National Awards Day - 2018 Winners
24 Honored at NAIA National Awards Day
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced 21 honorees with the association’s highest individual honors as part of its annual NAIA National Awards Day on September 17, 2018. Achievements of NAIA student-athletes, administrators and coaches were recognized, as well as the introduction of eight outstanding athletes and coaches who will be inducted into the 2017-18 NAIA Hall of Fame Class.
2017-18 NAIA National Award Winners:
A. O. Duer Scholarship Award: Cassidy Rea, Westmont College; Joel Katzer, Morningside College
Named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary for his service of 26 years to the association, this scholarship recognizes academics, character and citizenship by junior student-athletes in any sport. Presented by Daktronics, the A.O. Duer Scholarship has been awarded to one male and one female junior athlete since 1967. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship.
Cassidy, a volleyball student-athlete at Westmont College (Calif.), has maintained a 3.94 GPA while double majoring in History and Political Science, with a specialization in Middle East Studies. A native of Ventura, Calif., Cassidy has been fortunate to travel across the world not only educating herself but others as well. During a study abroad program she was challenged with the difficult task of teaching English to children in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. As a teacher, Cassidy excelled in observing the most effective teaching methods and adjusting accordingly for her students, always entering the classroom with a contagious enthusiasm that did not go unnoticed. Upon completing the semester she was asked to return in 2020 to be an assistant director for the study abroad program. Those around Cassidy are constantly impressed by her ability to stay committed to athletic excellence in addition to her academics and extra-curricular activities. She was selected the Golden State Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, followed by earning All-American Honorable Mention status in her sophomore year. Cassidy has also shared her knowledge of the game at volleyball clinics with the Boys and Girls Club locally.
Joel, a product of Sioux City, Iowa, is a football student-athlete at Morningside College (Iowa) that is making his mark both on and off the field. Joel boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA while double-majoring in Biology and Chemistry, often receiving praise from his professors and peers for his willingness to learn and appreciate the complex subjects that come with his line of study. This appreciation led to Joel helping to form the Morningside Mentors in Science Program where students volunteer their time demonstrating and teaching science to local youth at the Boys and Girls Club. Joel’s dedication to service went beyond the local community last spring when he organized a spring break trip to Houston with 15 of his teammates where they worked with Hand of Hope Ministries to help rebuild damages from Hurricane Harvey. Joel’s natural leadership and instincts translate to the field as well, where he was selected first team all-conference his sophomore year at linebacker and is poised to take on an even larger leadership role as an upperclassman.
Emil S. Liston Award: Kendall Knapke, Indiana Tech; Joel Johnson, Corban University
Presented by Daktronics, the Emil S. Liston award recognizes both academic and athletic excellence by junior student-athletes in men’s and women’s basketball. The scholarship is named in honor of the NAIA’s first executive secretary who was also a prime mover behind the men’s basketball tournament. This award has been presented annually since 1950 to one junior men’s and one junior women’s basketball student-athlete. Each student is awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
A native of Hoagland, Ind., Kendall has quickly grown into her campus-wide role as a student-athlete at Indiana Tech. Kendall has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA as an Accounting major, earning accolades such as first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athlete honors. Her leadership in the classroom led her to become an officer in the Society of Future Accountants. Her consistency for excellence in the classroom translates to the court as well, as she has started in 101 consecutive games and has already surpassed the 1,000-point total in just her first three seasons as a Warrior. This unparalleled consistency had Kendall selected to All-WHAC Women’s Basketball team for the past two seasons. Her volunteer work in the community does not go unnoticed by faculty and peers, as she continues to dedicate her time to Community Harvest Food Bank and For 4 Fitness. In her three years on campus, Kendall has proven to be an exemplary member of the Indiana Tech community both as a student and as an athlete.
Joel, who hails from Tigard, Ore., has truly found his place as a student-athlete at Corban University. Joel boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA while studying Health Sciences in the Pre-Med program. Teachers and peers alike take notice and appreciation of Joel’s humbled work ethic that is required for the strenuous course load the program requires of students. With hopes of attending medical school and becoming an orthopedic surgeon, Joel has already started a life of service travelling to Haiti with a team of doctors to provide much needed medical attention to their local communities. His presence on the court matches his work in the classroom, as Joel finished in the NAIA’s top-10 in four statistical categories last season. His success on the hardwood led to being named first-team All-Cascade Collegiate Conference last year. Whether on the court, in the classroom, or even out of the country, Joel is a humbled example of a well-rounded student-athlete and makes an impact on everyone he encounters.
Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award: Libby Dahlberg, Westmont College
Named in honor of former NAIA President and President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, Dr. LeRoy Walker, this award recognizes a junior or senior student-athlete who displays the NAIA Champions of Character five core values, demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership, athletic achievement and has a strong future ambition.
Since arriving on campus at Westmont College, Libby Dahlberg has been a servant leader servant-leader through her relationships with younger athletes and students throughout the Westmont community and in Santa Barbara.
An outstanding student, Dalhberg has maintained a 3.79 GPA while majoring in Chemistry and earning Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors. She was also chosen as a research student in the Westmont Chemistry Department during the summer of 2018, where she worked with her professor on discovering the structure of Ruthenium compounds by using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).
Her success on the court speaks for itself, as Dahlberg was named the GSAC Freshman of the Year following her rookie campaign, and has subsequently been named the GSAC Player of the Year in her sophomore and junior seasons. Already a three-time NAIA All-American, including first-team honors in both 2016 and 2017, she also travelled to Colorado Springs after her sophomore season to the Olympic Training Center for the 2017 USA National Team Open Tryouts. Dahlberg was also voted team captain by her teammates heading into the 2018 season.
In the community, Dahlberg has served as a youth group leader, assisting and participating in mission trips to Ensenada, Mexico, San Francisco and Globe, Ariz., where she was a member of the Vacation Bible School team, creating fun and innovative programs for children in Ensenada, and worked with non-profits in San Francisco such as YWAM, InnerCHANGE and Project Openhand. Dalhberg has also tutored high school students in both Calculus and Integrated Math and mentored elementary school students in their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program. She is also a part of the leadership team for Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Westmont, helping to organize bi-monthly meetings and encourage participation and inclusion of student-athletes from every team on campus.
Dahlberg has embodied the qualities of servant leadership, approaching each day by caring and serving those around her for the good of her community, campus and team.
NAIA Coach of Character Award: Kirsten Moore, Westmont College
The Coach of Character Award is presented annually to an NAIA head coach who has been with the institution for a minimum of five years and who has embraced the five cores values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, as demonstrated through sports, both in and outside of competition.
Kirsten Moore, head Women’s Basketball coach at Westmont College (Calif.), has been selected as this year’s NAIA Coach of Character. Since coming to Westmont in 2005, Moore’s many accomplishments on the court are impressive, but her ability to lead her teams past unprecedented obstacles and tragedy is a testament to her integrity, compassion and grit. Most recently, she and her team persevered through recent fires, mudslides and forced evacuations on campus, as well as dealing with the loss of a local elementary school girl.
Coach Moore sets high standards and expectations for her team and holds her players accountable. She conducts an annual team retreat where each player helps craft a team vision statement, in which the team studies in-depth and embodies throughout the season. The vision statement is always centered around the five core values and is completely character-driven. Moore also holds weekly leadership training sessions and has led her team on a mission trip to Africa.
Among her many accolades, Moore has led Westmont to the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship in 11 of her 13 seasons, capturing the title in 2013, and finishing as the national runner-up in 2018. She was named the 2013 NAIA Women’s Division I Basketball Coach of the Year and was also the 2013 recipient of the NAIA All That’s Right in Sport Award.
A proud mother of daughter, Alexis Moore also serves as the associate director of athletics at Westmont and found time to serve two terms as the NAIA representative for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She is currently working with USA Basketball to elevate the women’s basketball game on a national level.
Athletics Director of the Year: Bill Popp, Reinhardt University
Reinhardt University’s Bill Popp has been selected as the 2018 NAIA Athletics Director of the Year for his numerous accomplishments within his institution’s athletics department. This prestigious award has been given annually to an athletics director for their success and development within all facets of athletic administration over the course of the previous academic year.
After 13 years of service, Bill has transformed the Reinhardt University Athletics Department into one of the most respected and accomplished NAIA institutions, and his achievements during the 2017-18 academic year are his best yet. Under Bill’s guidance, Reinhardt claimed 11 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular-season and tournament championships, winning the AAC’s prestigious Duard Walker All-Sports Trophy, which recognizes the AAC’s most successful all-around sports program each year, for the first time in program history. Reinhardt sent eight teams to their respective national championships, while also sending qualifiers in three individual sports. The Eagles collected the men’s lacrosse NAIA red banner for the second-straight year, was the national championship runner-up in football in just its fifth year of the program, advanced to the national semifinals in men’s tennis and earned its first-ever appearance in the NAIA Baseball World Series.
