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Spring Athletic Honors

On Monday, April 18, the Athletic Department of Clearwater Christian College honored the 2011 spring semester athletes during a special chapel service. Among the honorees were two inductions into the CCC Hall of Fame: Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny, Professor of Exercise and Sport Science, Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Sciences, and Women's Volleyball Coach; and Tyler Spraul, senior from Annandale, VA.

Dr. Denny has a career record of 844 wins and 253 losses, 11 NCCAA National Championships, 18 NCCAA South Region Championships, 6 National Coach of the Year awards, and many more recognitions. She has served the NCCAA as the National Volleyball Chair (1998-2002), First Vice President (2005-2007), and President (2008-current). She was also inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame in 2005.

According to Athletic Director James Whitaker, “More impressive than her lengthy list of accomplishments and awards has been the eternal impact she has had on the young women she has coached over the years. She has been a Godly example of everything a Christian coach should be as characterized by her consistency, her commitment to excellence, her attention to detail, and her concern for the physical and spiritual development of her players.”

Having met all qualifications for a Hall of Fame inductee, Tyler Spraul was also inducted into the prestigious group of ‘the best of the best’ athletes at CCC. In order to be considered for the honor, the student must be a graduating senior, be nominated by his or her respective coach, have an outstanding testimony, and be an outstanding athlete in his or her respective sport by earning a first or second team NCCAA All-American, or by earning the highest award available in his or her particular sport. James Whitaker said, “[Tyler] is the most decorated soccer player to ever play for the Cougars, serving as the team captain for both the 2009 and 2010 NCCAA National Championship teams. As his coach for the past three years, I would like to personally thank Tyler for the contributions he has made to our soccer team.”

At the close of the 2010-2011 season, Tyler was named NCCAA National Player of the Year and the NCCAA National Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player. He was also 1st Team All-American in 2009 and 2010, 2nd Team All-American in 2008, and named to the National All-Tournament Team in 2009. At the regional level, he was named as the South Region Most Valuable Player in both 2009 and 2010.

Perhaps even more impressive than his success on the soccer field has been his performance in the classroom. Tyler was named an NCCAA Scholar Athlete in 2009 and 2010 as he maintained a perfect 4.0 average in Pre-Med. He is the son of Mike and Darla Spraul from Hendersonville, North Carolina, and a 2007 graduate of First Baptist Christian School in Waupaca, Wisconsin.

In addition to the CCC awards, the Cougars were pleased to recognize Coach Keith Champion, Instructor of Education and ESS, Assistant Athletic Director, and Men's Basketball Coach, as a recipient of the NCCAA Hall of Fame Award. Coach Champion has coached teams at Northland International University, Pensacola Christian College, Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, and CCC. According to the NCCAA press release, “Keith’s real legacy, though, will be his commitment to using basketball to serve the Great Commission. Having served as a pastor, Keith’s favorite pulpit is a gym or an outdoor park that has any type of basketball court.”

James Whitaker said, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame. Coach Champion has been a model of consistency, character, and commitment to Christ throughout his career. His legacy is in the impact for Christ that he has had on numerous lives through athletics.”

Coach Champion will be honored at the NCCAA National Convention in St. Louis on June 3, 2011, during the Hall of Fame Banquet.