By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - One of the most prestigious awards given by the Ohio Valley Conference, the Scholar-Athlete Award is the highest individual honor that can be earned by OVC student-athletes, and is given annually to three men and three women student-athletes of junior or senior status for their accomplishments in both the classroom and athletic arena, and because of their leadership qualities.
Heading into his final season as a member of the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team, Dennis Ogbe became the latest Golden Eagle in a long line of successful student-athletes to earn the OVC's Scholar-Athlete Award Tuesday afternoon. The senior becomes the first Tech men's basketball player to earn the award and the 27th Golden Eagle to don the honor in the league's history.
A native of Munich, Germany, Ogbe has played in nearly every contest in his time as a Golden Eagle, appearing in 89 games in three seasons. In 2012-13, he led the Ohio Valley Conference with a .613 field goal percentage while averaging 10.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per contest. His 40.6 3-point percentage led the Golden Eagles and he finished second on the squad with 1.0 blocks per contest. In conference play, Ogbe's numbers rose to 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Since joining the Golden Eagles as a freshman in 2010-11, Ogbe has been highly involved in the Cookeville community, participating in numerous community service events. He's run with the children of Algood Elementary School at their annual Tomahawk Trot. The event stands as the major fundraiser for the school every year and accounts for a large chunk of their expendable income. He's read to children of several elementary schools around the area. Ogbe has volunteered at the local food bank, assisting the movers in the morning with unloading perishables and other foods.
He has also helped the men's basketball team host the children of Mustard Seed Ranch for an afternoon of fun. MSR is an interdenominational Christian ministry, serving children who have been neglected, abused, orphaned, or are in need of a loving family environment. Ogbe has also spoken to different middle schools around the area about the importance of academics, staying active, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. His involvement in the community is second to none on the Tech squad and this makes him a great leader both on and off the court.
Ogbe earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 2012-13 and has proven as steady as they come in the classroom. An electrical engineering major, he owns a 3.90 GPA through the 2012-13 academic year and has been named to the Dean's List five times. Ogbe has earned a spot on TTU's Athletic Director's Honor Roll all six semesters at Tech and has also been named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll each of his first three years. He earned the OVC Medal of Honor, given annually to the student-athlete(s) who achieve the highest GPA in a Conference-sponsored sport, two times. Ogbe is also a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honors society, and Tau Beta Pi, the overall engineering honors society.
The six winners were selected from a group of 22 finalists by a vote of OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives. Honorees must have performed athletically with distinction, earned at least a 3.25 grade point average and conducted themselves in a manner which has brought credit to the student-athlete, his or her institution, intercollegiate athletics and the OVC. The award is based on academic and athletic criteria/accomplishments achieved during the 2012-13 school year.
Tech men to win the award previously are Derek Lee (1986), Kevin Kalen (1987), Jim Cornelius (1988), Clark Richey (1988), Stephen Arnette (1990), Wes Gallagher (1999), Shane Sewell (2000), Kevin Boucher (2001), Stephen Gordon (2002), Thomas Nelson (2007) and Braadley Thompson (2008).
Tech women to capture the honor have been Jerilynn Harper (1982), Jan Schuler (1986), Angie Duncan (1984), Cecilia Ramsey (1991), Julie Jones (1992), Merrie Robin Caldwell (1995), Dena Adams (1996), Rachel Melchiorre (1998), Meredith Ferlic (1999), Diane Seng (2000), Stephanie Ward (2003), Anne Morrow (2005), Beth Boden (2008), Teresa Craig (2010), and Kellie Cook (2013).
In addition to Ogbe, the other five 2013-14 Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete winners are: Chase Brookshire of Belmont (baseball), Heather Butler of UT Martin (basketball), Delaney Howson of Murray State (golf), Rebekah Lawson of Southeast Missouri (cross country/track & field), and Ben Stansfield of Austin Peay (football).
