Six awards presented for character in athletics
September 26, 2013
As part of the school’s continued commitment to the NAIA’s Champions of Character program, Martin Methodist conducted its 11th Annual Champions of Character Convocation Monday, Sept. 23, in Martin Hall Auditorium.
In front of a near capacity crowd, the RedHawk athletic department honored several student-athletes, coaches and staff members who best personified the five core values of the Champions of Character program – respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and servant leadership – over the last year.
And, for the first time in the event’s history, a total of six awards were handed out as the Male and Female Champions of Character Athletes of the Year featured co-winners.
Former RedHawk women’s tennis player Rachel Wolfe and former RedHawk women’s golfer Teri-Beth Thompson, both of whom earned their degrees in May of this year, shared the Women’s Athlete of the Year Award as a result of their exploits both on the field of play and in the classroom during their RedHawk careers.
Former RedHawk men’s basketball standout Demario Williams and former RedHawk baseball captain Nick Flanagan shared the Men’s Athlete of the Year Award. Williams, who will complete his degree this year, and Flanagan, who graduated in May, made for likely choices since they were each chosen as the school’s Champions of Character representative during their team’s respective runs to the NAIA National Tournament last season.
For their efforts as a collective unit during the 2012-13 season, the Martin Methodist competitive cheerleading squad was named Champions of Character Team of the Year. Under the team motto of “Persistence,” RedHawk head coaches Micah and Monica Hartsfield accepted the award for their team.
“This team receives more requests on a daily basis than any team on our campus,” RedHawks Athletic Director Jeff Bain said. “Whether it be events on campus or events in our community and region – they do it all. And then each day they load up on a bus and ride 45 minutes each way to cheerleading practice. If that’s not persistence, I don’t know what is. That’s why we’re so excited to choose our cheerleading squad as this year’s Team of the Year.”
RedHawk Athletic Trainer Grant Fairchild was also honored with the first-ever Servant Leadership Award for his 12-plus years of hard work and dedication to the RedHawk athletic department.
“Grant is as reliable as they come,” Bain said. “It was a tremendous honor to finally recognize him for the countless hours of service he has dedicated to this campus and this community over the years. No one deserves this Servant Leadership honor more.”
In addition to the awards that were handed out, the RedHawks also welcomed Dr. Jamil Northcutt, assistant athletic director for internal operations at the University of Mississippi, as the program’s guest speaker.
Northcutt, who grew up in nearby Tullahoma, Tenn., and worked for both the Southeastern Conference and the NFL before returning to work at his alma mater, shared his four “I’s Of a Champion” message (Identity plus Intelligence plus Influence equals Impact), stressing the value of having high character, regardless of the situation.
His father, Samuel Northcutt, suffered a mild heart attack while serving as a basketball official during a RedHawk men’s basketball game in March of this year. Fairchild and the rest of the RedHawk coaches and staff quickly rushed to help move Northcutt away from the floor and over to the sideline, where he received care and was ultimately transported to Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia, Tenn.
Thanks to the swift actions of the RedHawk training staff, Northcutt said, his father was saved and has since made a full recovery.
Northcutt said the “I’s of Success” were clearly apparent among the RedHawk staff members on hand that afternoon.
“If not for the Identity, Intelligence, Influence and Impact of Mr. Fairchild and everyone that worked that basketball game that day, my father would have died,” he said. “For all of their efforts, I am eternally grateful. I am now extremely proud to have this connection and bond to this campus and this community.”
Bain said the entire event could not have been better.
“Our 11th annual Champions of Character Convocation was a huge success due to both the high quality of student-athletes honored as well as Dr. Northcutt’s unique ‘I’s of a Champion’ presentation,” Bain said. “It is always a great day when we can honor our student-athletes, team and staff for their campus and community engagements, their reflected level of character traits, their high aspirations for academic success, and their servant leadership.
“This day always is a great reminder to me that our most prized assets on a college campus are, indeed, our students and student-athletes. It was another great day and experience to be a RedHawk.”
The mission of the NAIA Champions of Character Program is to provide training to ensure character is demonstrated through conduct as well as competition, so students know, do and value the right thing in all areas of life.