Beyond the competitive success seen last season, Bill continued to serve the NAIA in meaningful ways, serving as the vice president of the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC), the chair of the NAIA National Drug Testing Education Committee and as a member of NAIA Athletic Directors Association (ADA) Board of Directors where he has been a part of the mentoring program since its inception. Bill also serves on the President’s Cabinet and leadership team at Reinhardt, where he was recently promoted to vice president for athletics and director of athletics, while also operating as the vice president of the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Under Bill’s leadership, 2017-18 marked Reinhardt’s first-ever “RESPY'S,” an all-sport awards banquet and fundraiser to offset budget costs and promote the success of Eagles’ student-athletes and staff. The 2017-18 academic year was also Reinhardt’s first year of a licensing agreement with Learfield Sports, where the Eagles have already shown a positive return on investment.
Charles Morris Administrator of the Year: Farnum Smith, William Jessup University
The 2018 Charles Morris Administrator of the Year award winner is Farnum Smith of William Jessup University (Calif.). This honor, which was created in memory of the former NAIA Associate Executive Director Charles Morris, recognizes an NAIA member who has made significant contributions as an administrator of intercollegiate athletics, while also exemplifying the loyalty and enthusiasm which Mr. Morris had for the association.
The 2018 Charles Morris Administrator of the Year award winner is Farnum Smith of William Jessup University (Calif.). This honor, which was created in memory of the former NAIA Associate Executive Director Charles Morris, recognizes an NAIA member who has made significant contributions as an administrator of intercollegiate athletics, while also exemplifying the loyalty and enthusiasm which Mr. Morris had for the association.
Farnum has served William Jessup University for nearly 30 years in numerous athletic-related capacities and has done so with unwavering loyalty and enthusiasm for both the institution and the NAIA. His role is instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the William Jessup Athletics Department, including coordinating and executing the eligibility process and NAIA rules education, assisting with the strategic development of athletic policies and procedures, executing game management and oversight of all game-day staff, managing on-site athletic facilities, equipment and field maintenance and organizing William Jessup athletic fundraisers.
Farnum oversaw the application process and transition of William Jessup University into the NAIA. Since joining the NAIA in 2004-05, Farnum has led the Warriors’ Champions of Character initiative and consistently models the “Live 5” mantra to William Jessup’s student-athletes, coaches and administrators on a daily basis. The Warriors’ current presence in the NAIA and consistent growth in sport sponsorship and performance at a high level can be attributed to the hard work, loyalty and enthusiasm that Farnum displays in his everyday life and his ability to impact everyone he comes in contact with.
Wally Schwartz Faculty Athletics Representative of the Year: Clay Robinson, Lewis-Clark State College
Dr. Clay Robinson of Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) is the 2018 Wally Schwartz faculty athletics representative of the Year. This high honor, put into place in honor of past Vice President of Legislative Services and NAIA Hall of Famer Wally Schwartz, looks to recognize a Faculty Athletics Representative who exemplifies the loyalty, enthusiasm and honesty in which Mr. Schwartz showed on behalf of the NAIA.
Dr. Robinson’s tenure, as Lewis-Clark State College’s FAR, began in 2002 and he has continued his positive influence on campus ever since. In addition to his position as the FAR at LCSC, he has served on the Frontier Conference Eligibility Committee for over a decade and is a professor of Kinesiology on the Lewis-Clark State campus. His passion for athletics began at a young age where he excelled in rodeo in both high school and college, and he has carried that enthusiasm into his career in his ability to impact others.
Lewis-Clark State College Athletics has seen a direct impact of Dr. Robinson’s influence on campus through his work in the formation of the Athletics Academic Advisory Committee. This committee can largely be credited for 12 of 14 varsity programs earning NAIA Scholar Team Awards and an average 3.34 GPA for all student-athletes. His commitment to the betterment of LCSC does not go unnoticed, being presented the Outstanding Educator of the Year in 2014. A devoted family man that still carries a work ethic developed through a rural ranching background, Dr. Robinson is admired by his consistent and unwavering dedication to his student-athletes. When assessing situations, everyone listens to Dr. Robinson for his in-depth knowledge and the occasional glimpse of his sense of humor that lightens the room. Peers consider him a man that embodies the mission of the NAIA, is extremely loyal to his fellow FARs and well respected by all.
