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2014 NAIA Awards Luncheon

April 12, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Six individuals within NAIA membership were recognized at the 2014 NAIA Awards Luncheon, which took place Saturday at the 73rd Annual NAIA National Convention in Kansas City, Mo. Over 400 athletics administrators gathered to celebrate the accomplishments and service of these figures. The Luncheon was emceed by KCTV5 Sports Director, Michael Coleman, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Receiving the NAIA's highest honor, James “Jim” Poteet was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in the meritorious service category. Currently the associate athletic director, professor of sport management and assistant basketball coach at Southwestern Christian University (Okla.), Poteet began his lifelong affiliation with the NAIA as a student-athlete at Pasadena College (Calif.), where he discovered his passion for small college basketball.

From his collegiate playing days, he went on to coach at Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho), Pasadena College, Biola University (Calif.), Bethany Nazarene College (Okla.), NCAA Division II member Seattle Pacific University (Wash.) and Southwestern Christian University.

Family atmosphere in the NAIA was part of what inspired Poteet to develop the NAIA’s Champions of Character program. The program, which was announced 14 years ago at this very convention, is arguably Poteet’s most significant contribution to the NAIA, as it has become a significant segment of the NAIA’s core mission.

List of other award winners recognized:

2013 NAIA Athletics Director of the Year - Marty Holly of College of Idaho
This prestigious award is given annually to an athletics director for his or her accomplishments in all facets of athletics administration over the course of the previous year. Holly, who has spent the entirety of his professional career at College of Idaho, has been the school’s athletics director since 1981. He also served as the Coyotes head men’s basketball coach for 19 years before stepping down following the 1999-2000 season.

2013 Charles Morris Administrator of the Year - Dr. Scott Crawford of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC)
This prestigious honor, initiated in memory of former NAIA Associate Executive Director Charles Morris, recognizes an NAIA member who has made significant contributions as an administrator of intercollegiate athletics, while exemplifying the loyalty and enthusiasm Charles Morris had for the NAIA. As Commissioner of the KCAC since 2007, Crawford has been responsible for ten member institutions throughout the state of Kansas. Prior to joining the KCAC, Crawford served as the Assistant Commissioner of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (2005-07) and the Mid-South Conference (2002-05).

2013 Wally Schwartz Faculty Athletics Representative of the Year - Dr. Byron Noordewier of Northwestern College (Iowa)
This illustrious award, initiated in honor of past NAIA Vice President of Legislative Services and NAIA Hall of Famer Wally Schwartz, recognizes a Faculty Athletics Representative who exemplifies the loyalty, enthusiasm and honesty displayed by Schwartz during and beyond his time at the NAIA. Noordewier, who has been a professor of biology at Northwestern for 25 years, has spent much of that time as a liaison between academics and athletics, earning the respect and admiration of administrators in both sectors of the college.

2013 NAIA Coach of Character - Ford Mastin of Oklahoma Baptist University
This prestigious award is given annually to an NAIA head coach who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, demonstrated character through sport and instilled a culture of community leadership through volunteering or service. The Oklahoma Baptist head cross country and track & field coach returned to his alma mater in 1996-97. Since that time, his cross country and track & field teams have won eight National Championships and have produced more than 300 All-Americans during his tenure.

2013 Dr. LeRoy Walker Character Award - Katie Thurbon of Baker University (Kan.)
Created in honor of Dr. LeRoy Walker, former NAIA President and President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, this award annually recognizes a junior or senior student-athlete who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program and demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership, athletic achievement and future ambition. Thurbon, a track & field student-athlete, is a seven-time Heart of America Athletic Conference champion and seven-time national qualifier in the pole vault. She has finished as the national runner-up twice and has earned NAIA All-America honors on four occasions.