The Athletics and Recreation Department held its annual All Sports Banquet, honoring various teams and players, as well as retiring Director [b]John Harper[/b].
"I was touched and surprised about all of it," Mr. Harper said of the tributes and accolades that were heard throughout the program. "I want you to know how lucky I have been to have had all of you as colleagues and friends over the years."
Along with the presentation of a special gift, the university named the Athlete of the Year Award of Mr. Harper. "It is an awesome gesture and I will be forever grateful," he said.
Mr. Harper has been director of Athletics and Recreation since 1991, overseeing unprecedented growth of facilities and all facets of 21 men's and women's varsity programs, intramurals, club sports and general campus recreation. He will leave his post effective July 31. Attending the banquet was Mr. Harper's wife, Ann, son, Jonathan, and grandchildren, Clayton and Skyler. (His son Jason was unable to attend.)
President [b]Dana Mohler-Faria[/b] was on hand to present the John C. Harper Award to standouts [b]Shelly DePina[/b] (basketball) and [b]Corey Batista[/b] (baseball).
Other major award winners were Scholar Athlete of the Year, [b]Michaela Ferreira[/b] (softball), [b]Sarah Lagasse[/b] (cross country/track), [b]Corey Ryser[/b] (basketball); Rookie of the Year, [b]Alana Watkins[/b] (basketball) and [b]Blaise Branch[/b] (football); Lee Harrington Unsung Hero Award, [b]Erin Quimby[/b] (lacrosse) and [b]Jeff Sousa[/b] (cross country/track); Athletic Trainer of the Year, [b]Matthew Chatham[/b] (undergraduate) and [b]Jose Alvarez[/b] (graduate); and the Student-Athlete Leadership Award, [b]Carrie Robitaille[/b] (soccer/track and field) and [b]Andrew Corley[/b] (track and field).
Also honored were more than 170 student-athletes who maintained a GPA of 3.3 or greater, as well as the 2011-12 team captains and senior student-athletes/trainers.
Senior [b]Danielle Nadeua[/b] earned the Award of Appreciation for her work with Mike Donovan, home events coordinator. She assists in the overseeing of the scoreboards, field set up, sideline workers, PA announcers and more.
Also in attendance were President Emerita [b]Adrian Tinsley[/b], who presented the award for scholar-athletes that bears her name; BSU Trustee Chairman [b]Louis Ricciardi[/b], '81; and [b]Mary Lou Thornburg[/b], vice chair of the BSU Foundation. Former BSU administrators [b]Lynn Willett[/b] and [b]Dick Cost[/b] returned to join in on the tributes for Mr. Harper.
[i]Caption: Front Row: [b]Sarah Lagasse[/b], [b]Michaela Ferreira[/b], [b]Alana Watkins[/b], [b]Shelly DePina[/b], [b]Carrie Robitaille[/b], [b]Erin Quimby[/b], [b]Danielle Nadeau[/b]
Back Row: [b]Corey Ryser[/b], [b]Matt Chatham[/b], [b]Corey Batista[/b], [b]Jose Alvarez[/b], [b]Blaise Branch[/b], [b]Andrew Corley[/b], [b]Jess Sousa[/b][/i]