LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Northern Michigan University volleyball team received the Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) for the 2010-11 season. This is the fourth year in a row that the Wildcats have received the award.
NMU was one of 57 NCAA Division II schools to receive the award and one-of-two teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. NMU was also one of 11 teams that finished in the AVCA top 25 in 2010 who received the award. The Wildcats were ranked No. 23 at season’s end after finishing 22-7 and 15-4 in the GLIAC.
“I’m very proud of my team,” said Dominic Yoder, head volleyball coach. “They have really committed themselves to the academic side of being a student-athlete while being dedicated to accomplishing team goals on the court as well.”
NMU has qualified for the NCAA Tournament three years in a row and was ranked in top 25 in 11-of-13 weeks in 2010. The ‘Cats started the season on a 17-game winning streak and was ranked as high as No. 13. Nine-of-12 letterwinners return for the 2011 season with high expectations from coach Yoder, “We have a chance for a very special season in 2011 if our leaders can step up and play consistently.”
The Team Academic Award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
“A hearty congratulations to all the volleyball coaches whose teams won the 2011 AVCA Team Academic Award,” said AVCA Executive Director, Kathy DeBoer. “Teams do not succeed in the classroom by accident any more so than they do on the court. The same coach who taught them volleyball skills cared enough about their academic achievement to gather their grades, calculate their GPA, and submit a nomination on their behalf. In doing so, these coaches sent a clear message that classroom success is just as important as court success. All involved should celebrate this award!”
The award has become one of the AVCA’s fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 170% increase over the span of the decade. Since the award’s inception in 1993, the award has risen by an astounding 674%. NCAA Division II recorded their highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 57 programs while Division III easily surpassed last year’s record of 75 winners with 88 this year. The high school division also set a new record with its 192 recipients.
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