By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information and OVC Media Relations
COOKEVILLE, Tennessee – For the second year in a row, the eighth time in the program’s history, and the fourth time in the past five years of its existence, the Tennessee Tech women’s golf team received the Ohio Valley Conference’s Team Sportsmanship Award for women’s golf, as that the league announced on Tuesday morning.
The award was not presented during the 2019-20 campaign due to the cancellation of the season at its early stages with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Golden Eagles took home the honor in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2021/22, as well as 2014/15, 2009/10, 2007/08 and 2006/07. No other past or current OVC women’s golf program has won more Sportsmanship Awards than Tennessee Tech. This is the 18th year the team sport awards have been presented, with tech accounting for more than 44 percent of women’s golf awards.
“Not only have the women made progress in the conference championships this year, but doing so with such a great competitive spirit really helps,” said Tech head coach Amanda Smith. “There are such amazing young women playing for these teams in the OVC and I know how important it is in golf to play with integrity. I am very happy for our young ladies who uphold this and are having fun with it.”
Elected by the student-athletes and coaches of their respective sports, the team awards are presented to conference cadres deemed best in having demonstrated the standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct established by the OVC and NCAA. Areas to be assessed include the behavior of student athletes, coaches, staff and administrators, and fans.
“Without sportsmanship, there really aren’t any meaningful victories,” said Beth DeBauche, OVC commissioner. “The recipients of the OVC Team Sportsmanship Awards should accept this award with great pride, as their competitors have made it clear that their teams represent the very best in intercollegiate athletics. In receiving this prestigious award, other contestants say these student-athletes compete with class. respect their opponents and value fair play. That’s quite a compliment because these are all qualities that will lead to true victories throughout life.”
Team awards were introduced in August 2005 and are the latest addition to an awards program that recognizes and celebrates athletic achievement within the conference. In 1998, the league established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior status who best exemplifies the qualities of the late Morehead State student-athlete, coach and administrator. Five years later, the conference added the OVC Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the member institution chosen by its peers to best demonstrate the standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct established by the OVC and NCAA.
“Our women’s golf program continues to represent Tennessee Tech University with consistent class and professionalism both on and off the course,” said Mark Wilson, athletics technical director. “[Head] Coach [Amanda] Smith has continued to grow our program in a way we can all be proud of and it goes without saying that it is nothing short of remarkable to continue the tradition and reputation that our women’s golf team has built over the years with their sportsmanship that has built up over the years. I want to offer Amanda [assistant coach] Congratulations to Polk Brown and each of our student athletes on this great achievement and thank you for continuing to make athleticism a top priority.”
In 1995, the Ohio Valley Conference introduced a unique “Sportsmanship Statement,” a policy that promotes the principles of fair play, ethical conduct, and respect for opponents. The statement answered the NCAA Presidents Commission’s challenge to improve sportsmanship in collegiate athletics and has become a model for others across the country to follow.
Photo by Thomas Corhern