TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
Mission, Vision & Purpose
Facilities, Finances & Fundraising
Culture of Integrity
Branding & Engagement
2018-19 RECAP The UTRGV Department of Intercollegiate Athletics elevated in competition, the classroom, and the community during the 2018-19 academic year. UTRGV recorded the best finish in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Commissioner’s Cup in department history, placing second among sponsored sports and third overall. UTRGV achieved such a high finish because almost every team has followed the UTRGV Athletics mantra of elevating, despite the department operating with second lowest overall athletic budget out of nine institutions. The volleyball team won the WAC Championship and was one of three teams, along with men’s and women’s soccer, to record the winningest season in NCAA Division I program history. The baseball team also won the WAC Championship while setting a program record for conference wins and completing its winningest season since 1991. Both basketball teams advanced to the postseason, with the men doing so for the second year in a row and the women doing so for the fourth time in five years. The men’s basketball team won 20 games for the first time in 18 years and hosted and won an NCAA Division I postseason game for the first time ever. The women’s basketball team won 18 games, one shy of the program record. The indoor track & field team won a program record nine individual WAC Championships and then won five more during the outdoor championships. Six track & field student-athletes competed at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Back in the fall, Abraham Chirchir became UTRGV’s first runner to advance to the NCAA Cross Country National Championships since 2005. As a department, UTRGV boasted a program record 46 WAC Athletes of the Week/Month, which ranks second in the WAC, even when including non-sponsored sports. Grand Canyon led the way with 74 total WAC Athletes of the Week, including 60 in UTRGV’s sponsored sports. New Mexico State ranked third with 45, including 39 in UTRGV’s sponsored sports. Academically, UTRGV student-athletes continued to thrive with higher grade point averages than the student body at large, as the department averaged a 3.18 GPA. A department-record 96 studentathletes earned Academic All-WAC honors. Additionally, a record 166 student-athletes earned Athletic Director’s honor roll recognition in the fall for sporting a GPA of at least 3.0. An equally impressive 158 student-athletes earned a spot on the AD Honor Roll in the spring. In the community, UTRGV student-athletes completed 2,862 hours of community service, a 119.82 percent increase over last year, while engaging with 30 different organizations, a 42.86 percent increase over last year. UTRGV Athletics also collected over 2,500 pounds of food to donate to those in need.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics supports and complements the educational mission of the institution by providing student-athletes the academic resources to obtain their baccalaureate degrees while participating in athletics competition as a Division I member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The department of intercollegiate athletics supports and enhances the visibility of the institution by serving as a means to broaden and strengthen the Rio Grande Valley community’s interest and involvement with the institution. The department of intercollegiate athletics will promote a sense of institutional identity, unity, and pride within the university and surrounding communities. To fulfill the mission, the department of intercollegiate athletics operates under the following guiding principles: • Develop and maintain a highly competitive and sound athletics program, reaching a standard of excellence in athletics consistent with the mission of the university. • Provide an environment to promote and enhance the emotional well-being and the social development of our studentathletes. • Promote sensitivity to diversity issues for all student-athletes and staff in accordance with NCAA principles, university policies and any affiliated conferences. • Comply with and follow the principle of institutional control in operating our athletics program in a manner that is consistent with the letter and spirit of the NCAA, Conference and University rules and regulations. The department of intercollegiate athletics expects student-athletes, coaches and all others associated with intercollegiate athletics to embrace the principles of sportsmanship and ethical conduct.
VISION The UTRGV Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will become the standard of Division I college athletics as a nationally recognized program excelling at the highest level of competition while preparing our student-athletes for excellence in life.
Preparing Our Student-Athletes for Excellence in Life Intercollegiate athletic programs exist to fulfill the academic and competitive outlets of our student-athletes. In today’s market, it is far too easy to overlook the relatively simple needs of a student-athlete in pursuit of bigger picture issues such as revenue, exposure, recognition and success. It is vital that UTRGV Athletics never lose sight of its purpose for existing – to provide student-athletes with a fulfilling and dynamic set of memories, experiences and lessons that will help shape them into generations of leaders who will change our world for years to come. The student-athlete experience begins with recruitment and culminates with graduation. In the time between, from arriving on campus for the first time, to attending class and competing for championships, UTRGV Athletics strives to make a longlasting experience that will prepare each student-athlete for both personal and professional success.
