BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University's athletic programs have been ranked first among the top 50 Christian college athletic programs in the nation by TheologyDegrees.com, adding to the list of awards the University has earned. TheologyDegrees.com strives to offer solutions for those looking to answer a call that a Higher power has put into their lives [not only] by assisting with potential career opportunities but [also] promoting institutions of higher-education, based in theology and seminary.
"This recognition embodies the spirit of King," Athletic Director David Hicks says. "We strive to develop and graduate student-athletes who succeed in every aspect of college life. To be recognized for the athletic success, academic success, and spiritual development of our student-athletes is an honor and validation for the hard work of our coaching staff."
The Tornado had a very successful 2015-16 campaign, winning four national titles along with 10 individual national champions. The women's wrestling team took home two national titles, each their third straight, winning the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals championship as well as their third straight Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship. They had three individuals take home titles and one runner-up finish.
The success of the women's wrestling program continued on through the summer as Haley Augello was the first King women's wrestler to qualify for and compete in the Olympics. She was also the first King student-athlete to compete for the United States in the Olympic Games.
Earlier in the year, the cycling team won their first USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike national championship following their first Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship. The Tornado followed that with their first USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross national championship in January. In all, the cycling program brought home seven individual national champions in 2015-16.
On the conference level, King took home regular season Conference Carolinas championships for women's volleyball (north division) and men's basketball while the men's basketball team also won the conference tournament. The Tornado men's basketball program also qualified for the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship for the second time in five years since King has been NCAA Division II members.
Individually, 50 Tornado student-athletes were selected All-Conference Carolinas. The Tornado also had 14 student-athletes garner All-American honors and seven earn All-Region distinction.
In the classroom, King had 58 student-athletes earn Conference Carolinas All-Academic honors, eight were named CoSIDA Academic All-District with two earning CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. Three Tornado were selected as their sports' Conference Carolinas Scholar Athlete of the Year and 66 earned a Division II Athletic Directors Association (D2ADA) Academic Achievement Award.
King student-athletes were also active in the community during the 2015-16 season, putting in more than 3,000 hours of community service in that time. Along with community service, several teams participate in mission trips. The women's volleyball team partnered with Sport X Change and traveled to Costa Rica for a mission trip for 10 days in May.
King University is recognized as a "Best Regional Universities" in the South by U.S. News and World Report; this year's ranking is King's 26th consecutive appearance in the annual publication. Other recent accolades include King's recognition for the past 12 years as a "Best College in the Southeast" by the Princeton Review, and as a "Military Friendly School" for the seventh year by G.I. Jobs.