MSUB Is Named NCAA Award Of Excellence Finalist
Montana State Billings was recognized for its Pack The House Elementary School Day, which brought 500 school kids in to watch the MSUB women play Corban on Nov. 18.
Montana State Billings was recognized for its Pack The House Elementary School Day, which brought 500 school kids in to watch the MSUB women play Corban on Nov. 18.

Monday, January 13, 2020
by Montana State Billings Athletic Communications

INDIANAPOLIS – Montana State University Billings athletics has been named a finalist for the 2020 Division II Award of Excellence in an announcement made on Friday by the NCAA.

The accolade recognizes initiatives in the past year that exemplify Division II philosophy, community engagement, and student-athlete leadership. The Yellowjackets submitted a bid for the award after hosting Pack the House Elementary Day at Alterowitz Gymnasium on November 18.

The MSUB women’s basketball team partnered with three local elementary schools and put on the event for the first time this fall. Student-athletes visited the elementary schools and more than 500 fourth and fifth-grade students attended against the game against Corban University. MSUB players greeted the young fans, many of whom made signs after the game to thank them for their support. Throughout the game, the ‘Jackets featured various activities, contests and music to encourage participation among the eager young fans.

“We are very proud to be selected as a finalist for the NCAA Award of Excellence,” said MSUB director of athletics Krista Montague. “The credit goes to head women’s basketball coach Kevin Woodin and I want sincerely thank him along with his staff and student-athletes for bringing this idea to us and following through with it so well. Our women’s basketball team made a positive impact on these kids by interacting with them in their schools, and in turn, it was neat to see all those kids in attendance at the game cheering on our student-athletes. 

Many of these kids had never been to a college basketball game nor visited a college campus before. Getting them to think about college as part of their future was a main goal of this idea, and it went really well and was a lot of fun. We are honored to be recognized by the NCAA as a finalist for this prestigious award, and it is very special to be nominated in the presence of the entire Division II association.”

Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that promote student-athletes giving back and serving as leaders within their communities or on their campus. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year’s finalists, and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will select the winner, which will be announced at the Division II business session January 25 at the 2020 NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California.

Each finalist will receive $500. The winner will receive $3,000, the first runner-up will receive $1,500, and the second runner-up will receive $1,250. All prize money is intended for future community engagement events.

This year’s finalists include 22 schools and conferences, including MSU Billings, UC San Diego, Georgian Court, Virginia State, Lees-McRae, New York Tech, Oklahoma Baptist, Wayne State, Southern Indiana, Walsh, Texas A&M International, Missouri Western, West Virginia Wesleyan, American International, Minnesota Duluth, Holy Names, Lander, Mercyhurst, Eckerd, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and South Atlantic Conference.