January 9, 2013

AD David Hicks Blog - Second Edition!

1/9/2013
A new year brings a lot of things, most of which are exciting.  Many people have New Years’ Resolutions, and do their best to keep them, for at least a few days.  I’ve never been one for resolutions, but the new year always brings a sense of excitement for me, and this year is no different, particularly as it relates to Tornado Athletics.

In December, our women’s volleyball program, led by Chris Toomey, earned the Conference Carolinas Messick Award.  The Messick Award is given to the program which displayed the best sportsmanship throughout the season, and is voted on by the other conference coaches. Not only did we finish tied for 4th place in the conference (9-7), but we did it with class and integrity!  We won with class, and when we came up short, we did it with class. 

Very soon, there will be an announcement of the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll.  This honor is bestowed on student athletes who maintain a 3.2 GPA or higher for the previous semester.  Last year, King led all Conference Carolinas schools in the number of student athletes achieving this honor, and we’ll be very close again this year. I don’t want to jump the gun before it is officially released, but very close to half of our student athletes will appear on the Presidential Honor Roll. 

Along with the  many on the court successes (more on that later), the Messick Award and Presidential Honor Roll are further evidence that King promotes true student-athletes and we are building meaningful lives for achievement in athletics and after graduation! At the end of the day, those awards are just as meaningful and important as any championship we may win.  (but we do like to WIN!)

In 2013, the Tornado will hit the ground running, building on our successes from 2012.  Our Women’s Wrestling team, ranked #1 in the latest national rankings, heads to Springfield, Illinois later tonight for the NWCA National Duals.  The team is looking to uphold the #1 ranking and improve upon our second place finish at last year’s National Duals.  

If you’ve never watched a college women’s wrestling match, I’d encourage you to come on over to the Student Center Complex at King January 25-26, when we will once again host the top Women’s Wrestling programs in the country for the WCWA National Team Championships. Our talented group of young women will battle the best collegiate wrestlers from around the country (and a few Canadian teams) for the right to be crowned WCWA National Champions.  We finished second at the WCWA Championships last year, and Coach Jason Moorman and his student athletes have expectations to bring home the championship this year.

Our men’s basketball program also received some great recognition earlier this week, earning a #22 national ranking in the NABC poll released January 8.  It’s our highest ranking since joining NCAA Division II in 2010, and a well-deserved honor for our young men.  There is still a long way to go in the season and a very tough conference schedule, but Coach Pitts and our guys are up to the task.

Our women’s basketball program is also off to a great start.  We’ve already matched our win total from last year (5), and have seen vast improvements on the court.  Coach Thompson and the ladies are poised to make a run as Conference play continues to grind along.

Coach Ryan Booher and the Men’s Volleyball program open their season this week, and have 5 home dates in January. With a strong core of returners and some talented freshmen, the team has a great outlook this season, so come on out to the Student Center!   

We strive at King to make athletics more than just a sport, more than wins and losses.  The lessons student-athletes learn from athletics are life-long lessons that can change their lives.  Our desire is to share this experience and give the greater King community and Bristol community the opportunity to be a part of this experience.  Our student athletes excel on and off the court, and we want to share this success with as many people as possible.

Last Saturday, we had over 150 King graduate and professional students and family members at our basketball games.  These folks take classes at King’s instructional locations, or online, and we are making a strong effort to incorporate them into the King culture and provide them with opportunities to show pride and support for their college.

This Saturday, January 12, we are sponsoring Community Appreciation Day at the men’s and women’s basketball games.  Admission to the games is free, as we want to share the successes of our student athletes with the greater Bristol community.  It’s a great, fun family atmosphere at our games, so come on out and enjoy some great basketball!

Later this month, we are also sponsoring several other community events for basketball games, as a way to say thank you to the many people who impact our lives.  January 21 will be First Responder Appreciation Night, in which all of our police officers, EMTs, Firefighters, and other first responders will receive free admission and be recognized during the games.  On January 24, we will have Military Appreciation night, a special night to honor and recognize the men and women who protect our freedoms, and then on February 2 we are inviting all Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA area youth basketball programs to King, recognizing the future stars of our high school basketball programs.

It’s an exciting time to be a Tornado.  We have true student athletes, who excel in their sport and in the classroom, and who are outstanding citizens.  I hope you will continue to follow and support our student athletes – in person, or on the website (www.kingtornado.com).  You can find all of our schedules, links to live stats, live video, text or email updates, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.  Happy New Year and 

GO TORNADO!