The Southwestern College men’s basketball has received the 2012 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award. The award is issued to one college team in each sport that exemplifies character and sportsmanship during practice, competition, on campus, and in the community. Southwestern is the recipient of the NAIA Division II men’s basketball award.
“Southwestern College, as a campus and athletic department, make good character as well as campus and community service an emphasis,” commented director of athletics Dave Denly. “The college, athletic department, and community have all been touched by the positive actions of the men’s basketball team and we are all very proud that they have been chosen for this outstanding award.”
The men’s basketball team participated in several community service projects early in the year, including their participation in the Numana project at Southwestern that packaged meals for more than 10,000 people in a third world country. The team also made an impact on campus by serving in a campus beautification project that helped with the landscaping in Richard L. Jantz stadium. The team continued to be a positive contributor in the community by taking part in a reading program with children at a local elementary school. For the second consecutive year, the team chaperoned the Halloween party for Big Brothers & Big Sisters. The Moundbuilders commitment to service did not end once the season began though, with the team participating in both the Samaritans Feet movement and the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative during the regular season. According to Denly, the commitment to excellence and multiple examples of a willingness to put the team ahead of the individual played a large part in the success both on and off the court for the Builders.
Seniors Jared Irvin, Ulysses, and James Davis, Oklahoma City, were excited when talking about the influence of character and community service on the Moundbuilder basketball team.
“As a team we had a lot of fun participating in different community service projects and have some great memories from those events,” Irvin said.
“Character shows how your team will respond in tough situations,” Davis added. “Our team’s character helped us stay together through close games and has prepared us to serve and lead both in college and after college.”
“I am very proud of our program to be honored with this prestigious award,” commented head men’s basketball coach Matt O’Brien. “I am fortunate enough to work for an administration that values and encourages good character and community service. It is our desire as coaches to build our program with a foundation of strong character. I am ecstatic for our players and athletic department to be recognized nationally.”