Lady Bobcats Raised $10,000 for Joplin High School
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On Tuesday the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA) named the College of the Ozarks (Mo.) women’s basketball team the recipient of the 4th Annual “All That’s Right in Sport” award. The Lady Bobcats will be honored during the 13th Annual National Sportsmanship Awards hosted by the St. Louis Sports Commission and CTSA in fall 2012.
The National Sportsmanship Awards celebrates athletes, programs and personalities from around the nation that exemplify outstanding sportsmanship, citizenship, ethical conduct and community service. It is one of the most prestigious sports awards events in the country and features major league superstars and local favorites, as well as individuals who may not necessarily be household names, but bring with them the most heartwarming stories.
Every so often there is a sports story so compelling it deserves a moment of reflection. On May 22, 2011, an EF4 tornado struck Joplin, Mo. about 100 miles from Point Lookout where College of the Ozarks sits. It was the deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1974, and nearly six months later the stricken city is gradually recuperating. People throughout the country had a choice to do nothing or do something to help. College of the Ozarks senior guard Maranda Vaught, whose grandparents live in Joplin, and her teammates decided to take action and make a difference. With support from the coaching staff the team organized a Rebound and Rebuild alumni benefit game and raised $10,000 for the Joplin High School girls’ basketball team. The money went toward the purchase of new uniforms and equipment for the Lady Eagles.
“After the tornado hit Joplin, our coaching staff and players discussed what our team could to help with this rebuilding effort,” said College of the Ozarks Head Coach George Wilson. “As we narrowed our focus to one specific group we could impact, we decided that we wanted to assist the Joplin High School girls’ basketball team.”
“We were very overwhelmed with College of the Ozarks, the women’s basketball team and coaches in how they took it upon themselves to rescue our program,” said Joplin Lady Eagles Basketball Coach Vicki Spivy. “Their heart is so big and passionate. We will forever be thankful to Coach Wilson, his staff and his girls for what they did for us. Not just material things were given, but hope was restored. My girls realized that there are great people in this world and it starts with the team from College of the Ozarks.”
Nearly 25 former and current College of the Ozarks players united for a benefit game and more than 80 items were sold in the silent auction. Word spread. Faculty, administrators and students rallied around the event which garnered support from the Branson community and beyond.
“A great game, a great turnout, a great need in Joplin,” added College of the Ozarks Athletics Director Al Waller. “Most important, over $10,000 raised to help an area team that lost everything in the devastating tornado last May.”
To learn more about the National Sportsmanship Awards contact the St. Louis Sports Commission at 314-992-0687.
About the NAIA: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for athletics programs at its nearly 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The long-held mission of the NAIA is to promote the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through intercollegiate athletics. The association offers equitable access and opportunities for participation in its 23 national championship events held annually throughout the country.
Today, the NAIA strengthens its commitment to student-athletes and strives to enrich their college experience by supporting academic achievement and character development. NAIA Champions of Character is the association’s innovative flagship program designed to instill character values in student-athletes, coaches and youth in the communities it serves.