CMU Wins 2015 MAC Cartwright Award

Aug. 27, 2015 Cleveland, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced today the presentation of the Cartwright Award to Central Michigan University for its program excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship during the 2014-15 school year.

The Cartwright Award will be presented to Central Michigan on Thursday, Sept. 3rd, during the Chippewas home football game against Oklahoma State inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium at 7:00 pm ET (ESPNU).

“The Cartwright Award is a unique award in that it recognizes excellence not only on the field of play, but also in the classroom and in community,” said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference Commissioner. “To be selected by its peers for this award is a tremendous honor for Central Michigan University.  I applaud the students, coaches and entire staff for this special honor.” 

The Cartwright Award is an institutional award presented annually to one university in the MAC.  A committee with representation from all 12 institutions selected the Cartwright Award winner from nominations submitted based upon the criteria of excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship.  Central Michigan was the inaugural winner in 2008-09 and only the second MAC school to receive this award twice.

“I am extraordinarily proud of our students, who demonstrate a deep, collective commitment to excellence in the classroom and on the field,” CMU President George E. Ross said. “They also share a passion for others, through their heartfelt support of Special Olympics and their involvement in our local soup kitchen or schools. CMU students understand that what happens on the court or field is important. They also know the biggest success comes in learning, in preparing for careers and in contributing to a cause bigger than themselves.”

The Cartwright Award is named in honor of Dr. Carol A. Cartwright, one of the most highly respected voices in higher education.  Dr. Cartwright served as the President of Kent State University from 1991-2006 and President of Bowling Green from 2008-2011.  Dr. Cartwright previously was the vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of California at Davis and dean for undergraduate programs and vice provost at the Pennsylvania State University.  She has served on the NCAA Board of Directors and is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

“This is a very proud day for Central Michigan Athletics and it is because of the hard work and spirit displayed by each of our students, coaches and staff,” added Central Michigan Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. “The Cartwright award exemplifies the Championship Culture we have worked hard to build here at CMU Athletics. It reflects the overall program excellence we strive for every day.

"One of our fundamental goals is making sure we provide a well-rounded, championship experience for each of our students that participate in the Chippewa Athletic program. This recognition Illustrates that we have been able to achieve that goal and have developed a structure that will continue to offer one of the best overall experiences in collegiate athletics.”

Below is a brief summary of the accomplishments by Central Michigan University in each of the three areas of academic, athletic and citizenship excellence:

Central Michigan Academic Summary (2014-15):
• Eighty-eight (88) students graduated during the Fall and Spring semesters of the 2014-15 academic year.  Three former students graduated with Master/Doctoral degrees during the year.  Also, an anticipated additional 12 students will be graduating at the end of the Summer 2015 term.

• A total of 256 Central Michigan students carry above a 3.00 GPA, of which 117 students maintain a 3.50 GPA or higher.  During the 2014-15 academic year, 148 (34%) were the Dean’s List honorees in Fall 2014, and 140 (32%) were honored in Spring 2015.  Twenty-two students earned a 4.00 GPA for the Fall 2014 semester and 26 students earned a 4.00 during the Spring 2015 semester.

• At the conclusion of the Spring 2015 semester, the cumulative GPA for Central Michigan students was 3.160, marking the 18th consecutive year the cumulative GPA of students above 3.0.

• Eleven of Central Michigan’s 16 sports maintain a 3.00 or better team cumulative GPA.

• All 16 sports programs at Central Michigan surpassed the NCAA Academic Performance Review (APR) Benchmark score of 930, with 15 teams above 950 and all 16 above 945.

• The women’s and men’s cross country teams posted Central Michigan’s top two overall female/male scores with 995 and 963 respectfully.  The volleyball (990), gymnastics (985) and softball (985) programs also rounded out the top Chippewas teams. 

• The soccer team earned their 15th consecutive NSCAA team GPA award with a 3.49 GPA.  Central Michigan men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, softball, women’s track and field and volleyball teams were all recognized by their respective coaches associations for their outstanding team grade point averages. 

• Ninety-Seven Central Michigan students were named Academic All-MAC selections during the 2014-15 year, while 180 students were named to the MAC Honor Roll, 47 were awarded the Commissioner’s Award and 27 the President’s Award.

• Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush was recognized as the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second-Team selection.  Both Rush and wide receiver Jesse Kroll were named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District team.

Central Michigan Athletic Summary (2014-15):
• Central Michigan earned the Reese Trophy as the MAC’s top men’s athletic program for the 2014-15 academic year, and it captured the MAC’s Institutional Sportsmanship Award for the first time in program history.

• The men’s basketball team won its first MAC regular-season championship and earned its first post-season tournament bid since 2003.  The Chippewas finished 23-9, a 13-game improvement in the win column over the previous season and they ranked as the fifth most-improved program in the nation.  Central Michigan finished the season ranked 22nd in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 and coach Keno Davis was named MAC Coach of the Year.