Sports Information Director of the Year: Danny Day, Corban University
The 2018 Sports Information Director of the Year award winner is Danny Day from Corban University (Ore.). This honor is presented to one SID based on the accomplishments during the previous year in the areas of athletics communication, sports information, promotion and service to the NAIA.
Danny has become one of the rising stars in the field and has already garnered accolades for his work. His publicity video was honored at the 2017 NAIA-SIDA Convention as the best in the nation. Overall on his campus, he oversaw 85 total videos produced in the 2017-18 academic year, including game highlights/recaps, features, promos, season-preview interviews and student-athlete interviews.
In 2017-18, Day implemented a new social media strategy where he utilized photoshoots to capture high-quality photos for use during the season. In addition, he shot video to create Corban University branded social media content for use in GIF content, original videos and graphic treatments.
Day’s efforts on the Corban Athletics website (CorbanWarriors.com) not only drew 300,000 more views in 2017-18 than the previous year but helped earn the site second place in the NAIA-SIDA Website contest.
Day’s contributions spread past Corban Athletics, where he has hosted or has been a primary contributor in several Cascade Collegiate Conference Championships. His efforts have not only garnered the respect of his colleagues from around the NAIA, but have made him one of the top young professionals in Athletics Communications.
Clarence "Ike" Pearson SID Award: Chad Waller, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
Given annually to a member of the NAIA Sports Information Directors Association (NAIA-SIDA), the Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award honors outstanding contributions to the profession. The award is named in honor of the former statistical crew chief of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Kansas City, Mo.
The 2018 recipient of the Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award is Chad Waller, who spent the last 11 years at the NAIA National Office as the Director of Athletics Communications. In his time at the National Office, Waller was instrumental in placing NAIA National Championships on the ESPN platform, both on streaming and linear networks, and has been the direct contact for many championships such as Division I Men’s Basketball, Softball and Men’s Soccer.
Waller assisted in high-media placements that gained nearly $3 million in publicity value in five NAIA National Championship events in 2017-18.
In addition to his work at the National Office, Waller has been a part of the NAIA-SIDA Board of Directors since the beginning of his time with the association. He helped to lead continuing education program efforts for NAIA-SIDA, in addition to his daily responsibilities of overseeing a $100,000 budget, serving as content editor for NAIA.org and managing a staff of two to strategically and effectively promote 26 NAIA National Championship events.
Waller has been a guiding force for both the communication efforts of the NAIA and the strategic communicators of its member institutions.
Athletic Trainer of the Year: Rashaun Bailey, University of the Cumberlands
The NAIA Athletic Trainer of the Year recognizes a NATA certified athletic trainer at an NAIA institution who has distinguished themselves as a model of the profession in personal conduct and professional allied health service to the NAIA student-athletes.
Rashaun Bailey of the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) has been named the 2018 NAIA Athletic Trainer of the Year. Rashaun was credited with saving the life of one of the Patriot men’s basketball players in 2017. In only his first week on the job, he rendered emergency care to by administering CPR and applying an AED to the patient. Because of the rural location of the school, it took EMS over 20 minutes to respond. Had Rashaun, in collaboration with another athletic trainer, not been properly trained and acted promptly and professionally, the outcome may have not been so positive.
Beyond the lifesaving care, he remained by the patient at the hospital until his family arrived and continued to work closely with the student-athlete throughout his recovery. Rashaun unselfishly committed himself to not only the affected student-athlete but to his family and the other student-athletes affected by this tragedy.
Rashaun is described as a loyal, unselfish, creative, fun-loving professional. He is constantly striving to better himself and the profession of athletic training through a commitment to learning and application of evidence-based patient care.
Larry Lady Officiating Award: Matt Shute, Women's Basketball Official
The Larry Lady Officiating Award, named in honor of the former NAIA Coordinator of Officials for basketball, football and baseball, recognizes officials of outstanding quality, high moral character, fine officiating ability and who are held in high esteem by their colleagues, administrators and athletes.
The 2018 Larry Lady Officiating Award is presented to Matt Shute of Bozeman, Montana, who has been a Men’s and Women’s Basketball official for 30 years and has officiated the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship seven times. Along with officiating multiple divisions in basketball, Matt has served as a basketball camp instructor for the past 10 years, while also making presentations at many officiating association meetings.
