Liberty Athletics becomes fastest rising program in the nation

LYNCHBURG, Va., Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — An annual report released this week shows that Liberty University’s NCAA Division I Athletics program continues to grow in stature and success on a national scale.

Liberty teams captured eight conference championships, our third-straight bowl victory, and led all Division I programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia in winning percentage while student-athletes earned a 3.27 cumulative GPA,” said Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “We enjoyed a prosperous year in 2021-22, and I am grateful to our student-athletes, staff, coaches, and senior administration for the overwhelming support that we received. Liberty Athletics is the fastest rising program in the nation, and we are poised for another outstanding year across the board in 2022-23.”

The conference championships, won by men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, men’s tennis, field hockey, softball, women’s swimming & diving, and women’s cross country, resulted in eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including Liberty’s first-ever NCAA Championship Final appearance by the field hockey team. The team won a nation-high 20 games, led by Jill Bolton, who was named National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Player of the Year, marking another first in Liberty Athletics NCAA Division I history.

In all, Liberty welcomed 20 Power Five opponents to campus in 2021-22 and won a total of 11 games against those schools, including five victories by the softball team.

As Flames Football prepares to join Conference USA in 2023, it has now played 40 FBS opponents from 22 states and eight different FBS conferences since 2017. In winning the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Ala., behind an MVP performance from quarterback Malik Willis, the Flames became only the second team to capture bowl victories in their first three seasons of FBS eligibility, joining Appalachian State (2015-20). Liberty is currently one of only five FBS teams to have won bowl games in each of the last three seasons, along with Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana. A program-record 10 alumni signed NFL contracts this summer, including Willis, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third round of the NFL Draft.

The 2022 home football schedule is the most anticipated in program history. The six-game slate is highlighted by games against ACC and in-state foe Virginia Tech on Nov. 19 and future Big 12 Conference member BYU on Oct. 22.

“Liberty Football has its best roster and most challenging schedule, which has led to unprecedented excitement and record season ticket sales and Flames Club donations,” McCaw said.

The Flames Club, Liberty’s primary booster organization, experienced a 36-percent membership increase over the previous year to more than 4,350 members. The Flames Club raised $4.1 million in 2021-22, more than double the previous year’s record.

Liberty Athletics was declared the Virginia All-State Sports Championship winner for the second year in a row by posting the best overall winning percentage among Division I programs in the ­­­Commonwealth of Virginia in 2021-22. Liberty finished with an overall winning percentage of 65.4 (235 wins, 124 losses, one tie). The men’s athletics programs won 59.6 percent (87-59-0) of their games, paced by the baseball team (37-23), which qualified for the NCAA Regional for the eighth time and third season in a row, and men’s basketball team (22-11), which has won 104 games over the last four seasons, fourth-most among all Division I teams in the nation.

Meanwhile, Liberty’s women’s programs won 69.4 percent (148-65-1) of their contests and the Lady Flames finished atop the women’s all-sport standings.

Click on the photo for the full Liberty Athletics Annual Report 2021-2 Liberty Athletics also posted its second consecutive top-75 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, an annual listing that ranks the top collegiate athletics departments in the country. Liberty ranked No. 13 in the Directors’ Cup standings among non-Power Five programs.
As many goals as Liberty’s athletes met on the playing field, they were also successful in the classroom, achieving a cumulative grade-point average of 3.27 (second-highest in school history) with 269 ASUN Academic Honor Roll members (70.42 percent of its ASUN student-athletes). A total of 415 recorded GPAs of 3.0 or higher, including 55 with perfect 4.0 marks.

Overall, Liberty Athletics accomplished its mission of producing Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills required to impact tomorrow’s world. McCaw cast a vision for Liberty’s Athletics program to Train Champions for Christ by providing a high-quality student-athlete experience and achieving victory with integrity.

Through community service outreaches, including food drives and reading to children and raising funds for supplies at area elementary schools, Liberty’s student-athletes demonstrated love and care toward those in need in the Lynchburg area, serving with grateful hearts and reflecting the light of Christ throughout the community.


Liberty University, founded in 1971, is the world’s premier Christian university, one of the largest private, nonprofit universities in the nation, and the largest university in Virginia. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on over 7,000 acres in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty offers more than 700 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. Over 450 programs are offered online. Utilizing its world-class infrastructure and Christian faculty, Liberty’s mission is to Train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.

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