ACHIEVE We will achieve our financial goals to enhance the student-athlete and fan experience, and prepare our student-athletes for excellence in life.
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UTRGV Athletics made significant renovations to the UTRGV Fieldhouse during the summer of 2019, with new home, visiting and officials locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. New team rooms were installed for the women’s basketball and volleyball teams while the hallways were redone as well. Sam Williams Court also underwent a change, with a fresh design reflecting the university’s colors of orange and gray. Each lane was given a darker brown color to make it stand out, while new three-point lines were installed to meet new NCAA requirements. New entrance and exit doors were installed at the UTRGV Fieldhouse to enhance the fan and student-athlete experience by beautifying the facility. These recent upgrades completed the second phase of the UTRGV Fieldhouse renovation that started with the addition of a concession stand, a media room, and the modernization of the sports medicine facility and locker room hallways that took place throughout the 2018-19 academic year.
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TICKET SALES INCREASE utrgv athletics saw an overall increase in ticket sales of 37.54%
BELIEVE We believe in our mission, vision and core values which embody the spirit of the Rio Grande Valley community.
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DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION 139 male
262 active student-athletes
pursuing 40 different majors at the undergraduate and graduate level
55% texan 75 rio grande valley natives
from 21 different states
from 41 different countries
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NCAA DIVERSITY & INCLUSION WEEK
The UTRGV Athletic Academic Services Unit and the StudentAthlete Advisory Committee joined the NCAA in a SAAC Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign. This week-long campaign, led by the NCAA SAAC and the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, featured student-athletes, administrators, coaches and fans across the country using their platform to promote diversity and inclusion, which are key elements of student-athlete success.
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION COMMITTEE
The department implemented a recruitment and retention ad hoc committee, comprised of input from administrators, coaches, and studentathletes, to develop the following: UTRGV and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Points of Pride; recruiting best practices for head and assistant coaches; centralized infrastructure to aggregate important university and department of intercollegiate athletics information, resources, and highlights; and creation and distribution of a student-athlete handbook for international students to reduce the high transfer rates for those students. Implementation of these findings will commence during the 2019-20 academic year.
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drive We are driven to be the most competitive institution in the Western Athletic Conference to proudly represent the Rio Grande Valley.
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2018-19 WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COMMISSIONER’S CUP The WAC awards its Commissioner’s Cup to the institution that performs the best in each of the conference’s 19 men’s and women’s championships. Points are awarded in order of finish, equal to the number of teams that participate in each sport and are averaged between a team’s regular season finish (if applicable) and its WAC championship finish. UTRGV finished the 2018-19 season in third place for the first time since the institution joined the WAC in 2013. Taking into consideration only the 16 sports in which UTRGV competes, UTRGV finished second, less that two points out of first.
