Lipscomb athletics is strong on the playing field and in the classroom

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A hallmark of the Lipscomb University athletics program is an emphasis on strong performance in the classroom by its student athletes.

Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Champions

Armstrong_350For the past four years and for the fifth time overall, Lipscomb University student athletes have led the way in academics by claiming the Atlantic Sun Conference Academic Champion Trophy, presented to the school in the league with the highest percentage of student athletes that have claimed a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

And midway through the 2017-18 academic year, Lipscomb University is poised to earn its fifth consecutive trophy as it is in the lead with the highest percentage of student athletes with a 3.0 or better heading into the spring semester.

"After four years in a row, it still doesn’t get old winning this award, and I am pleased that we are looking good to claim it for a fifth consecutive year," said Lipscomb Director of Athletics Philip Hutcheson. "Every year we promote that we have students and athletes and awards like this helps validate that."

Last school year, Lipscomb led the way in the ASUN with 82.27 percent of student athletes eclipsing the 3.0 GPA mark as the Bisons claimed the league’s top academic honor for the fifth time in school history. North Florida was the closest school in the race to Lipscomb as the Ospreys finished with a distant 67.78 percent.

"Just like in past years, the credit goes to our student athletes that are doing the work in classroom along with the field of competition,” said Hutcheson.

“Congratulations to each of them for putting in the long hours to earn this achievement again. Our coaches deserve a big share as well as they promote the culture of strong academics all the way from recruiting through graduation.  

baseball_large"I'd also be remiss if I didn't recognize the work that Dr. Lin Garner and Sherrie Eubanks do in our office along with Brian Mast with the Lipscomb Academic Success Center, Dr. Kent Johnson as our faculty athletics representative and the rest of the academic team on campus."

The Purple and Gold had a school-record 283 honorees on the list, 100 more than any other school in the conference, bringing the all-time total to 2,505. 

Men’s Basketball

In July 2017, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for its work in the classroom as a recipient of the fifth annual Team Academic Excellence Award.

“This is a great accomplishment for our team to once again be among the elite in the country where GPA is concerned,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander.  “It's important to us that our team is a reflection of the student body at Lipscomb and this is a great example of how we're doing that.”

The NABC recognizes teams from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and the NJCAA that have a combined team grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher for the previous school year. The award is the second straight for the Bisons as a team after receiving the honor in 2016.

Women’s Basketball

Last month, ASUN women’s basketball player of the year and Lipscomb stand out Loren Cagle was named to the ASUN Women’s Basketball All-American team for maintaining a 3.6 GPA. Cagle, a senior, is majoring in interdisciplinary teaching.

“That shows how focused and hard-working she is on and off the court,” women’s basketball head coach Greg Brown said of the honor. “One thing about the program is that we have several players that fit that mode. As a team they take great pride in their academics. Obviously, they’re student-athletes first, and this is another example of that. It also shows the strong support from our athletics academic staff.”

Cross Country

ASUN4_largeBoth the Lipscomb men’s and women’s cross country teams were named in February 2017 to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I Scholar Teams of the Year list.

To qualify for the honor, teams must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The Lady Bisons had the highest GPA of any of the women’s teams in the conference at 3.72, while the men’s team tied for the highest GPA in the conference at 3.50.

Men’s Soccer

In December, Lipscomb men’s soccer star Logan Paynter was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America® third team. It is the first time in program history that a Bison soccer player has earned Academic All-American honors.

A total of 34 student-athletes were selected nationally for the three All-America® teams. Paynter has a 3.86 GPA in corporate marketing. In November, the junior picked up his first CoSIDA District 3 All-Academic selection as part of an 11-member team to qualify him for All-American status.

Women’s Soccer

Buhigas_300The Lipscomb women’s soccer team received a team academic award in December from the United Soccer Coaches for their 2016-17 classroom performance.

The Bisons compiled one of the top accumulated GPA’s in the country with a 3.70 mark, an improvement on the previous season's 3.69 number, which was the top GPA in the entirety of Division I. The Lady Bisons had the highest GPA of any ASUN men’s or women’s program. To qualify for the award, teams must have compiled a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the entire academic year.

Softball

Following the 2016-17 season, three Lady Bison softball players were named to the ASUN Conference 2017 Softball All-Academic Team. Pitchers McCarley Thomas and Mandy Jordan and center fielder Kasey Gibson were selected by a vote from the conference media relations directors.

Thomas, with a major in English-Teaching, graduated summa cum laude in May with a 3.95 grade point average. Gibson, a corporate management major, graduated magna cum laude with a 3.76 average. Jordan, a sophomore, has a 3.47 average in fitness and sports science. To be eligible players needed a minimum of a 3.30 GPA and must have played in least half of their team's games.

Track & Field

Also this past summer, after wrapping up another successful season in spring 2017, the Lipscomb track and field squad added multiple national academic honors to its 2016-17 haul, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association over the weekend.

The women’s team was named All-Academic after finishing second in the nation with a cumulative GPA of 3.68. The University of San Francisco topped the list for the second year in a row with a 3.80 GPA.

The men also earned All-Academic status by finishing in third place in the nation with a 3.48 cumulative GPA, close behind the overall leader New Mexico at 3.53.

On the women’s side, junior Kacey Kemper was named an individual honoree, while senior Wayne Newman and junior Juan Gonzalez earned the distinction for the men. The three Bisons were among 16 total ASUN student-athletes honored.

To receive the honor, a student-athlete must have compiled a 3.25 GPA and achieved one of two athletic-related accomplishments. For the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top-96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top-48 in a relay event. For the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships, which includes the preliminary rounds.

"I'm really proud of our men and women,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “They put in a lot of hard work to achieve great things athletically and academically. They take great pride in our academic honors, and obviously they have achieved another amazing result.  

"We have been ranked in the top 5 nationally more years than not since I came to Lipscomb. It doesn't get old. These athletes prove year after year you really can be a 'student-athlete' and excel at both."

Volleyball

volleyball tourney_largeFor the fourth consecutive year the Lipscomb volleyball program was recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) with a Team Academic Award for its success in the classroom for the 2016-17 season. Boasting a 3.54 GPA, the Bisons were one of 145 Division I women’s teams honored.

"We are very excited about our recent ACVA Academic Award,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “The standard of excellence was set a long time ago with Lipscomb Volleyball and academics. I am thoroughly impressed with our team's effort to not only retain that standard, but once again push the bar forward. 

“Through the recruiting process we explain to our girls that this experience is so much bigger than just volleyball.  The academic success that this program continues to have is a direct reflection of the unending desire to give their absolute best at everything they are involved with."

In the classroom, the Bisons were led by two-time ASUN Scholar Athlete of the Year, Kayla Ostrom, who posted a 4.0 while working towards her Masters in Business Administration.

Celebrating its 25th year, the AVCA Team Academic Award honors collegiate and high school squads that maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale. It is the single-largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored