Nations Emerald: Oregon Ducks Athletics Becoming Some of The Nations Best

Nathan LoweryCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2011

EUGENE, OR - JANUARY 13:  A giant 'O' is seen on the bottom of the scoreboard before the first game between the USC Trojans and the Oregon Ducks basketball teams at Matthew Knight Arena on January 13, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. The arena is named in memory of Matthew Knight, the son of Phil Knight who is the co-founder and Chairman of Nike, Inc. Matthew died at the age of 34 in a scuba diving accident. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Eugene, Oregon. Home of the University of Oregon. If I had written this article 10 years ago, people would have called me crazy. Even now most people will call me crazy but the Oregon Ducks have some of the best athletic programs in the nation. Almost every sport is competing at a top level, and if they aren't then they are getting there. I'm going to break-up this article into each sport at the University of Oregon.

Athletic Facilities:

I know it's not a sport, but the facilities at Oregon are absolutely amazing. I have personally visited each one, with the exception of newly opened Matthew Knight Arena, but McArthur Court had to be one of the coolest basketball stadiums I have ever seen. Financed by Oregon Alumni and Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight, the Ducks have some of the best venues in the country.

Autzen Stadium: Home to the University of Oregon football team since 1967, yes 1967, Autzen Stadiums has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest stadiums to watch a football game in. If you haven't yet seen game at the Autzen Zoo, get there as soon as you can. It's a spectacle. The Stadium is one of the loudest you will ever be in. And it is an interesting design.

Matthew Knight Arena: The newest venue to the Ducks is the home of the Ducks basketball team. Opened last month, Matthew Knight Arena is one of the largest College Basketball Venues in the country. I haven't yet been to MKA, but it is supposed to be a spectacle. Have you seen the court? Only in Eugene.

PK Park: Home of the Ducks three-year-old reborn Baseball team, PK Park is the nicest baseball park in the country. With a state of an art video-board and a classic inning by inning score board, PK Park is a real treat. With luxury and press boxes PK Park is something more than just a regular college baseball field.

Heyward Field: Track Town, USA. For almost 100 years now, Heyward Field has been home to the Ducks legendary Track and Field team. With the Bowerman Building, the video score-board and the old-fashioned feel, Heyward Field has hosted America's best Track meets.

For more information on the Ducks state of the art facilities check out here.

Oregon Ducks Football:

On a resurgence from the once embarrassing football program in Eugene, the Ducks have ended the past two season ranked in the Top 10. That includes a loss in the BCS National Championship game to Auburn.

 The Ducks flashy uniforms are the face of Oregon's football program. Despite lots of criticism, you have to admit, the Ducks uniforms are pretty cool, even if there are some bad ones.

But uniforms aside, the Ducks are just as flashy and sometimes irritating, on the field. The Ducks are on the climb and have pretty much reached the top of the summit. All they have to do is stay the king of the hill.

Recruiting wise, the Ducks are doing great for an Oregon school. Who wouldn't want to play at Autzen. Duck fans are absolutely crazy.

Oregon Ducks Baseball:

In only it's third year back, the Ducks have made huge strides. About every college baseball poll has the Ducks as a Top 15 team, and they have good reason.

The Ducks have been bringing in top five recruiting classes under Head Coach George Horton.

Horton, who won a College World Series with Cal State Fullerton, improved on his debut season record with the Ducks, 14-42, to get the Ducks a bid in the College Baseball Playoffs in 2010, with a record of 40-24.

The Ducks are becoming one of the Nation's best baseball teams, and the program is about to enter it's third year of reinstatement.

PK Park sure has been good to Oregon.

Oregon Ducks Men's Basketball:

Probably Oregon's one weak spot is their basketball teams. But the Men are on the rebound. In Dana Altman's first season as the Ducks head coach, the Ducks have become extremely competitive and are giving teams a tough time getting the victory.

Altman is also bringing in more high profile recruits to give the Ducks a bright future to redeem Oregon's Men's Basketball Teams. Not since 1935 have the Ducks won a National Championship, and with only two Elite Eight Appearances in the past decade, the Ducks need to step it up.

But Altman is slowly working at it, and could even have the Ducks in the NCAA Tourney by next year.

Oregon Ducks Cross Country:

One of the brighter spots in Oregon athletics is the Ducks storied Cross Country Program.