Information on the other five winners:
Chase Brookshire – Brookshire completed his eligibility with the Belmont baseball team in 2012-13. In his final year (the team's first in the OVC) he was named an All-OVC second-team selection after compiling a 2.18 E.R.A. and striking out 82 batters and was a member of the OVC All-Tournament team after striking out 14 in a complete game victory over Jacksonville State. The year prior he helped the Bruins to its first NCAA Regional victory. Following the 2013 season he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 20th Round of the MLB Draft. In the classroom Brookshire completed his bachelor's degree in management with a 3.70 grade point average. He was named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and bestowed the Presidential Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, the Graduating Student-Athlete Award, the Betty Wiseman Inspiration Award and the Team Academic Achievement Award. Brookshire was also one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, given to a student-athlete with notable achievements of community, classroom, character and competition. He was Co-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Co-Founder and President of the Belmont chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was also a NCAA Leadership Conference participant and volunteered at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
Heather Butler – Butler is in her final season with the UT Martin women's basketball team and has led the Skyhawks to three-straight OVC Tournament Championships in her first three years with the program. She has been a three-time first-team All-OVC selection and a three-time OVC All-Tournament team pick, including being named Tournament MVP in 2012. As a sophomore in 2011-12 she ranked fourth nationally in scoring (23.8 points/game) and a year ago she was sixth nationally in scoring (22.4 points/game). She also became the first player in UT Martin history to register 2,000 career points and set an NCAA record by making a 3-pointer in 80 consecutive games. In the classroom she has a 3.83 grade point average as a health and human performance (K-12 licensure) major. She has been a multi-year selection to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and the UT Martin Chancellor's Honor Roll. She is a member of the College of Education, Health & Behavioral Sciences Student Ambassadors organization, the UTM Athletics Board and the UT Martin Shape Club. She is also active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Elementary School Reading Program, the Can Caravan Food Drive and a DARE program graduation speaker among many activities.
Delaney Howson – Howson is in her final year of eligibility with the Murray State golf team. She has been a three-time first-team All-OVC selection and earned OVC All-Tournament honors each of the last two years, including finishing as the event's runner-up in 2012. The team captain, she ranked second in the OVC in stroke average during each her sophomore and junior seasons. She has 15 career Top 5 tournament finishes during her career, including three collegiate tournament titles. In the classroom Howson has a perfect 4.00 grade point average in finance and has been a three-time OVC Medal of Honor and OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient, a three-time Women's Golf Coaches All-Scholar Team honoree and been named to the MSU Dean's List three times. Howson is also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma and the Murray State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She is also helped coordinate the Athletic Food Drive and the Hoops for Heroes programs, and served as a volunteer at Needline of Murray and with various youth golf clinics.
Rebekah Lawson – Lawson is in her third season with the Southeast Missouri State track and field and cross country programs. In her first two seasons with the Redhawks cross country team she earned a sixth place (2011) and a seventh place (2012) finish to achieve first-team All-OVC honors each year. During the 2012 outdoor track season she earned second-team All-OVC honors in the 5000 and 10,000 meters. In 2013 she broke the school record and earned second-team All-OVC honors in the 5000 meters and followed that with a fourth place finish in the 5000 at the OVC Outdoor Championship. In the classroom Lawson has a 3.91 grade point average as a human environmental studies/dietetics major. She has earned the OVC Medal of Honor and been a two-time OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll selection, in addition to being a Southeast Scholar-Athlete and a multi-time Dean's List selection. She is active with the Dietetics Club, Campus Outreach and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as volunteering at the Southeast Missouri Hospital and several food packing events. Lawson was also involved with Tampa Project 2013, spending 10 weeks in Tampa with 106 other Campus Outreach students.
Ben Stansfield – Stansfield is in his fourth season with the Austin Peay football team. An offensive tackle, Stansfield appeared in nine games as a freshman, helping the Govs to the third-best rushing attack in the OVC. The following year APSU's offensive line ranked 13th nationally in sacks allowed and 37th in rushing offense, and a year ago he started all 11 games and was part of a line that allowed just 10 sacks the entire season. In the classroom he has a 4.00 grade point average in psychology (with a minor in general business). Stansfield has been a three-time recipient of the OVC Medal of Honor and OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll awards, a six-time member of the APSU President's List and Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the 2012-13 APSU male Scholar-Athlete award winner. He is a member of the APSU Honors College, the Gamma Beta Honor Society and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Stansfield is active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a volunteer with Govs Give Back and the Read Across America program.
Other nominees for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Tatiana Ariza of Austin Peay (soccer), Cameron Berra of Eastern Illinois (football/baseball), Aryn Bohannon of Morehead State (volleyball), Nicole Donnelly of Eastern Kentucky (soccer), Zachariah Elliott of Morehead State (cross country/track & field), Kevin Farley of Southeast Missouri (track & field), Tiffany Harbin of Jacksonville State (softball), Max Holcombe of Jacksonville State (football), Tyler Horn of Eastern Kentucky (football), Ellie Iaciofano of Tennessee Tech (soccer), Ben Johnson of UT Martin (football), Cierra Joshua of Tennessee State (track & field), Allison McCoy of Belmont (volleyball), Patrick Miller of Tennessee State (basketball), Jade Riebold of Eastern Illinois (track & field) and Ty Stetson of Murray State (baseball).