New Mexico State
New Mexico State
101 all-wac honorees
wac athletes of the week
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ALL-WAC HONOREES Baseball Ryan Jackson Christian Sepulveda Coach Derek Matlock Men’s Basketball Javon Levi Terry Winn III Women’s Basketball Madison Northcutt Men’s Cross Country Abraham Chirchir Omer Almog Women’s Cross Country Mercy Chelangat Jennifer Zapata Men’s Golf Alvaro Hernandez Pedro Lamadrid Men’s Soccer Kyle Edwards Antone Jarvis William Akio Bryce Box Guillermo Martinez Isidro Martinez Andy Rios Arthur Rogers Coach Paul Leese Women’s Soccer Kinga Szemik Emily Zapata
Sarah Bonney Tuva Rolstad Nilsen Men’s Tennis Yehonatan Kaufman Mateo Schmit/Clément Sarradin Women’s Tennis Dominique Ibarra Dominique Ibarra/Marine Darzyan Nethmi Waduge Men’s Indoor Track & Field Omer Almog Abraham Chirchir Michael Gonzalez Yariel Matute Max Carmona Sky Tatum Carlos Serna-Hernandez, Yariel Matute, Mariano Hernandez, Max Carmona Christian Hall-Gardner Ricky Espinoza Yashawn Hamilton Mariano Hernandez Alberto Herrera Kyle Marroquin Ricardo Mendoza Matthew Salaiz Women’s Indoor Track & Field Idatonye Cheetham-West Dorcas Koech Samariae Bonds Dai’ja Coleman Ashley Hughes Alexandrea Hurst Eleanor Arndt
Kyra Keurentjes Destiny Rutherford Diamond Thomas Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Michael Gonzalez Dimitris Levantinos Max Carmona Brandon Sanders Sky Tatum Dimitris Levantinos, Max Carmona, Mariano Hernandez, Brandon Sanders Antoine Godin Mariano Hernandez Jonathan Ojeda Julian Trevino Jon Zapata Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Idatonye Cheetham-West Dorcas Koech Diamond Thomas Samariae Bonds Dai’ja Coleman Ashley Hughes Alexandrea Hurst Felicia Wills Kyra Keurentjes Zarrey Sams Jasmyn Tulloch Destiny Rutherford, Kyra Keurentjes, Natalie Garza, Ashley Hughes Volleyball Ragni Steen Knudsen Alexandra Ecker Barbara Silva
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BASEBALL The UTRGV baseball team made history this past season, earning a share of the WAC Championship, marking the teamâ€™s first NCAA Division I conference championship and first overall since 1955. UTRGV went 34-21 for its winningest season since 1991, including a program record 19-8 in WAC play. UTRGV had two wins over ranked teams, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 16 Oklahoma State, while adding a win over Kansas State to defeat three different Big 12 opponents in same season for first time ever. Ryan Jackson earned All-WAC First Team Reliever honors, Christian Sepulveda earned All-WAC Second Team Shortstop honors, and head coach Derek Matlock earned WAC Coach of the Year honors. Anthony Gomez was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 34th round of the MLB Draft, and Jackson signed a professional contract with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
The UTRGV volleyball team won its first WAC Championship by finishing the regular season 13-3. The 13 conference wins marked one of several NCAA Division I program records to fall, including wins (22), road wins (9) and conference road wins (6). UTRGV also tied records for home wins (11) and conference home wins (7). UTRGV ranked as high as No. 69 in the RPI, an improvement of 54 spots over previous program record. UTRGV led the WAC with six athlete of the week awards, four of which were won by WAC Player of the Year and AllWAC First Team honoree Ragni Steen Knudsen. Alexandra Ecker and Barbara Silva were also honored as part of the All-WAC Second Team.
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MEN’S BASKETBALL UTRGV men’s basketball is coming off of a season in which it made its second-straight postseason berth, marking the first time the team has made back-to-back postseason appearances since the 1960s. UTRGV hosted the first two postseason men’s basketball games in the history of the fieldhouse and the first since 1966 while recording its first postseason victory since 1968 and first as an NCAA Division I program. In total, UTRGV won 20 games for first time in 18 years, tying for the eighth-winningest season in program history. Among those wins were seven double-digit comebacks, the third most in the NCAA, including an NCAA-best five in conference, all of which were on the road. The first of the comebacks was against Lamar, a team UTRGV trailed 28-4 after nine minutes before becoming the 28th team to ever comeback from a 24+ point deficit. UTRGV ranked fourth in the NCAA and first in the WAC in total steals with a program record 345, third in the NCAA and first in the WAC in steals per game at 9.3, fourth in the NCAA and first in the WAC in turnovers forced per game at 17.70, and fifth in the NCAA and first in the WAC in turnover margin at +4.9. UTRGV also forced a program record 654 turnovers. UTRGV ranked third in the NCAA in free throws made and attempted, going 641-for-923 to set program records in both categories. UTRGV held opponents to .337 shooting from behind the arc, the fifth lowest mark in program history UTRGV earned several major accolades, as Javon Levi was recognized as WAC Defensive Player of the Year and part of the All-Defensive Team. He was also a finalist for the Lefty Driesell award, given to the nation’s top defender. Terry Winn III earned All-WAC Second Team honors. Head coach Lew Hill was a finalist for the Ben Jobe award, presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I men’s basketball.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UTRGV women’s basketball made its fourth postseason appearance in five years by competing in the 2019 Women’s Basketball Invitational. UTRGV won 18 games overall, including a program-record 10 during conference play. UTRGV went 10-5 at home, marking the third-straight season in which UTRGV has won at least 10 home games. Madison Northcutt earned a trio of WAC honors, including All-WAC Second Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Newcomer Team. Northcutt set the program record for the most rebounds in a season with 294.