Off the court, Matt is a member of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce and is involved with the local cancer support community. Matt is known as a person that keeps his cool during intense situations and a great communicator who is respected by coaches and fellow officials alike. His game management skills and his constant professional attitude provide an invaluable resource for his crew in every game he officiates. With his actions and deeds, Matt truly illustrates what it means to be a Champion of Character in all walks of life.
2018-19 NAIA Hall of Fame Inductees
The Hall of Fame Award is the highest honor presented by the association. Nominees must have outstanding character and leadership ability, and be held in high esteem by their colleagues, former coaches and athletes. The Hall of Fame consists of an athlete and coach category for each sport and a category for general meritorious service.
Mike Van Diest, Carroll College, Football – Coach
Mike Van Diest enters his 20th season as the head coach of the Carroll College (Mont.) football program, having built a resume that rivals the best in the NAIA coaching ranks.
Van Diest has developed one of the most dominating programs in the recent history of NAIA Football, as the Fighting Saints have assembled an impressive overall record of 198-48 (.804) in his 19 seasons at the helm. He has led Carroll College to an NAIA-best six Football National Championships, including a run of four straight titles from 2002-2005. Coach Van Diest has tallied a 39-8 (.830) record in 14 NAIA National Championship appearances, and his 39 playoff victories are the most by a head coach in NAIA history.
Under the direction of Van Diest, the Fighting Saints have won 14 Frontier Conference championships, including 12 consecutive from 2000-2011, for one of the most dominating runs in college football history.
Van Diest has been named the Conference Coach of the Year 10 times, including earning NAIA National Coach of the Year honors by the American Football Association in 2003 and 2005, as well as being named the AFCA Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2007, 2010).
Under Van Diest, the Fighting Saints have produced nine Frontier Conference Defensive Players of the Year and four NAIA National Players of the Year. Carroll College has produced a total of 42 All-American selections since Van Diest’s arrival in 1999, including 29 first-team honorees.
Kim Elders, Cornerstone University, Men's Basketball – Coach
Kim Elders begins his 26th season at the helm of the Cornerstone University (Mich.) men’s basketball program, having compiled a record of 652-233 and a winning percentage of .732 as the head coach of the Golden Eagles.
Few programs in the NAIA have seen the levels of success and consistency that Elders has brought to Cornerstone in his tenure. Under Elders’ direction, Cornerstone has advanced to the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship 16 times, including earning three National Championship red banners (1999, 2011, 2015), while amassing an NAIA-leading 39 wins in the National Championship.
The Golden Eagles finished as the NAIA Division II National Runner-Up in 2017, while also compiling four total appearances in the Fab Four (2001, 2002, 2003, 2017). They have also advanced to the National Quarterfinals four times (2005, 2007, 2010, 2018), won 10 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament titles and 10 WHAC regular-season conference championships with Elders at the helm.
Elders has been named the Conference Coach of the Year eight times, including earning NAIA/NABC National Coach of the Year honors three times (1999, 2011, 2015). Under Elders, the Golden Eagles have boasted seven WHAC Players of the Year and one NAIA National Player of the Year. Cornerstone has a total of 31 All-American selections since 1999, including eight first-team honorees.
Scott Walkinshaw, Black Hills State University, M/W Cross Country/Track & Field – Coach
Scott Walkinshaw enters his 21st season as the head coach of the Black Hills State University (S.D.) men’s and women’s cross country programs, while also serving as the assistant coach for the Yellow Jacket track & field teams, leading the distance runners. Walkinshaw was previously the head coach of the Black Hills State track and field teams from 1998-2010 when the Yellow Jacket’s made their transition to NCAA Division II.
As a part of the NAIA’s former Dakota Athletic Conference, Walkinshaw’s cross country teams captured a combined 19 conference titles over an 11-year span. During that same time, Walkinshaw led Black Hills State to a total of 17 top-10 finishes at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships, including a combined team championship in 2000, as well as national runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2002. The dominance of the Yellow Jacket cross country programs under Walkinshaw saw both the men’s and women’s teams qualify for the NAIA National Championships every year from 2000-2008, a feat no other NAIA institution accomplished during that period. Walkinshaw has a knowledge and expertise of training methods for distance runners that is unprecedented, leading his Yellow Jacket teams and individual runners to a significant number of accolades over the years. Under the direction of Walkinshaw, 32 Yellow Jacket cross country runners earned NAIA All-America accolades, while an additional 218 All-American honors were collected by Black Hill State track and field student-athletes. Walkinshaw was named the Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 24 times, including earning NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Coach of the Year honors in 2000. He also earned NAIA Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year honors on seven separate occasions. Under Walkinshaw, the Yellow Jacket student-athletes also excelled academically, earning the NAIA Scholar Team Award in eight of their 11 seasons, including 25 individual scholar-athlete team members.
