victory in 2024
A big year for Baseball, which included three Gaels earning spots on the WCC First Team / Photo by Tod Fierner

2023-24 Commissioner's Cup Standings

1. Pepperdine: 81
2. Saint Mary's: 78.5
3. Santa Clara: 78
4. LMU: 75
5. San Diego: 74.5
6. Gonzaga: 73.5
7. Portland: 66
8. San Francisco: 54
9. Pacific: 50.5

Men's All-Sports Award Standings

1. San Diego: 40
2. Pepperdine: 32.5
3. Santa Clara: 32
4. Saint Mary's: 31.5
5. LMU: 31
6. Portland: 29
7. Gonzaga: 28.5
8. San Francisco: 20.5
9. Pacific: 20.5

Women's All-Sports Award Standings

1. Pepperdine: 46.5
2. Saint Mary's: 46
3. Gonzaga: 44
4. Santa Clara: 44
5. LMU: 43.5
6. Portland: 37
7. San Diego: 33.5
8. San Francisco: 33.5
9. Pacific: 30