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The UTRGV men’s tennis team won a number of individual championships this past season, including four at the Ron Wesbrooks Invitational, led by singles titles by Yehonatan Kaufman, Samuel de Felipe Garcia, George Hutchings, and the doubles duo of Kaufman and Hutchings. Zane Kohrs added a singles championship at the Islander Open. Kaufman went on to earn All-WAC Second Team honors in singles while Mateo Schmit and Clément Sarradin earned All-WAC Second-Team honors in doubles.
UTRGV women’s tennis saw the career of its all-time winningest player, Dominique Ibarra, come to a close this past season. Ibarra finished with 121 victories, including 66 in singles and 55 doubles, both of which rank second in program history. Ibarra put an exclamation point on her career by earning WAC Player of the Year and All-WAC First Team honors in both singles and doubles. She shared her doubles honor with Marine Darzyan, while Nethmi Waduge, who was just a freshman, also earned All-WAC First Team honors in singles.
The UTRGV men’s golf team is coming off of one of its best seasons in recent history, ranking as high as 104th in the Golf State rankings after starting the spring season at 188th. UTRGV jumped so high by recording six top-five finishes. Alvaro Hernandez earned all-WAC First Team honors and Pedro Lamadrid earned All-WAC Second Team honors by recording two of the top-10 stroke averages in the WAC at 71.5 and 72.4, respectively.
The UTRGV women’s golf team took significant steps forward this past season, recording a pair of top-five finishes in the spring. Newcomer Julie Lucio led the way, posting three top-10 finishes, including a pair of top-five finishes.
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MEN’S SOCCER The UTRGV men’s soccer team is coming off of the best season in program history after setting new NCAA Division I program records in wins (14), home wins (8), conference wins (8), conference home wins (6) and conference road wins (3). UTRGV was ranked as high as No. 36 in the RPI, an improvement of 121 spots over previous program record, while finishing second in the WAC, behind only top10 Air Force. UTRGV racked up the awards, with nine All-WAC honorees, as head coach Paul Leese was named WAC Coach of the Year, Kyle Edwards and Antone Jarvis earned All-WAC First Team honors, William Akio earned All-WAC Second Team honors, and Bryce Box, Guillermo Martinez, Isidro Martinez, Andy Rios and Arthur Rogers earned AllWAC Honorable Mention. Isidro Martinez went on to play for the United Soccer League’s RGV FC Toros. He was added to the Houston Dynamo’s 23-player roster for the Leagues Cup quarterfinal match against Club America.
The UTRGV women’s soccer team recorded the winningest season in NCAA Division I program history, finishing with 12 victories, including six in conference play to finish tied for second. UTRGV was ranked as high as No. 108 in the RPI, an improvement of 103 spots over the previous program record. Four student-athlete earned All-WAC honors, as Emily Zapata and Kinga Szemik were part of the first team and Tuva Rolstad Nilsen and Sarah Bonney earned second team honors. UTRGV earned a WAC-high tying five athlete of the week awards, including three by Szemik and one by Zapata. Szemik earned the opportunity to play with the Polish National Team during the fall and again in the winter while Zapata was the No. 91 ranked freshman in the nation.