• Central Michigan baseball won its first MAC regular-season title since 2010 and Coach Steve Jaksa was named the MAC Coach of the Year.  Eight Chippewas earned all-conference honors, including first teamer Pat MacKenzie, who was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the MLB Baseball Draft.  The Chippewas’ Sean Martens, Zach McKinstry and Daniel Jipping were named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team, and pitcher Nick Deeg became the first Rawlings Gold Glove winner in school history.

• The field hockey team won its first MAC regular-season championship since 2002.  Cristy Freese, in her 29th and final season as Chippewas’ coach, was named MAC Coach of the Year.

Kylie Fagan became the first gymnastics All-American in Central Michigan history, accomplishing the feat on the uneven parallel bars as she helped lead the Chippewas to the regular-season MAC championship for the first time since 2012.  The Chippewas finished third in the NCAA Regional, matching the second-best regional finish in school history.

Devene Brown earned Second Team All-America honors in the women’s discus.  She was one of two Central Michigan qualifiers in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with Cole Walderzak joining her.

Crystal Bradford from the women’s basketball team was taken by the Los Angeles Sparks with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, becoming the highest selected player in MAC women’s basketball history.  Bradford left Central Michigan as the program’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, field goals and blocks; was a four-time All-MAC selection; a MAC Player of the Year and MAC Defensive Player of the Year; a two-time All-America nominee; and was on the Wade Trophy and Naismith Trophy watch lists; and appeared on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 in 2015.

• Abbey Kelto became just the second female in school history to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Katelyn Rentschler was named the MAC Softball Player of the Year, becoming the first Chippewa in more than a decade to walk away with this prestigious honor.  Sara Hansen earned the league’s Freshman of the Year award.

• Central Michigan football gained national attention with its miraculous fourth-quarter comeback in the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, rallying from a 49-14 deficit to draw within 49-48 on the final play in regulation.  Chippwas defensive tackle Leterrius Walton was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and standout receiver Titus Davis became just the third player in school history to earn All-MAC honors four times.  Quarterback Cooper Rush earned Academic All-America Second Team honors.

Central Michigan Citizenship Summary (2014-15):
• The Central Michigan Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held their sixth annual orientation program entitled “Rookie Camp: Where Your Chippewa Journey Begins.”  This student led initiative was organized and directed by the SAAC to give freshman and transfer students a way to connect with their peers as well as learn more about the athletic department and campus.

• The Central C.A.R.E. (Central Athletes Reaching Everyone) Program continues to position itself as the caretaker of the greater Mount Pleasant community and Mid-Michigan area.  Central Michigan athletics commitment is completely driven by the service and dedication of the students.  During the 2014-15 academic year, Central Michigan students served more than 5,000 hours on-campus and in the community, and raised over $14,000, which benefited local and national charitable and philanthropic organizations.  This includes youth football tours, volunteering at the Isabella County Soup Kitchen and Animal Shelter, youth mentoring, story and recess time at local elementary schools and PEAK after school programs, ‘Chips For A Cure’ cancer awareness initiative, and ‘Hoops For Hunger’ a recess-style home women’s basketball game.

• Students also raised over $7,000 for the Special Olympics of Michigan during the annual Chippy Awards.  Tickets were sold to the school’s version of the ESPY awards with all proceeds being donated to Special Olympics.

• Student-Athlete Services (SAS) continued its collaboration with Central Michigan’s campus First-Year Experience (FYE) Program.  FYE 101, a required course for all freshmen student-athletes, was taught in five different sections and continues to assist in the overall retention of freshman as its designed as an orientation class and provide transitional skills for college success and a guide to understanding athletic eligibility.

• The Athletics Director Leadership Development Program (ADLDP) is an initiative designed to instill the concepts of character development, social responsibility, citizenship and leadership among students.  This past year programming included cooking classes, stress relief yoga sessions and career readiness programs, while all students, coaches and administration attended presentations on social media, financial planning with an emphasis on banking and budgeting to investing.

• Central Michigan athletics participated with the Special Olympics ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ campaign, an initiative to end the use of the term ‘retard’, as students and coaches signed banners as a pledge to end the use of such word(s).

• Central Michigan’s SAAC organized the annual ‘Welcome Back Parties’ in both the fall and spring semesters for students, coaches and administration.  The group also organized the downtown holiday parade celebration where they participated in the Mt. Pleasant Holiday Parade.

• Over 100 Central Michigan students volunteered at the annual Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games, held on the campus of Central Michigan.

• Students Chris Fowler and Sadie Reynolds participated in CMU’s “It’s On Us” video, which mirrored the national movement inspiring students to stand up against sexual assault and harassment.

Cartwright Award Winners:
2014-15  Central Michigan
2013-14  Eastern Michigan
2012-13  Kent State
2011-12  Toledo
2010-11  Western Michigan
2009-10  Kent State
2008-09  Central Michigan

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