The Athletic Director's Corner
July 7, 2008
The All-American Five
Butler has had 31 student-athletes earn Academic All-America recognition since 1981, including five this past year. Track/cross country runners Genni Gardner, Claire Holme and Kent Wories joined men's basketball players A. J. Graves and Drew Streicher as Butler Academic All-Americans in 2007-08. This brilliant and talented group is a shining example for all!
We also had 18 student-athletes achieve a perfect 4.00 GPA for the 2008 spring semester. 148 of our 346 student-athlete's currently have a 3.25 or better cumulative GPA. Wow!!
Congratulations to our women's golf team for their 2008 Horizon League Championship. This is the program's FOURTH consecutive championship. With this championship, Butler has notched four Horizon League sport titles (men's cross country, women's cross country, men's basketball and women's golf) in 2007-08 year! Competing at the championship, for first year coach Bill Mattingly's team, were seniors Paige McCracken, Lynnsey Showers, juniors Lauren Showers, Niki Garden and freshman Molly Fields. The tournament was played in windy and cool (ok, it was VERY windy and COLD) conditions at Plum Creek Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
Senior Paige McCracken also received one regional and one national honor: Academic All-District and the Kim Moore National Spirit Award. The purpose of the latter award is to recognize and honor a student-athlete who exemplifies a great spirit toward the game of golf, a positive attitude on and off the golf course, a role model for her team and mental toughness in facing challenges.
McCracken overcame tragedy several times during her golf career, and she emerged as one of the top performers in the Horizon League. She lost her mom to cancer in 2004 and her father to a heart attack in 2006. This past spring, her maternal grandmother also passed away from cancer.
A three-time All-Horizon League golfer, McCracken was named Butler's Most Outstanding Female Senior Athlete in 2007-08. She helped lead Butler to four consecutive Horizon League women's golf championships, and she earned league All-Tournament recognition for four straight years. She was the Horizon League Tournament medalist in 2007, and she ranked among the league's top scorers in each of her four seasons.
And her success wasn't limited to the golf course. An honor student majoring in English Literature and Spanish, McCracken was named an All-American Scholar by the National Golf Coaches Association in 2006 and 2007. She's earned Academic All-League recognition, been picked to the league Academic Honor Roll and has been named Academic All-District. She earned her undergraduate degree earlier this month.
Speaking of golf...a big THANK YOU to the 250+ golfers who participated in the June 9, 2008 Butler Bulldog GOLFEST. Pebble Brook Golf Course, in Noblesville, Ind., served as the host course once again. This fundraiser is a great opportunity to support Butler athletics and to see "Dogs playing golf." Although lightning and rain shortened the day by one or two holes, it was great to see so many Bulldog alums and fans!
It is important to note that our fans filled Hinkle for a second sellout of a men's basketball game this past season. According to Jim McGrath, associate athletic director for communications, that hasn't happened since the years (the late 1950's) of the old Hoosier Classic (a doubleheader affair featuring Butler, Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame). This year's sellouts were the Ohio State and Drake games. Both opponents were formidable and the game atmosphere in Hinkle was electric!
Progress continues on our locker room project which is taking place in the lower level of Hinkle Fieldhouse. This renovation will create updated locker rooms for our softball, women's soccer and women's cross country/track and field teams. The final pieces (the new lockers themselves) should be in place prior to the return of students in August.
Our student-athletes continue to make us incredibly grateful of their outstanding attitudes, hearts and intelligence. Learning from success and failure is required if improvement is to take place. Our teams are doing exactly that and I would say that is a great example of The Butler Way.
The Butler Way... demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while promoting the good of the team above self.