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MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY UTRGV men’s cross country is coming off of the best season in program history, ranking as high as No. 3 in the South Central Region, a program record, and behind only Arkansas and Texas. UTRGV recorded its best WAC finish by coming in second, while Omer Almog and Abraham Chirchir finished second and third individually en route to All-WAC First Team honors. The No. 9 ranked freshman in the nation, Chirchir went on to finish second in the region to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships, becoming the program’s first runner to do so since 2005. Chirchir also earned two WAC Athlete of the Week awards, won a race at Texas A&M, and recorded three of the top-six 8k times in program history.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
UTRGV women’s cross country made a huge leap this past season, getting ranked as high as No. 5 in the South Central Region, a program record. One of the keys to the transformation was Mercy Chelangat, the No. 7 ranked freshman in the nation, who earned All-WAC First Team honors by finishing fourth at the WAC Championships. She also won two races and broke the program record in the 6k twice. UTRGV earned a WAC-high three athlete of the week awards, including two by Chelangat and one by Thalia Polanco. Jennifer Zapata was also honored, earning All-WAC Second Team recognition.
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MEN’S TRACK & FIELD
The UTRGV men’s indoor track & field team won five WAC Championships, including Omer Almog in the mile and 3,000-meter runs, Abraham Chirchir in the 5,000-meter run, Yariel Matute in the 400-meter dash, and Matute, Carlos SernaHernandez, Mariano Hernandez and Max Carmona in the 4x400-meter relay. Matute earned Men’s Track Athlete of the Year honors while the team as a whole came in second, the best WAC finish in program history. Men’s outdoor track & field team earned a pair of WAC Championships and 14 All-WAC honors while sending one studentathlete to the NCAA West Preliminary Round. One of the standouts was Dimitris Levantinos, who advanced to the NCAAs in the 400-meter hurdles by recording the second, fifth, and sixth-fastest times in program history. He earned All-WAC First Team honors in the 400 and 110-meter hurdles while sharing All-WAC First Team recognition with Carmona, Hernandez and Brandon Sanders by winning the WAC Championship in the 4x400-meter relay. Sanders added an individual title of his own by winning the 400-meter dash.
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD The UTRGV women’s indoor track & field team won four WAC Championships, including Dorcas Koech in the 5,000-meter run, Idatonye Cheetham-West in the long jump, Ashley Hughes in the 400-meter run, and Alexandrea Hurst in the shot put. Koech was honored was the Women’s Freshman of the Year while Cheetham-West was recognized as the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. The team finished fourth in the WAC, its best finish in program history. Women’s outdoor track & field team set new program records in seven different categories, won three WAC Championships, and had a program record six student-athletes qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Diamond Thomas became the first student-athlete in program history to compete in multiple events at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, qualifying in both the discus and the shot put. Hurst and Samariae Bonds also qualified in the shot put, Hughes qualified in the 400-meter hurdles, Cheetham-West qualified in the long jump, and Dai’ja Coleman qualified in the triple jump.
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invest We invest our time, energy and faith in one another to match the advancement of the Rio Grande Valley.
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HOME EVENT HIGHLIGHTS OCT. 19
SEPT. 14 Volleyball hosted Texas Tech in front of a record crowd of 2,176.
The UTRGV community celebrated the kick off to basketball season at the annual UTRGV Madness.
NOV. 8-9 Thousands of community members attended the fourth annual UTRGV Trunkor-Treat, in which student organizations and the basketball team participates to provide a safe alternative to Trickor-Treating.
UTRGV inducted former Pan American men’s basketball head coach Lon Kruger into the Athletics Hall of Fame, while he and his wife, Barbara, entered the Hall of Honor for making the first six-figure donation in department history and remaining active boosters. UTRGV hosted Kruger’s current team, Oklahoma, at Bert Ogden Arena in front of 5,076 fans the next day.
DEC. 20 Women’s basketball hosted No. 12 Texas at the UTRGV Fieldhouse in front of a sellout crowd of 2,655.
