UCF Recognizes Academic Achievement on National Student-Athlete Day

April 6, 2010

By Christian Edwards

ORLANDO, Fla. - UCF student-athletes were honored today at the National Student-Athlete Day Celebration at Bright House Networks Stadium. The ceremony was attended by various student-athletes in football, golf, rowing, soccer, and track and field.

The National Student-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by Dr. Richard Lapchick, Chairman of UCF's DeVos School of Sports Business Management. The celebration was organized to recognize and honor the UCF student-athletes for academic success as well as community involvement.

Women's track and field coach Caryl Smith-Gilbert and head football coach George O'Leary were in attendance to congratulate the student-athletes.

"Thank you to the student-athletes for representing UCF on the field and in the classroom," Smith-Gilbert said. "We understand the numerous sacrifices that you make for your sport and your team and appreciate you."

Both coaches also thanked the professors, academic advisors, tutors, mentors and teacher assistants for their time involved in helping the student-athletes to keep up in class and maintain academic success.

This year UCF excelled not only in athletics, but more importantly in academics. The overall team GPA for all 16 sports teams was a 3.04 and 11 of the teams had an average GPA above a 3.0. This is the fourth consecutive year that UCF posted a 3.0 or higher overall team GPA. A league-record total of 221 student-athletes were named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll last year, and 28 were named Conference USA medalists for posting a 3.75 or higher GPA.

UCF has also been heavily involved with the community. This year, UCF student-athletes have spent over 1,400 hours in the community and attended over 60 service events.

Katie Detlefsen (women's golf) and former football player T.J. Harnden spoke of their experiences as student-athletes at UCF.

Detlefsen, a junior on the women's golf team, finished her undergraduate degree in advertising/public relations in two years with a 4.0 cumulative GPA, and is currently pursuing her master's degree in mass communications. She credited her success to the numerous people in the athletics department, professors, and coaches for helping her achieve academic success. Detlefsen is a nominee for the UCF Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award as well as the Dr. Richard Lapchick Award.

Harnden stated, "You will learn to be a better person, about structure and about being on time if you play a sport and get and education at UCF."

Harnden was awarded in February with the Order of the Pegasus Award, the most prestigious award given by the university to its students. He and former softball player Shelly Frick became the second and third student-athletes to be given the distinguished award which honors students who demonstrate academic success as well as community involvement and leadership traits.

UCF congratulates all of the student-athletes for their academic success and appreciates their effort and community involvement and the school was happy to pay tribute to them today.