Paul Chapman, Dickinson State University, Football – Athlete
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Paul Chapman made an immediate impact when he arrived on campus at Dickinson State University, starting as a freshman on the offensive line in 1986. The Blue Hawks tallied a record of 35-5 in his four seasons, winning three conference championships and advancing to the NAIA playoffs in each of those three seasons. Chapman was an all-conference selection in each of his four seasons at Dickinson State and was a three-time NAIA All-America selection, including first-team honors in both 1988 and 1989. Chapman and fellow NAIA Hall of Fame inductee Rory Farstveet are the only three-time All-Americans in DSU football history. He was a part of two Blue Hawk undefeated regular season teams (1986 and 1987) and was on the Dickinson State team that won its first NAIA playoff game in school history in 1989. In 2002, Chapman was elected to the Dickinson State University Hall of Fame.
Following his standout career at Dickinson State University, Chapman was a fourth-round selection of Saskatchewan Rough Riders of Canadian Football League in 1990, where he played two seasons. He transitioned to the University of North Dakota in 1992, where he served as the director of strength and conditioning until 2001. Chapman’s efforts were an integral part of a winning tradition at UND, as the football team was the Division II national champions in 2001, the men’s ice hockey team won a Division I national title in 2000 and 1997 and the women’s basketball team was the Division II national champion in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He currently resides in Durham, N.H., where he is in his 17th year as the director of strength and conditioning at the University of New Hampshire.
Sydney Cox, Oklahoma City University, Women's Golf – Athlete
A product of Edmond, Okla., Sydney Cox was a key component of the most successful program in NAIA women’s golf. A member of the Oklahoma City University team from 2006-09, Cox was a part of four-straight NAIA National Championship red banners and one of the most dominant runs in the history of NAIA women’s golf.
Cox was a four-time collegiate individual champion, winning her first-ever tournament as a Star at the 2005 SNU Invitational while closing out her career on top as the 2009 NAIA Individual National Champion. She was a three-time All-America selection, including first-team honors in both 2007 and 2009, and also served as the team captain in her junior and senior seasons at Oklahoma City. During her time at Oklahoma City, Cox excelled in the classroom as well, being named to the President’s Honor Roll (semester GPA of 3.90 or higher) three times, while also earning the NAIA Scholar-Athlete award twice (2008, 2009). Cox also was a recipient of the Jim Wade Award at OCU, the highest honor a student-athlete can receive while on campus, which is an accolade that recognizes leadership, community service, academic and athletic achievement. Upon graduation from Oklahoma City University in 2009, Cox went on to play professionally for the past nine years, where she has maintained status on multiple tours, both domestic and international. She is a current member of the Symetra Tour, Suncoast Series Tour, CN Canadian Women’s Tour and Australian Tour. Her best finish on the professional circuit came in 2015 at the 2015 Remington GC Suncoast Event, where she finished in second place. In 2010, Cox was also elected to the Edmond Junior Golf Hall of Fame.
Rory Farstveet, Dickinson State University – Football Athlete
A product of Beach, N.D., Rory Farstveet was originally recruited to the University of Oklahoma by Barry Switzer. After spending one red-shirt season in Norman, Farstveet transferred to Dickinson State University, where he would go on to become one of the most dominant players in DSU history and the North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference as an offensive lineman. The Blue Hawks tallied a record of 35-8 in his four seasons, winning four conference championships and advancing to the NAIA playoffs in each of those seasons. In his four-year career, Dickinson State advanced to the NAIA quarterfinals in 1989 and 1990, and Farstveet helped lead the Blue Hawks to their best finish in school history in 1991, advancing to the semifinal round against Pacific Lutheran.
Farstveet was an all-conference selection in each of his four seasons at Dickinson State and was a three-time NAIA All-America selection, including first-team honors in both 1991 and 1992. He was also named the North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year as an offensive lineman in his senior season in 1992. Farstveet and fellow NAIA Hall of Fame inductee Paul Chapman are the only three-time All-Americans in DSU football history. In 2004, Farstveet was elected to the Dickinson State University Hall of Fame. Farstveet currently resides in his hometown of Beach, N.D., where he is a successful farmer, rancher and family man. He also spent time coaching football at his former high school, Beach High.
