MVC commissioner Doug Elgin and Patti Viverito, associate commissioner, were on hand at UE’s student-athlete academic honors breakfast Thursday morning when players and coaches heard the news.
The MVC’s All-Academic Award, now in its 10th year, goes to the league member with the best overall GPA among any athletes who compete, practice or receive financial aid through athletics.
Thirteen of UE’s 14 athletic programs and 214 student-athletes factored into the award-winning GPA. Men’s swimming, which competes in the Mid-American Conference, did not.
En route to winning its first All-Academic Award, Evansville had 9.8 percent of its student-athletes post a 4.0 GPA in the spring, 45.3 percent accumulated a 3.5 and 78.9 percent had at least a 3.0, according to the school.
More than half garnered Dean’s List honors at least one semester, and 61 of the 214 made it both semesters.
Evansville snapped Creighton’s streak of winning five consecutive All-Academic Awards. Along with Drake and Indiana State, UE is the fourth school to earn the recognition.
Bolstering the effort was a 3.65 team GPA by the women’s cross country program, 3.618 by volleyball and 3.56 from women’s swimming. The women’s swimming team’s GPA tied for fifth in the nation among Division I programs, and women’s cross country was eighth.
Women’s tennis, women’s cross country, men’s golf and volleyball teams also received academic recognition last season from organizations within their disciplines.
Individually, men’s basketball player Colt Ryan posted a 3.31 GPA while averaging 20.5 points per game, earning him MVC Scholar Athlete of the Year honors. Three baseball players – Trentt Copeland, Jason Hockeymeyer and James Kohler – made the MVC’s Scholar-Athlete First Team.
Reactions (from GoPurpleAces.com news release):
Senior cross country runner Shelby Cron: “We are going to try to become doctors and try to become lawyers, and to be recognized by the Missouri Valley Conference as the best institution in the conference for academics is a bigger honor than any that we could receive in competition.
“Even though we are a small school, this shows that we are doing really big things. To be recognized lets people know that we are doing big things here and that we are making positive changes. For everyone to be recognized for all the hard work they are putting in is truly an honor.”
MVC commissioner Doug Elgin: “This award speaks well to Evansville; the faculty, the student-athletes and coaches. It is a tremendous achievement when you consider the quality of our schools across the board. This was a tremendously uplifting event to see. To see the faculty, student-athlete and staff turnout was great. What an image it was to have all of those student-athletes up there on stage. It is what we’re about in the Missouri Valley.”
Athletic director John Stanley: ”This is an extraordinary honor for the University of Evansville, our athletic department, but most importantly – the student-athletes. We are proud of the work that each and every one of them do on a daily basis in the classroom and on the field. This award proves what most of us have already known – that student-athletes at the University of Evansville are top notch people, students and athletes.”