Grizzly Athletics named Champions of Character

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female softball pitcher about to throw a pitch
Ashley Beyke, class of 2016, winds for a pitch at a home softball game. An exercise science major, Beyke is from Franklin, Tenn., and has pitched for the Grizzlies for two years. Last year, the softball squad won a team-specific Champions of Character award from the NAIA.

It’s highly unusual for a college to build an intercollegiate athletics program, as well as its facilities, in only about a year.

It’s also highly unusual for a new intercollegiate athletics program to perform so well its first season.

And of course, it’s unheard of for a new program to win regional and national championships during its first year of post-season eligibility, as Grizzly Athletics did in 2013-14.

Grizzly Athletics can now add another impressive first to its already amazing record … being named a silver-level NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for 2013-14.

GGC was one of 168 institutions in the NAIA to earn the Five Star designation. Schools are awarded points based on character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion.

“It was a great year for us in 2013-14, both on and off the field,” Dr. Darin S. Wilson, director of Athletics said. “Winning is something we take pride in here at GGC, but it’s not all that we’re seeking to accomplish. We want to do things in the right way and make a positive impact on both the fields and courts of play as well as out in the community.”

Will Grizzly Athletics win another national championship this spring?

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.”

Wilson has put that statement, as well as the core values of the pursuit of excellence, responsibility, sportsmanship, leadership and service, at the forefront of everything the program does. The NAIA shares a number of these values within the Champions of Character program, which aims to promote integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership across collegiate athletics.

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