WVU Athletics Earning Academic Honors


Who would have guessed that athletes attend class? More importantly, who would have thought they would excel in both the classroom and the field?

West Virginia University athletes were honored with academic acknowledgements today for three different programs: men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and football.

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams were honored with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award for 2012. The award recognizes soccer teams that have an average GPA of 3.0 or higher. This award is nothing new to Coach Leblanc’s men’s soccer club. The Mountaineer men’s soccer team has received the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 5th straight season.

Not to be out done by the men, Coach Izzo-Brown’s women’s soccer team has earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 11th season in a row. The ladies posted a team GPA of 3.34 which is an extremely impressive average for any sports team.

January 4, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers kicker Corey Smith (44) kicks from his own end zone at the 2012 Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Kudos to both Coach Leblanc and Coach Izzo-Brown for building national power programs that excel both on the pitch and in the classroom.

The Mountaineers football team also got some academic recognition today, as 12 players made the first or second team Academic All-Big XII. To qualify for the first team honor, players must achieve a GPA of 3.20 or higher while second team honors are awarded for GPAs between 3.0 and 3.19.

The 12 Mountaineers honored are:

First Team:

  • Jeff Braun, Senior, Regents Bachelor of Arts
  • Nicholas Caldwell, Senior, Business Management
  • Ryan Nehlen, Senior, Exercise Psychology
  • Corey Smith, Senior, Sports Management
  • Curtis Feigt, Junior, Psychology
  • Nick Kindler, Junior, Legal Studies
  • Connor Arlia, Sophomore, Athletic Coaching Education
  • Troy Gloster, Sophomore, Economics
  • Michael Molinari, Sophomore, Exercise Psychology

Second Team:

  • Doug Rigg, Junior, Exercise Psychology
  • Paul Millard, Sophomore, Physical Education Teaching
  • Wes Tonkery, Sophomore, Industrial Engineering

West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck must be thrilled to see so many student athletes being recognized for their academic achievement. Mountaineer fans should also be equally proud of the academic recognition of their athletes that they cheer on.