JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) - The Arkansas State Athletics Department honored its senior student-athletes and announced its major award winners for 2013-14 at "The stAte Awards" Monday night at the Convocation Center.
The event, being held for the second straight year, began at approximately 5:30 p.m. with a "red carpet walk" by the coaches and student-athletes at the Convo entrance. The coaches and student-athletes enjoyed a buffet dinner before the program began at 6:15 p.m. with introductory remarks from A-State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir.
Mohajir discussed many of the academic and athletic accolades by A-State's student-athletes this year, but placed a large focus on the Red Wolves' first-time accomplishments. The academic highlights included a 3.029 all-department GPA and 197 student-athletes earning a spot on the Athletics Director's Honor Roll for the 2013 fall semester, which were both school records.
Competitively, the Red Wolves currently rank 74th in the nation among nearly 350 NCAA Division I schools in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup for its highest standing ever through the winter tabulations. Additionally, the A-State football team won its third straight conference championship for the first time ever as an FBS member. The women's cross country and women's basketball teams picked up their first Sun Belt Conference titles this year as well.
A-State Head Women's Basketball Coach Brian Boyer, who was named the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year and broke the league record for most victories ever by a head coach, and SAAC President Katie Hosea both also addressed the crowd. Mohajir presented this year's AD Service Award to Dr. Sammy Gennuso, an Assistant Professor of English at Arkansas State University who has dedicated over 50 years of his professional life to the school.
A highlight video celebrating the 2013-14 seasons for all 16 Red Wolves' sports was shown on the arena video boards and was followed by the presentation of several honors. In between some of the recognitions, video skits designed by each team were also played.
The women's basketball, men's golf and women's tennis teams were all recognized for winning the Sun Belt Conference Team GPA awards, while the women's golf squad earned an Athletic Director's Honor Roll recognition. The Athletics Department also recognized the senior A-State cheerleaders, Red Wolves Dancers and band members for their accomplishments and high involvement with A-State Athletics.
Individual awards announced included the Terry Gwin Award and the Scott and Kay Dawson Ambassador Award, two of the most prestigious honors an A-State student-athlete can receive.
Senior track and field athlete and national champion Sharika Nelvis and senior first team Academic All-America football kicker Brian Davis were named the recipients of the Terry Gwin Award, named after former football player Terry Gwin and based on leadership, citizenship, scholarship and athletic performance.
The Scott and Kay Dawson Ambassador Award winners were senior track and field athlete Kim Raath and senior football player Darius Dunaway. The criteria for the award includes but is not limited to excellence in service, attitude, integrity, loyalty, character and leadership.
A-State student-athletes nominated for Sun Belt Conference awards were honored at the ceremony as well. Davis and Nelvis are nominated for the Sun Belt Conference Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year. Raath and senior football player Julian Jones are nominated for the SBC Postgraduate Scholarship Award. Endsley Evans from the women's golf team is A-State's institutional representative for the SBC Leadership Team.
The H.T. "Pug" Winters Degree Completion Award went to Bradley Wallace (baseball), and the Billie Gene Davidson Degree Completion Award was presented to Kelsey Bean (women's track and field). The Red Wolves' 2013-14 female Freshman of the Year winner was Brooke Wood (bowling), while the male Freshman of the Year was Roelf Pienaar (track and field). The Coach of the Year Award was presented to Boyer.
Also as part of the event, trophies were presented to A-State's 2013-14 All-Sun Belt Conference selections. The evening concluded when the head coaches and Mohajir recognized the seniors sport-by-sport for their commitment and contributions to Arkansas State University and Red Wolves Athletics throughout their career by presenting them with their senior rings and Sun Belt Conference graduation medals.