For the fourth consecutive year, the Northern Illinois volleyball team has been named a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award, the organization announced Friday.
“It’s great for our program to continue to be solid in the classroom and get recognition from the AVCA,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden of his Huskies, who had the top grade point average (GPA) of all NIU teams in 2011-12.
“We are fortunate and proud to have the top GPA in the athletic department over the past few years and one of the tops in the country as well.”
During the 2011-12 school year, the Huskies truly showed what success on and off the court looks like.
Holding a cumulative team GPA of 3.419 on a 4.0 scale, NIU won the Mid-American Conference regular season title and earned an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2001 with a 28-7 overall, 14-2 MAC record. NIU’s 2011-12 GPA continues an upward trend as the team had a 3.324 GPA in 2008-09, 3.340 in 2009-10, and 3.349 in 2010-11.
Not only did NIU have a program- and MAC-record two Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, it also had two AVCA All-Americans – another league and NIU first. Furthermore, the Huskies had a program-record five Academic All-MAC and five All-MAC selections.
Established in the 1992-93 academic year, the award recognizes collegiate and high school volleyball teams that showed excellence in the classroom during the school year by holding a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
Over the past few years, the Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA’s fastest growing awards programs. Since its charter year, the award has grown by 760 percent. This year, Division I programs collected 103 AVCA Team Academic Awards – 19.14 percent of all D-I teams – which is the highest total for D-I teams to date.
Among MAC schools, NIU is one of eight honorees.
The defending MAC champion Huskies begin the 2012 season from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26, with the annual NIU Invitational at the NIU Convocation Center’s Victor E. Court against North Dakota State, Wichita State and New Mexico State.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.