Rockets win Cartwright Award honoring top overall MAC school for 2011-12 season

September 25, 2012 | News, UToday
By Paul Helgren

The University of Toledo has received the Mid-American Conference’s Cartwright Award for program excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship during the 2011-12 school year.

“Everyone associated with the MAC is proud of the many student-athletes that compete in all of our universities and each of our 23 championship sports,” said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, MAC commissioner. “MAC member institutions value excellence in the classroom, on the field of competition and in society. I commend The University of Toledo for this recognition by its peers. This is indeed a high honor.”

The Cartwright Award is an institutional prize presented annually to one MAC university. A committee with representation from all 12 institutions selected the Cartwright Award winner from nominations submitted, based upon the criteria of excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship. The award began in 2008-09. This is the first time UT has received the honor.

“I can’t imagine better ambassadors for The University of Toledo than our student-athletes whose excellence on the playing field is matched only by their efforts in the classroom and in the community,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs, who praised the important leadership role Cartwright provided to the MAC during her tenure. “Congratulations to Athletic Director Mike O’Brien, Toledo coaches, staff and, most importantly, to our student-athletes.”

The award is named in honor of Dr. Carol Cartwright, one of the most respected voices in higher education. Cartwright served as the president of Kent State University from 1991 to 2006 and president of Bowling Green from 2008 to 2011. She previously was the vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California at Davis and dean for undergraduate programs and vice provost at the Pennsylvania State University. She has served on the NCAA Board of Directors and is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

“We are very honored to receive the Cartwright Award for the 2011-12 academic year,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “This award is a tribute to the incredible efforts of our student-athletes, as well as countless others who aid in their overall development — coaches, classroom instructors, mentors, administrators and parents.

“In the past year, we have won numerous Mid-American Conference championships and other athletic honors. We have been awarded the Jacoby Trophy for the top overall women’s program in the MAC, the Academic Achievement Award for highest grade point average in the conference, and now the Cartwright Award, which honors all facets of student-athlete achievement, including community service. The Cartwright Award caps an incredible year of achievement for our athletic program on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community. It truly is a great time to be a Rocket.”

Below is a summary of the 2011-12 accomplishments by UT in the areas of academic, athletic and citizenship excellence:

Academic summary:

• Toledo student-athletes earned a school-record 3.167 GPA for the 2011 fall semester and then followed with another new record of 3.266 GPA in spring semester.

• The Rockets have seven consecutive semesters where collectively the athletic program has earned a 3.1 GPA or better.

• A total of 26 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in spring semester.

• A record 71 percent of student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA in spring semester, including 40.9 percent who earned at least a 3.5 GPA.

• Rockets men’s teams were honored by the MAC with the Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Achievement Award for the second consecutive year. The award recognizes the conference institution with the overall highest GPA rank by gender.

• Toledo’s volleyball program earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award last August after posting a 3.512 GPA during the 2010-11 school year. This marked the 11th consecutive season the Rockets received this honor.

• The women’s soccer team was tied for fifth nationally with a team GPA of 3.61, while the women’s golf team had two golfers selected to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar team.

• Forty of Toledo’s student-athletes were named to MAC All-Academic teams in their respective sports, and 56 student-athletes were awarded the Commissioner Award.

• O’Brien was named the Under Armour Northeast Region Athletics Director of the Year and was recognized during the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics’ 47th Annual Convention in June.

Athletic summary:

• Toledo was the recipient of the Jacoby Trophy for the first time in program history. The Jacoby Trophy is given annually to the MAC’s top women’s athletic program.

• The women’s cross country team won its second consecutive MAC Championship and earned its second-ever NCAA Championship meet appearance. The Rockets placed third at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and took 21st place at the NCAA Championship Meet, the highest finish ever by a MAC program. Also, Kevin Hadsell was named MAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall.

• The Rockets women’s soccer team went 14-7-2 and won its fourth MAC Championship Tournament title and earned its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament. Brad Evans was named MAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, while senior defender Natalia Gaitàn competed for Columbia in the Summer Olympic Games in London.

• Toledo women’s swimming won the MAC Championship for the second league title in three years. Liz Hinkleman was named MAC Coach of the Year. Seniors Claire Leichty and Laura Lindsay advanced to the NCAA Championships, with Lindsay earning All-American honors for the second consecutive year.

• The women’s basketball team was the MAC West Division co-Champions, compiling a 24-10 record and advancing to the Elite Eight of the 2012 WNIT, one year after winning the WNIT Championship. Toledo ranked first in the MAC in attendance for the 22nd consecutive season and ranked 25th in the nation, averaging 3,748 fans per game.

• The women’s track and field team finished in second place in both the indoor and outdoor MAC Championship meets, the best finish in school history in both events. Emma Kertesz was named MVP of both the indoor and outdoor meets, capturing first place in four distance events. Kertesz also qualified for the NCAA Championship Meet in the 10,000 meters.

• The women’s golf team finished in third place at the MAC Championship. Piyathida Chalyapan earned co-medalist honors before falling in a playoff.

• Toledo’s softball team advanced to the MAC Tournament for the first time since 1997.

• The Rockets football team defeated Air Force, 42-41, at the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., to finish the season with a 9-4 record. Toledo was 7-1 in conference play and earned a West Division co-Championship. Offensive coordinator Matt Campbell was named head coach in December and led the program to the Military Bowl victory. Rockets wide receiver Eric Page became just the third player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to earn first-team all-league honors at three positions (wide receiver, punt returner, kickoff returner).

• All total 10 Toledo football games were televised either on a national or regional television network; this included five appearances on ESPN networks.
• The men’s basketball team won 19 games, an increase of 15 wins from the previous season, which was the second largest improvement in the nation. The Rockets won their first-round game in the Tournament, Toledo’s first post-season victory since 2001.

• The baseball team won its first-ever MAC West Division title with a 19-8 league mark.

Citizenship summary:

• Toledo’s football program supported the Epilepsy Education program, visited the Veterans Hospital in Washington, D.C., and participated in Lauren’s First and Goal Pediatric Brain Research event.

• The Rockets volleyball program volunteered with the Apple Tree Nursery School and Sparrows Nest organization, while the women’s tennis team worked with the Ronald McDonald House.

• The women’s golf program donated time with grade school programs and were NCAA Cross Country Regional volunteers.

• The women’s softball team worked with the Sunshine Group Walk, Adopt-A-Family, Breast Cancer Pink Game and Apple Tree Nursery School, while the women’s swimming team helped with the Jaclyn Foundation Water 2 Water Swim event and Race for the Cure.

• The Rockets men’s basketball program made appearances with Martin Luther King Elementary School, Toledo Food Bank, Lake Erie School, Toledo Public Schools Walk, Boys and Girls Club, UT Big Event, Sherman Elementary School, Toledo Mentors and Inner City Camp.

• Toledo women’s basketball team supported the Race for the Cure, Padua Center, Salvation Army Christmas and raised more $12,000 at the Komen Pink game.

• The Athletic Department annually invites speakers to discuss topics such as hazing, social media, sexual orientation and alcohol abuse with student-athletes. Recently, Michael Franzese visited campus and spoke to all student-athletes about gambling and organized crime.

• Toledo also works with Helen Grant Consulting LLC regarding a complete departmental review from a gender equity and Title IX perspective.

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