Deb Remmerde-Leusink, Northwestern College, Women's Basketball – Athlete
A native of Rock Valley, Iowa, Deb Remmerde-Leusink ended her playing career at Northwestern College with a 108-26 record, including a 2006 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship semifinals appearance, a 2007 quarterfinalist finish and ultimately a 2008 National Championship title for her team.
Remmerde-Leusink is the Red Raiders’ all-time leading scorer (3,854 points), which ranks first all-time in NAIA Division II women's basketball history. She also holds several other career records at Northwestern, including three-point field goals made (481), three-point percentage (.542) and free throw percentage (.958). A sharp-shooter from anywhere on the court, Remmerde-Leusink also holds the record for the most points in a single NAIA DII Women’s Basketball National Championship, tallying 177 points in the 2008 event, nabbing Tournament MVP honors in the process. She was a four-time NAIA First Team All-American, while also earning NAIA National Player of the Year accolades in both 2006 and 2008.
Following her standout career at Northwestern College, Remmerde-Leusink received a tryout with the Houston Comets of the WNBA, and eventually went on to play professionally for a brief stint in Germany before suffering a career-ending injury. She began her coaching career in 2009 with a graduate assistant position at South Dakota State University, before returning to her alma mater in 2011 as an assistant coach under current Red Raiders’ leader, Chris Yaw. Remmerde-Leusink is a member of the Northwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame. She currently resides in her hometown of Rock Valley, Iowa, with her husband Barry, and is a full-time stay at home mom to their three young children.
Lynn Scott, Northwestern Oklahoma State University – Football Athlete
A product of Turpin, Okla., Lynn Scott was a standout on defense and special teams for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University football program from 1997-2001. Amassing a career record of 38-9 in his four seasons in a Rangers uniform, Scott led his team to two-straight NAIA National Championship games, winning the title in 1999 and finishing as the national runner-up in 2000.
He was a three-time NAIA first-team All-American, earning honors as a punt returner in 1998 and as a defensive back in both 1999 and 2000. Scott earned Central States Football League Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2001 after tallying 72 tackles, nine passes defended and four interceptions. He also returned 26 punts for a school record 595 yards and four touchdowns. In his four seasons as a Ranger, Scott totaled 298 tackles, 13 interceptions, five touchdowns and a school record 1,337 punt return yards. Scott also excelled academically, graduating magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 2001, earning a cumulative GPA of 3.89.
Following his successful career at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Scott earned a spot on the Dallas Cowboys roster as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He played three professional seasons with the Cowboys where he made significant contributions on both defense and special teams. Scott saw action in 66 games as a Cowboy before his career was halted by a herniated disc in his lower back. In 2004, before his injury, Scott started nine games alongside Cowboy greats Roy Williams and Darren Woodson.
In 2012, Scott was elected to the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame. He currently resides in his hometown of Turpin, Okla., where he works for Unit Corporation Oil and Gas Company, a diversified energy company engaged through its subsidiaries in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas.
Kesha Watson, Oklahoma City University, Women's Basketball – Athlete
A hometown product of Oklahoma City, Okla., Kesha Watson was a two-time Sooner Athletic Conference and NAIA National Player of the Year in her 2003 and 2004 seasons. Watson led Oklahoma City to an incredible 142-7 record including four-straight conference titles and four trips to the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship game, capturing the crown in 2001 and 2002 while earning two national runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2004.
Watson shattered the Stars’ women’s basketball record book, finishing her career at the top of OCU’s charts in points (2,658), assists (675), steals (433), field goals (968) and free throws made (484). She also set single-season records in points (962), assists (179), steals (143), three-pointers (106) and three-point attempts (297).
Upon graduation from Oklahoma City in 2004, Watson enjoyed a five-year professional career in both the United States and abroad. Since then, she has joined the coaching ranks, with stops along the way as an assistant coach at Montana Tech (2013-14), Garden City Community College (2015-16) and Loyola University-Chicago (2015-16), before landing at her current post at Barton County Community College. In 2012 Watson became just the second women’s basketball player in Oklahoma City University history to be inducted into the Stars’ Hall of Fame.
