Marquette Wins BIG EAST Presidents’ Award

Women's basketball was one of six BIG EAST Conference crowns won by Marquette in 2016-17.
Sept. 14, 2017

- release courtesy of the BIG EAST Conference -

BIG EAST Release

NEW YORK – Marquette University has been named the winner of the BIG EAST Presidents’ Award for the 2016-17 academic year. The honor, which was established by the Presidents in 2015, goes to the BIG EAST institution that has excelled at the highest level in academics, athletics and citizenship during the preceding academic year.

A selection committee of athletic and academic administrators from each BIG EAST institution chose Marquette for the award. Each institution provides the selection committee with comprehensive information that highlights its accomplishments in all three areas.

“The BIG EAST Presidents’ Award was created to recognize the full scope of student-athlete achievement, and we extend our congratulations to the Marquette Golden Eagles for their exceptional performance this past year in the classroom, in competition and in the community,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “We commend Dr. Mike Lovell, Bill Scholl and Marquette’s coaches, administrators and faculty for their commitment to a holistic collegiate experience and lifetime success for the extraordinary young people who represent Marquette across all 16 varsity programs.”

“What an accomplishment – hundreds of Marquette student-athletes honored for excelling on courts, in classrooms and with our community,” said President Michael R. Lovell. “I greatly respect their ceaseless commitment recognized by this award and also congratulate Athletics Department staff for their outstanding leadership of these young men and women.”

“We are incredibly honored to have been selected by our BIG EAST peers as recipient of this year’s Presidents’ Award,” said VP/Director of Athletics Bill Scholl. “The extraordinary efforts by our student-athletes, coaches and staff truly made 2016-17 a banner year for Marquette Athletics. I’m extremely proud of the way our athletics department represented our great University in all it did this past year.”

Academics – Of Marquette’s 16 sports, 10 posted a four-year APR average that was either at or above the national average for their respective sport. Marquette’s men’s golf, men’s tennis and women’s cross country teams were each recognized for posting scores in the top 10 percent of their respective sports. Each team posted a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 1,000.

During the 2016-17 academic year, 195 Golden Eagle student-athletes (62 percent) earned BIG EAST Academic Awards with at least 18 credits and a 3.0 GPA or higher. In the fall semester, 18 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA. Twenty accomplished the feat in the spring semester.

Athletic Achievement – On the fields and in the arenas, Marquette teams won five BIG EAST championships -- men’s golf, women’s basketball, women’s outdoor track & field, women’s indoor track and field and men’s lacrosse. Women’s soccer won the regular-season BIG EAST crown. The men’s basketball team and the women’s volleyball team earned at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.

Individually, in men’s basketball, Andrew Rowsey was named BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year and Markus Howard made the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.

In women’s basketball, Amani Wilborn was BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Men’s golf freshman Matthew Bachmann was the individual winner at the BIG EAST Championship. In men’s tennis, Luke Smrek was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. In the men’s lacrosse championship, Cole Blazer was BIG EAST Most Outstanding Player.

In women’s soccer, Morgan Proffitt was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year.

In women’s indoor track and field, Monique Felix was named BIG EAST Most Outstanding Performer in Field Events. In women’s outdoor track and field, Terica Harris was the Most Outstanding Field Performer and Felix was the High Point Performer of the Meet.

Citizenship - Marquette student-athletes have taken leadership roles in a host of partnerships between campus organizations and the surrounding urban population in need. They have performed a total of 4,521 hours of community service at 64 locations throughout Milwaukee.

Marquette teams embarked on several signature service projects. The entire women’s basketball team and staff volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The entire women’s soccer team volunteered at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in April on the Marquette campus.

Last fall, Marquette’s SAAC partnered with Campus Kitchens to host “Turkey Palooza” a service event in which student-athletes prepared Thanksgiving meals to various service sites. Campus Kitchens, a hallmark project at Marquette, enlists student and community volunteers to gather, prepare and deliver meals to the homeless. Campus Kitchens prepares 500-600 meals on campus each week and delivers 2,200 meals each month.

Beneficiaries of other student-athlete service projects include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, Hunger Task Force, Girls on the Run, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Special Olympics, and Midnight Run, which benefits food pantries.

All Marquette student-athletes participate in “Al’s Run” in support of Children’s Hospital, serving as volunteers along the course and as ambassadors of the athletic department to the crowd of participants. Legendary basketball coach Al McGuire initiated the event 39 years ago. The student-athletes continue to partner with Chidren’s Hospital beyond the race, working at book drives, fund raisers and visits to critically ill children who are hospitalized.

From a visit to the Mary Ryan-Sherman Park Boys and Girls Club, the men’s basketball team launched a year-long service commitment with Sharp Literacy called “Reading with the Golden Eagles,” which included visits to first and second grade classrooms and read-ins.

The women’s lacrosse team has developed a strong alliance with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The team hosted its fifth annual PanCAN games to raise awareness and funding to support research. Since 2013, the team has raised over $35,000.

The men’s lacrosse team visits the Milwaukee VA hospital twice a month, interacting and playing wheelchair lacrosse. The men’s and women’s teams also spent a day at the Milwaukee Academy of Science as part of the Urban Lacrosse program, teaching the game to youths during gym class.

Women’s lacrosse standout Alina Atayan is one of 10 finalists for the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award, presented by the One Love Foundation. One Love’s mission is to end relationship abuse by educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. The award recognizes student-athletes who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship.

About the BIG EAST:

The BIG EAST Conference is an association of ten nationally prominent colleges and universities that foster healthy athletic competition, community service and the pursuit of excellence in academic environments. The athletic programs of BIG EAST institutions provide national-caliber participation opportunities for more than 3,727 student-athletes on over 180 men’s and women’s teams in 22 sports. Established in 1979 and headquartered in New York City, the BIG EAST’s members are located in seven of the country’s top 36 largest media markets and include Butler University, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University. For more information, visit


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