The Great American Conference (GAC) received a record high number of student athletes who received Academic All-Conference honors. Harding led with 73 of the 552 student athletes to receive the GAC academic honors in winter/spring sports. Harding is one of the only schools in the GAC with multiple academic performers in all 10 sports.
The Lady Bisons made up the majority of the 73 athletes to receive these honors, primarily in tennis and track and field.
“Considering all the hours of work they put in to be top student athletes and the sacrifices they make, they are very deserving of their academic successes,” head men’s and women’s tennis coach David Redding said.
Head men’s basketball coach and Athletic Director Jeff Morgan, attributed the student athlete’s academic success to the coaches’ dedication to making time for school work and seeking out effort-driven students.
“A part of this process is also the amount of work our coaches put in providing study hall opportunities, tracking on class attendance and recruiting high performing and highly motivated young men and women,” Morgan said.
Morgan also said the amount of academic honors received by student athletes at Harding has been consistently high and that it is common for Harding athletes to perform well academically.
“Harding has, most years, led the way in academic awards for our conference,” Morgan said. “During the 2019-20 academic year, we had 111 of our student athletes receive academic awards.”
The head softball coach Phil Berry said that in order to continue this type of success in the future, they will continue to recruit academically-driven athletes and offer the amount of necessary support for them to succeed academically.
“We will continue to recruit and train student athletes who desire to be outstanding in the classroom,” Berry said. “We will also ensure that once they are here, we provide the resources and support necessary to help them achieve their academic goals.”
Redding said that he understands the difficulties of being an intercollegiate athlete.
“These kids are quite special,” Redding said. “It is extremely difficult to be a top intercollegiate athlete and a top student at the same time. I continue to be amazed at the quality and quantity of their work, as well as the sacrifices these players make to do what they do both on the court and in the classroom. May God continue to bless them, their efforts, and their influence for good on others.”