FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast volleyball team was one of 533 total teams and one of 102 NCAA Division I programs that earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2011-12 season the AVCA announced on Friday, July 20th.
“We are very proud of the tremendous effort and commitment that our young women put in to their academics to earn this prestigious award,” said head coach Dave Nichols. “FGCU creates an environment where on-court excellence is matched by that same drive for academics. I think our students truly understand that having a balance between sport and classroom is the ideal for college athletics. It is wonderful to see their hard work recognized.”
The 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 (GPA) on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
The Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. NCAA Division I recorded their highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 102 programs. The Eagles, who finished the 2011-12 academic year with a 3.46 cumulative team GPA (including a program record 3.67 in the Spring), were one of six Atlantic Sun volleyball programs to earn AVCA Team Academic Award honors. Leading the way were Courtney Greenberg (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Juniata College) and Liga Strautniece (Riga, Latvia/Rigas Anglu Gimmazija) with perfect 4.0’s, Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani HS) (3.94), Lindsey Childs (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./South Plantation HS) and Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) (3.93) and Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) (3.83).
“I want to congratulate Coach Nichols, his staff, and our terrific group of young women for collectively defining what the term ‘student-athlete’ truly represents, with another strong season on the court and a phenomenal year in the classroom,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “Including our wonderful faculty and academic support staff, we congratulate all involved with this tremendous achievement.”
The Eagles, who return 11 players, including 2011 Freshman of the Year and second team All-Conference performer Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) open the 2012 campaign at the Campus USA Credit Union Invite in Gainesville, Fla. on August 24.
The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to develop and grow the sport of volleyball; with a membership of over 5,000 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and developing the sport. Members are comprised of national and international coaches, collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as club directors. Other members include former players, officials, media members and other friends of volleyball. As a group, the AVCA is committed to the development, growth, advancement and publicity of volleyball throughout the world. Further information is available at www.avca.org.