The Green Bay Press-Gazette on Friday (Dec. 6) carried a terrific story about Phoenix women’s basketball player Tesha Buck, one of only a handful of Native American athletes playing hoops at the Division I level. Buck has overcome long odds to get to where she is today, reporter Scott Venci says, as just 25 of more than 10,100 DI players were Native American in 2011-12, when the most recent NCAA race and ethnicity report was completed. Buck didn’t have Native American role models, so she looked up to her father, Rich, himself a great athlete with a tremendous work ethic, the story says. She ended her career at Red Wing (Minn.) High School with a school-record 2,402 points and helped lead her team to the state tournament three times. Buck is now averaging 10 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a starter for the Phoenix. Great story.
Here’s a reminder that Phoenix Athletics is encouraging faculty and staff members with children to take advantage of the annual “Parents Night Out” program at the Kress. For a modest donation, parents have the night free while Phoenix student athletes entertain the younger generation with activities, games and all-around fun. The event is hosted by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Pre-register now – click here.
In Sunday night’s 75-71 loss for the Green Bay women’s basketball team, the Phoenix seniors shined once again but one – reserve forward Jenny Gilbertson of Wabasha, Minn. – had the best game of her career, stats-wise. The Phoenix was trailing by 13 points with 6:41 to play when Gilbertson made back-to-back three-pointers to start a Phoenix run. She finished the game with a career-high 15 points along with six rebounds. For more on the Kansas State transfer and her big night.
When Tiffany Mor’s career ended with a 65-55 loss to New Mexico in the first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament, the UW-Green Bay standout wrote a note to her coach, Kevin Borseth. Even losing four starters, she was confident the newcomers would uphold the tradition. “I don’t know how we’re going to do (next year),” Mor wrote to Borseth. “But, Coach, for whatever reason the players in this program know what’s expected of them and somebody will rise to that challenge.” Nice feature article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Phoenix women are headed to basketball’s Big Dance yet again, set to take on LSU in opening-round play Sunday, March 24, in Baton Rouge, La.
But according to another measure of March Madness, the team is already No. 1.
Inside Higher Ed on Tuesday (March 19) released the results of its second annual women’s Academic Performance Tournament, “where seeds are irrelevant and studies are paramount.” The 64-team, brains-based tourney allows teams to advance based on their multiyear Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA measure of their classroom performance, with the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate acting as the tie-breaking measure.
And after an Elite 8 finish last year, UW-Green Bay has won it all for 2013. The Phoenix bested DePaul by just one point, earning the title and some serious bragging rights for its academic prowess.
This isn’t the first time the Phoenix women (and the athletics program as a whole) have been recognized for putting the “student” in “student athlete.” The team finished the 2011-12 season with a collective GPA of 3.616 — the program’s highest ever — and earned the No. 1 spot on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll. At the time, the Phoenix women had achieved 31 consecutive semesters with a team GPA of greater than 3.0.
“As a team we stress the importance of our education and want to maintain a good reputation with the professors of the University,” senior Lydia Bauer said earlier this season. “The athletic department also provides wonderful resources for all the student-athletes to use in order to succeed.”
Click here for more details and a look at the complete championship bracket.
Time is running short if you’d like to accept a token of appreciation from the Phoenix Athletics program in the form of complimentary tickets to the men’s basketball game vs. Wright State at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Resch Center. It’s academic achievement night, recognizing the work of people across campus in putting the “student” in student-athlete.
When the UW-Green Bay men’s basketball team tips off against Wright State at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Resch Center, it’s academic achievement night. Recognizing the work of people across campus in helping the Phoenix put the “student” in student-athlete, the program is offering a pair of complimentary tickets to all faculty and staff members. More information and to reserve your free tickets.
The academic success of UW-Green Bay’s student-athletes is no coincidence.
According to the program’s academic coordinator, Mike Kline, the student-athletes’ success comes from coaches recruiting those with strong academic backgrounds and providing these students with the resources they need to be successful.
Last May marked the twenty-fifth consecutive semester that UW-Green Bay’s cumulative student-athlete GPA was at least a 3.0. And recently UW-Green Bay was recognized for this accomplishment by “The Best Colleges” website (www.thebestcolleges.org), alongside Baylor University, University of Central Florida, and others, as one of the top “11 colleges with the smartest athletes.” The article also noted the UW-Green Bay’s women’s basketball team’s accomplishment of having 31 consecutive semesters with a GPA greater than 3.0.
Phoenix Athletics regularly reminds student-athletes to make a priority of academics, and the program steers players to make use of resources including study tables, tutoring, and frequent communication with faculty and staff.
