Four athletic teams receive NAIA Scholar Team Award
August 11, 2009

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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) honored four Bryan College teams for academic excellence during the 2008-2009 academic year. Bryan's rankings are based on the NAIA's nearly 300 member colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball received the NAIA Scholar Team Award.

The women’s soccer team led the way with a team GPA of 3.51. They were tied for the 8th highest GPA of all NAIA women’s soccer teams in the nation and were the only women’s soccer team in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) to receive this award. “Being the head women’s soccer coach at Bryan College is a lot more than just running technical and tactical sessions,” said Head Coach Mark Sauve. “For me, coaching is an opportunity to invest in lives. Coaching extends well beyond the practice fields and times. I take a holistic approach with each individual player. I challenge the girls to always give just a little more on the field and off the field. At the beginning of the spring semester I challenged the girls to have a team GPA higher than a 3.5, and they responded. I am honored to be their coach and I am very proud of my team’s efforts on the field and in the classroom.”

The women’s volleyball team had an overall GPA of 3.45. They were tied for the 27th place in the nation for the NAIA. They were also 1 of 23 teams in the country to receive the American Volleyball Coaches Association Scholar Team Award. “Our student athletes work very hard to be the best students possible. I have always been proud of my athletes' work ethic and am delighted that the players have received the Scholar-Team Award. This award, along with the AVCA Scholar Team Award, is the perfect way to close the book for a terrific 2008 team,” commented Head Coach Leo Sayles.

The women’s basketball team had a 3.41 GPA overall. They had the 18th highest GPA of all NAIA women’s basketball teams in the nation and were the only women’s basketball team in the conference to receive the award. "This is an exciting accomplishment for our program," said Head Coach Jamy Bechler, "We already knew that we had done well academically last season. Our girls really worked hard and took their role as student-athletes seriously. We weren't sure where we matched up against other programs nationally. We feel that we have a good basketball program and have a rich tradition of basketball success. However, it is nice to know that we have a well-rounded program. Our girls have a strong commitment to excellence on and off the court. Bryan College is a top-notch academic school. I am proud of these young ladies for all of their hard work and dedication in the classroom. They have represented Bryan College in a first-class manner. This accomplishment is also a testament to Coach Crews and his work with the team at study hall and monitoring their progress."

The men’s basketball team had a 3.06 GPA. They were tied nationally for the 24th highest GPA of all men’s basketball teams in the NAIA, and were the only men’s basketball team in the AAC to receive the award. Head Coach Don Rekoske said, “To receive this award as a team was an honor and it reflects outstanding academic achievement by all of our players in the basketball program.”

Bryan accounted for 4 of the 13 teams in the AAC to receive the Scholar Team Award, resulting in a tie for the most teams awarded at an individual institution.