Dr. James Coleman, Tougaloo College – Meritorious Service
Dr. James Coleman, a native of Jackson, Miss., has been a mainstay at Tougaloo College, from his years as a two-sport student-athlete on campus, to his service as men’s basketball coach, sports information director and professor of education, to his 33 years as the director of athletics of the Bulldogs’ athletic programs. Dr. Coleman has dedicated a remarkable 56 years to higher education and has been a pioneer in the development and growth of Tougaloo College and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC).
Dr. Coleman’s lifelong commitment to intercollegiate athletics has stood the test of time as an educator, coach and administrator. As an educator and coach, Dr. Coleman accepted the ever-changing landscape of student-athletes and has guided young men and women through the challenges of societal pressures, taking pride in seeing the growth of his students and becoming productive beyond athletics. As an administrator, Dr. Coleman has provided the leadership at Tougaloo College to balance high academic standards with success in athletic competition, fielding teams that regularly compete for GCAC Championships, while also consistently graduating its student-athletes at a very high rate. He has served as a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC) for the past six years and was named the GCAC Athletic Director of the Year twice in the past six years (2012, 2018).
Beyond his scope of work on campus, in the GCAC and as an NAIA member institution, Dr. Coleman’s career path has also encompassed a number of diverse experiences outside of athletics. He desegregated housing at Memphis State University and the University of Mississippi in the early 1960s, also becoming the first African-American assistant basketball coach at Ole Miss. Dr. Coleman earned the respect of community leaders and was named a member of the Red Cross Board of Directors (1999-2004), served on the City of Jackson's Planning and Zoning Board (1998-2004) and was chairman of the Governor’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports for the State of Mississippi (1980-1986). In 1997 he was inducted into the Tougaloo National Alumni Association Hall of Fame for his service in athletics.
The contributions and accomplishments of Dr. Coleman over his long-standing tenure in intercollegiate athletics are immense. His leadership and dedication has extended beyond Tougaloo Collee, the GCAC and the NAIA, as Dr. Coleman is truly a trailblazer in intercollegiate athletics.
Bruce Parker, Rocky Mountain College – Meritorious Service
A native of Billings, Mont., Bruce Parker has dedicated nearly 40 years of his life to intercollegiate athletics, with the last 15 years spent at two successful NAIA institutions. Parker, who recently stepped down after three years from his full-time director of athletics responsibilities at Rocky Mountain College, transitioned to a part-time consultant role with RMC for the next two years. He had spent the previous 12 years as the director of athletics at Carroll College.
Parker’s impact on intercollegiate athletics is immeasurable, as his passion, dedication and wisdom to the profession has shaped the Frontier Conference into one of the most successful leagues in the NAIA. During his tenure at Rocky Mountain, the Battlin’ Bears made great strides. He was instrumental in the renovation of Herb Klindt Field in 2016, made tremendous progress in the corporate partnership program, solidified and directed a talented coaching staff and helped secure the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament in Billings from 2017-19.
Parker came to Rocky Mountain College after serving as the Director of Athletics at Carroll College in Helena. His accomplishments at Carroll include record attendance at home athletic events, hosting numerous NAIA Football playoff games, record-setting years with corporate fundraising and funds generated by the Saints’ Athletic Association. Parker exceeded Carroll’s expectations for fundraising, made strides toward initiating enhancements to athletic facilities and added eight athletic teams.
In his 15 years in the NAIA, Parker was named the Frontier Conference Athletic Director of the Year eight times, along with twice being recognized as one of the NACDA/Under Armour Athletic Directors of the Year (2009, 2011).
Parker is a member of NAIA Athletic Director’s Association (ADA) Board of Directors and previously served as the ADA’s president. He served on the NAIA’s National Administrative Council (NAC) for 15 years, keeping the Frontier Conference in the forefront of NAIA athletics. Parker has served on the NAIA National Strategic Planning Council, a position appointed by NAIA CEO and President, Jim Carr, and has also served as a member of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA) National Executive Committee for five years.
With a clear vision for athletics and through his leadership, passion and commitment, Parker has positioned both Rocky Mountain College and Carroll College, the Frontier Conference and the NAIA for more great things to come. He is a valued and respected administrator who has served the NAIA in many facets, creating a positive and winning atmosphere in all walks of his life.
The Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized throughout the year at their respective NAIA National Championships, national coaches’ association meetings or at the 77th NAIA National Convention. More detailed information about each inductee will be released prior to these ceremonies. View the complete list of NAIA Hall of Famers.