UTRGV won the first Western Athletic Conference regular season championship in program history after beating Kansas City 3-1 at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
FEB. 14 UTRGV Athletics hosted its eighth annual Battle of the Colleges, at which Deans from the various UTRGV Colleges and School of Medicine competed in a free throw contest at halftime of the game against Settle U.
FEB. 15-17 Baseball kicked off the season with a series against No. 16 Oklahoma State. UTRGV defeated OSU 5-2 in game two of the series.
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FEB. 16 The department welcomed student-athlete alumni for the 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Later that day, UTRGV students, faculty, staff and alumni came together to celebrate Homecoming. UTRGV retired legendary men’s basketball player Fred Taylor’s No. 30 at halftime of the game against Utah Valley.
MAR. 20 & 25
UTRGV men’s basketball hosted the first and second rounds of the CollegeInsider. com Postseason Tournament, recording its first-ever NCAA Division I postseason victory against Grambling State. UTRGV drew over 2,000 fans to each game.
APR. 6 Baseball commemorated the life of Tejano superstar Selena with its third annual Selena Night.
APR. 28 UTRGV Athletics partnered with various UTRGV and Rio Grande Valley entities for Autism Awareness Day.
UTRGV Athletics clinched its first South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, Championship when the women’s track & field team beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex
UTRGV Athletics celebrated Diversity and Inclusion with its Pride in the Ballpark baseball game.
UTRGV Athletics hosted the WAC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments at the Brownsville Tennis Center.
MAY 18 Baseball won its first WAC Championship and clinched the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the WAC Tournament by beating Utah Valley 12-2 in eight innings to close out the regular season.
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SOCIAL MEDIA NUMBERS AND GROWTH 16,140
UTRGV ATHLETICS FACEBOOK FANS
@GOUTRGV TWITTER FOLLOWERS
@GOUTRGV INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
TOTAL FACEBOOK FANS INCLUDING SPORT ACCOUNTS
28% TOTAL TWITTER GROWTH
26% @GOUTRGV INSTAGRAM GROWTH
TOTAL TWITTER FOLLOWERS INCLUDING SPORT ACCOUNTS
increase in traffic to
COMPARED TO OTHER DIVISION I SCHOOLS IN TEXAS
TOTAL FACEBOOK GROWTH
compared to other western athletic conference schools
11% @GOUTRGV TWITTER GROWTH
7% UTRGV ATHLETICS FACEBOOK GROWTH
IN INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
#3 IN FACEBOOK FANS #4 IN TWITTER FOLLOWERS
THRIVE We will thrive in the classroom and in the community to become contributing members of society.
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TOP ORGANIZATIONS SERVED
2,862 30 ORGANIZATIONS SERVED
HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
RGV FOOD BANK
320 HOURS SALVATION ARMY
249 HOURS SPECIAL OLYMPICS
top community service teams
women’s track & field
406 hours men’s basketball
pounds of food collected
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combined department gpa teams with
Henry Fisher, Alvaro Hernandez, Luca Portelli, and Alex Summers were named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
96 UTRGV STUDENT-ATHLETES EARNED ACADEMIC ALL-WAC HONORS
Jordan Jackson and Nick Mora were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court, recognizing those men’s basketball student-athletes who excelled in academics during the past season.
Women’s basketball’s Jameka Dowell and baseball’s Coleman Grubbs were recipients of 2018-19 Academic Momentum Awards, announced by the Scholar Baller program in conjunction with the Institute for Sport & Social Justice (ISSJ).
Vicky Gonzalez and Tilda Green of the women’s golf team are 2018-19 Women’s Golf Coaches Association AllAmerican Scholars.
Men’s tennis earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team honors for having a team GPA over 3.20. Additionally, Yehonatan Kaufman, Zane Kohrs, and Michael Loyd earned ScholarAthlete honors for having a GPA of at least 3.50.
The volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award by posting a 3.38 grade point average (GPA) during the 2018-19 academic year.
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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
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