Grizzly Athletics Once Again Honored with Champions of Character Designation
The NAIA has once again taken notice of Grizzly Athletics’ continued devotion to character-building, and on Thursday, the organization named Georgia Gwinnett College a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for the second consecutive year.
“It was another great year for us in 2014-15, and it’s an honor to be recognized for our achievements both on and off the field,” said Dr. Darin S. Wilson, GGC’s director of Athletics. “It was great to see the tremendous success from our teams athletically, but I’m just as proud to see the kind of activities that our student-athletes and coaches engage in throughout the community as well as in the classroom.”
In total, 170 NAIA institutions were awarded the Five-Star designation, with GGC standing out among the group as one of 29 to earn Gold recognition, which is the highest honor bestowed upon an institution. Last year, the college earned Silver recognition.
The Office of Athletics maintains a laser-like focus on its mission statement, which is, “To develop lifelong leaders of character through academic and athletic excellence.”
GGC’s drive for excellence in everything that it does is readily apparent across the school’s six sports. Athletically, both tennis teams have combined for three national championships over the past two seasons, and the men’s soccer, baseball and softball teams have each claimed conference titles and berths into their NAIA national tournaments. Academically, nearly half of GGC’s student-athletes earned a spot on the Director of Athletics Honor Roll in 2014-15, which requires a grade point average greater than 3.0.
“I love national championship trophies, but that isn’t all that we’re about at GGC,” Wilson explained. “It’s important for us to win in the right way, but winning isn’t our primary purpose. Our aim is to develop exemplary students and citizens who will be great role models both on and off the courts or fields.”
Character development isn’t limited exclusively to on-campus exploits, either, as Grizzly Athletics has continued to be a force for good within the community. The office as a whole has built a strong relationship with Special Olympics Georgia, and it was the men’s soccer team’s efforts with that organization, as well as Eagle Ranch of Flowery Branch, and FCA that saw the team claim the first-ever Grizzly Cup earlier this year.
The Grizzly Cup, which is awarded based on criteria that echo most of the Champions of Character principles, stands as yet another symbol of excellence within Grizzly Athletics. It also serves as an integral piece of the recently announced BE GREAT initiative, which will further build on the foundations of character education that have been laid out over the past three years.