“We have study table three nights for two and a half hours each night that is mandatory for all freshmen. It is required for all other student-athletes until they maintain a certain GPA,” Kline says.
“We want our student-athletes to understand that their academics and their education is their top priority,” he adds. “They are student-athletes, and if ‘student’ comes before ‘athlete,’ it follows that academics should come before athletics. They complement each other, and if you are willing to be your best in one then you will take pride in being your best in both.”
Tim Meyer, professor emeritus of Information and Computing Sciences/ Communication, believes UW-Green Bay has a “culture of academic success [that] is part of the entire program of intercollegiate athletics that spans all men’s and women’s sports.”
Meyer adds that many of the athletes study “challenging and demanding” majors and minors.
He credits on-campus support including Academic Advising, Admissions and the Registrar, faculty, staff and instructors for making expectations clear. He says communication between student-athletes and instructors plays a major part in being successful. He also notes that faculty and staff do not give “unwarranted breaks” to the student-athletes.
Lyndsay Zabkowicz, a junior majoring in Human Biology with an emphasis in exercise science, is on UW-Green Bay’s women’s volleyball team. She says setting a schedule and sticking to it has helped her maintain a strong academic record.
“We do not get much down time so we really have to use our time well,” she said.
She also mentions that coaches and staff are very helpful in making sure student-athletes have all the tools they need to succeed.
Don McCartney, senior lecturer of Business Administration, said that during a mandatory presentation time for his classes, student-athletes have used Skype to ensure they can comply with giving the presentation at the required time, even when on the road for competition.
Monica Anderson, a junior majoring in Democracy and Justice Studies, is also on the women’s volleyball team. Like Zabkowicz, she says setting a schedule for study time is important. She mentions that the study table participation required of freshmen is beneficial throughout their entire college career.
Lydia Bauer, a senior majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing, is on the women’s basketball team. She believes time management, as well as communicating with her professors, have helped her most in managing academics and athletics.
“As a team we stress the importance of our education and want to maintain a good reputation with the professors of the University,” Bauer said. “The athletic department also provides wonderful resources for all the student-athletes to use in order to succeed.”
Meyer believes that some of the academic success can be attributed to the sense of camaraderie exhibited among team members.
“They help each other out. Most of it, of course, goes on quietly behind the scenes but the hard evidence emerges at the end of every semester,” Meyer said.
Phoenix basketball player Daniel Turner, a junior Business Administration major with an emphasis in management and a minor in Economics, says he prioritizes his activities to get them done before deadlines.
“A couple of the biggest challenges I face are trying to allocate enough time for each class as well as missing class due to travel,” he said. “The University does a good job of providing help, such as tutors, to help me learn the material I have missed due to travel.”
“It’s not unusual to find them studying on road trips while traveling via plane or bus,” added Donna Ritch, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Adrian Ritchie, a senior majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in Communication, plays women’s basketball.
Juggling both academics and athletics feels natural for her.
“We are lucky to be part of a university that has such strong support for our program and makes it possible to obtain our goals despite any obstacles or challenges we may have,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie said meeting expectations and upholding the standard of academic and athletic success is the “Green Bay Way.”
“The University is full of people who work hard so it is a better place for everyone,” she added.
Academic excellence will be recognized on Academic Achievement Night, February 7, when the men’s basketball team hosts Wright State at the Resch at 7 p.m. A special program listing all faculty and staff will be distributed as fans enter the Resch Center. Faculty and staff can receive two free tickets to the game by following this link.
— Story by Michael Duenkel, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication
As the Phoenix men’s basketball team kicks off its season with tonight’s exhibition game versus St. Norbert, buzz continues to build around Alec Brown, the 7’1” junior who is capturing local and national media attention. Brown, who was All-Horizon League last year and is preseason all-league for this season, could be an NBA prospect, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported today (Wednesday, Oct. 31). Also recently, he’s named one of the nation’s top-50 big men by CBSSports.com, and has been noted in other CBS coverage, along with a report from ESPN.com (which called Brown “the focal point of every opponent’s scouting report”). You can catch Brown in action tonight at 7 p.m. at the Kress Center. The Press-Gazette story and a roundup of his accolades are available here:
— Green Bay Press Gazette
— UW-Green Bay Athletics
We told you the other day about the latest academic accolade for the UW-Green Bay women’s basketball team — a No. 1 ranking on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25. And while the Phoenix women are clearly tops both on and off the hardwood, they’re hardly the only athletes with academic prowess. Seventy-five UW-Green Bay student-athletes made the Horizon League’s Spring 2012 Academic Honor Roll, which also was announced this week. Check out the list here.