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January 3, 2014

National honors to Bush, Normand with selection to FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team


View complete FCS ADA team (PDF)

By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

FRISCO, Texas -- Tennessee Tech junior runningback Stephen Bush and graduate offensive lineman James Normand received lofty praise Friday, earning selection to the 16th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team which was announced by the FCS ADA.

The two Golden Eagle standouts were included on the 43-player team that was chosen by a panel from among 90 nominees. The announcement was made at the site of the FCS Championship game.

Bush, a junior from Cookeville, boasts a 3.85 GPA while Normand, who hails from Oak Ridge, graduated in December with a 3.46 GPA and is currently enrolled in graduate school.

"What a tremendous distinction for these two outstanding young men, and they certainly deserve it," said Tech coach Watson Brown. "Each of them has been such a tremendously important part of our program throughout their careers, and they have always been able to maintain a real effective balance between their work on the football field and their work in the classroom. In a sense, they are the epitome of a student-athlete, and I couldn't be any more proud of them as they represent Tennessee Tech on this prestigious team."

Bush played in 11 games in 2013, and topped the Golden Eagle offense with seven rushing touchdowns. He was the team's third-leading rusher with 306 yards on 62 carries, an average of 4.9 per try, a figure that ranked second on the squad. He became the team's go-to back in the red zone, and responded with seven scores. He finished the year with 39 all-purpose yards, grabbing six passes for 53 yards.

Normand wrapped up his four-year playing career by starting in 36 consecutive games scattered between three different positions. Primarily an offensive guard, he also spent snaps at tackle and center while providing leadership to the offensive line.

"The FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team has gotten more and more prestigious through the years, and it is truly a great honor to be included," said TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. "It's an honor simply to be nominated, and to be singled out from a strong, strong field of eligible players from around the FCS, it speaks volumes to what people think of Stephen and James. They represent the very best about college athletics. They represent Tennessee Tech University well, and they represent coach Watson Brown's entire football program."

"The FCS ADA is honored to present this prestigious award to our football student-athletes each year," stated FCS ADA President Brian Hutchinson, director of athletics, Morehead State University. "Each year, these young men epitomize the definition of student-athlete, both in the classroom and on the field. Our Association is pleased to recognize their accomplishments annually."

Football players from all Football Championship Subdivision institutions are eligible for these prestigious awards. Each of the nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletics credentials. He must have reached his second year of athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. He must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at his designated position

Bush and Normand were among only six players from the Ohio Valley Conference named to the team. Others included defensive lineman Iosua Siliva and offensive lineman Ben Stansfield from Austin Peay, offensive lineman Max Holcombe from Jacksonville State, and long snapper Christian Duncan from Murray State.

Tech was one of eight schools to place two on the list of honored players, while the remainder of the team came from 27 different schools. The OVC was one of three conferences to place six student-athletes on the All-Star Team, joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Southern Conference.

A special Review Committee of Football Championship Subdivision athletics directors was responsible for selecting the all-star team and scholarship finalists. Completing this task were Brian Hutchinson, Morehead State (chair); Ken Beazer, Southern Utah; Charlie Cobb, Appalachian State; Ron Strollo, Youngstown State; and Jeff Tingey, Idaho State.

About the FCS ADA: Now in its 21st year, the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance Football Championship Subdivision football. For more information on the FCS ADA, please visit www.fcsada.com. The FCS ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 49th year. For more information on NACDA and the 13 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.