With 8 National Championships, and countless times being ranked in the Top Five of the Cross Country poll, the Ducks are doing great.

With greats such as Steve Prefontaine (three time NCAA Cross Country Champion and Hall of Fame runner) and Alberto Salazarr and Galen Rupp (one time NCAA Cross Country Champions and NYC/Boston Marathon winner(Salazarr), the Ducks have the most storied Cross Country program in NCAA History thanks to the three Bills. (Hayward, Bowerman, and Dillenger)

Oregon Ducks Track and Field:

Like the Ducks Cross Country Program, the Track one is just as historic.

With 8 National Championships, and countless individual winners, the Ducks have dominated the track scene for quite some time. Eugene is after all Track Town USA.

The individuals to run for the Ducks Track Program are some of the best athletes ever to walk the Earth. Steve Prefontaine (four-time NCAA Champion at three miles and fourth in the 5000m at the 1972 Munich Olympics) Joaquim Cruz (Olympic 800m champion and NCAA Champion in 1500 and 800) Andrew Wheating(second fastest American 1500m ever.), Alberto Salazaar (Boston and NYC Marathon champion) and Ashton Eaton(World Record Holder in the Pentathalon) to go along with countless others. The Ducks as well have one the only two Bowerman Awards (College Tracks Heisman Trophy)

Oregon Ducks Women's Basketball:

Like the Men's basketball team, the Women's is the weakest link.

Unlike their Male counterparts, the Women have no accomplished a whole lot in their history.

The Women do have a bright future. Second year head coach Paul Westhead has improved the program and is starting to get the Women winning again.

Oregon Ducks Men's Golf:

The Ducks men's golf team has done pretty good the past couple years.  In the area of recruiting, they have been impressive getting some good recruits.

Heading into the National Championship in 2010, the Ducks were ranked No. 1 and were showing promise of a great future.

Oregon Ducks Men's Tennis:

The Ducks Men's Tennis Team is currently 5-1 and playing extremely well.

The Ducks have consistently had good seasons and always seem to play well. In recruiting the Ducks have been able to land some good recruits to keep the program going strong.

Oregon Ducks Acrobatics and Tumbling:

Like the Ducks football team, the Acrobatics and Tumbling team is extremely high-scoring.

The Ducks are currently ranked second in the Nation and seem to play at a high level, consistently. And that's the most important thing to having a good program. Consistency.

Oregon Ducks Women's Golf:

While not as good as the men's team, the Women's is extremely good.

Currently ranked 27th in the Nation, the Women's team has been playing at a high level and continue to do well in recruiting.

Oregon Ducks Lacrosse:
The Duck's Lacrosse team dominates recruiting on the west coast. And all of that pays off for the Ducks.

Currently the Ducks are ranked third in the preseason poll and have continued consistency at the National Level.

Oregon Ducks Soccer:

Another weaker spot for the Ducks, is the Soccer team. They are no where near as bad as the basketball team's though.

The Ducks soccer just doesn't play at as high of a level as the rest of the Ducks athletic teams and don't have a great amount of consistency.

Jen Stoltenberg was a recent All-American and was selected ninth in the 2011 WPS draft, so Oregon isn't all that bad.

Oregon Ducks Softball:

The Ducks are off to a great start, beating multiple Top 20 teams so far in 2010. The recruiting is strong for the Ducks softball team which helped give the Softball team a ranking of 14th this season.

And the Ducks softball team has always been good. Not a National Champion calibre team, but a competitive team that can make it into the playoffs with ease.

Head Coach Mike White is a USA Coach which definitely helps the Ducks.

Oregon Ducks Women's Tennis:

Like their male counterparts, the Women's Tennis Team does well, but not great. The team is competitive and will get a playoff bid on occasions.

The Women's team still has consistency.

Oregon Ducks Volleyball:

The Ducks volleyball has to be, along with the Track and Cross Country Team's, the most consistent athletic program in Eugene.

The Duck's constantly make the NCAA Tournament. Granted they don't win, but they make a good run and are consistently ranked.

I know that was a pretty long overview of Oregon's Athletic Team's. If you decided to read the whole thing, can't you see that the Ducks have one of the best athletic programs in the Nation. They are competitive, consistent and do well in recruiting. Put that together with the best venues in the Nation and you got some great Athletes coming through Eugene. Congratulations to AD Rob Mullen's and all of the previous AD's at the University of Oregon.



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