Stepp, Bankhead Receive Academic Honor

April 1, 2004

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Gonzaga University seniors Blake Stepp and Kyle Bankhead are among the 10 men's basketball players honored on the second annual NCAA Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team announced Thursday by the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA).

"We are very proud of these outstanding student-athletes," said Pat Meiser McKnett, coordinator of the Division I-AAA ADA Scholar-Athlete Team Selection Committee and athletics director at the University of Hartford. "They represent the best of Division I-AAA."

Basketball players from all Division I-AAA ADA member institutions are eligible for these prestigious awards. Each of the nominees were required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or important reserve with legitimate athletics credentials. He/she must have reached sophomore athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution and have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution. He/she must also have participated in 50 percent of the games played at his/her designated position.

Stepp, a two-time All-West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a second-team College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America selection, has a 3.24 GPA in business administration. Bankhead, a member of the WCC All-Academic squad, carried an undergraduate GPA of 3.26 and in the fall semester had a 4.0 graduate school GPA in sports administration.

Adam Mark, a senior at Belmont University, was named the Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year with a 3.95 GPA in computer science.

A special Review Committee of Division I-AAA athletics directors was responsible for selecting the winners. Completing this task were Peg Bradley-Doppes, UNC-Wilmington; Pete Carlon, Texas-Arlington; Gary Cunningham, UC-Santa Barbara; Tom Dillon, Canisius; Bill Husak, Loyola Marymount; Ken Kavanagh, Bradley; Jean Lenti-Ponsetto, DePaul; Pat Meiser-McKnett, Hartford; and John Planek, Loyola-Chicago.

Now in its third year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the 90 Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. The Association is administered by NACDA, which, now in its 39th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,150 athletics directors, associates, assistants and conference administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Through its series of management seminars, clinics and workshops and publication of the bi-monthly magazine Athletics Administration, NACDA offers educational opportunities to its members. More than 1,200 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, the Association operates the NACDA Directors' Cup program, which honors the all-sports champion in each of the NCAA Divisions -- I, II and III -- and the NAIA, for a total of four trophies.

Men's Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete Team

Name/School Year GPA Major
Kyle Bankhead, Gonzaga Grad 3.26 Sports Administration
Clint Cuffle, Evansville JR 3.75 Civil Engineering
Brody Deren, Creighton SR 3.67 Exercise Science
Drake Diener, DePaul JR 3.37 Secondary Education
Michael Lindeman, Creighton Grad 3.92 Business Administration
Alex Loughton, Old Dominion SO 3.29 Business
Adam Mark, Belmont SR 3.95 Computer Science
Blake Stepp, Gonzaga SR 3.23 Business Administration
Ryan Stys, Hartford SR 3.31 Economics & Finance
Jason Telford, Loyola Chicago SR 3.93 Finance



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