COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech is the recipient of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Team Sportsmanship Award for Volleyball, the league office announced Wednesday.
The 2012 season marked the final for Golden Eagle head coach John Blair, who retired following the season, which was his 10th with the school and 29th overall as a collegiate head coach. Blair finished as the third winningest coach in program history. Senior middle blocker Kelsey Gray was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 1.51 blocks/set.
"To receive this recognition from the other volleyball programs around the OVC is an honor that all of us will share with great pride and joy," Blair said. "The team and staff did an outstanding job this season of competing not only for themselves, but just as importantly for the University. The staff was extremely proud of how this group of student-athletes approached each match, both home and away, with the same intensity and focus on the right things.
"We would be remiss without recognizing all those outstanding people at TTU that are responsible for the execution of our home events, sports information, facilities personnel, sports medicine, the athletic staff, all those people that supported us throughout the season, and all our fans," Blair said. "The team is both honored and excited to accept this recognition on behalf of the all those that did such an outstanding job all season to make it a reality."
The 2012-13 school year marks the eighth year the team sportsmanship honors have been awarded by the OVC. This marks the first award for the TTU volleyball program and the 11th time the institution has recieved the sportsmanship honor.
"Our student-athletes are some of the most visible representatives of Tech and as such, need to exhibit the qualities of sportsmanship and class," said assistant coach Claire Lindner. "As a program, we are grateful to be recognized for fulfilling the high standards set by the OVC, our athletic department and the university and will continue to do so every year."
The award is bestowed upon the team which best demonstrated the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA. Voted on by the student-athletes and volleyball coaches, the areas of evaluation are the conduct of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators and fans.
"Without sportsmanship there are truly no meaningful victories," said Beth DeBauche, OVC Commissioner. "The recipients of the OVC Team Sportsmanship awards should accept this award with great pride for their fellow competitors have made it clear their teams exemplify the best in intercollegiate athletics. In receiving this prestigious honor other competitors are saying these student-athletes compete with class, respect their opponents and value fair play. That is quite a compliment as those are all traits that will lead to true victories throughout the course of life."