ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Florida A&M University Women’s Athletic program has returned to the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2016-17, as they captured the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s All-Sports Award, the conference announced on Wednesday.
The All-Sports Awards are indicators of the overall strengths of the conference’s men’s and women’s athletic programs. Each institution was presented with a $20,000 check during a reception at the Vinoy Hotel on Wednesday evening.
“I would like extend congratulations to Florida A&M University and Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson, Director of Athletics Milton Overton and all of the outstanding individuals, including staff, coaches and student-athletes, who were involved in winning the Mary McLeod Bethune Award,” said MEAC Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas.
Florida A&M University, which shared the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s All-Sports Award last academic year, won the award outright for the first time since 2001. The Lady Rattlers have won the award a total of 10 times since its inception in 1987 and have won it in consecutive years for the first time since a nine-year streak from 1993-2001.
“I commend all of our women’s teams coaches who are grooming the next era of ‘FAMU Champions.’ The young ladies have done a great job of exemplifying the three characteristics we seek in building champions. They are getting it done in a big way in the classroom, this award proves that they are getting it done on the field and they are certainly involved in the community. Those things combined build champions in life. I am extremely proud of our coaches as this indicates that they are conducting themselves with excellence. We challenged them to win this award outright, after sharing it last year and they delivered,” Overton said.
The Lady Rattlers totaled 95.5 points in the all-sports tally, highlighted by their fifth consecutive conference championship in cross country and fourth straight softball championship. FAMU also captured divisional titles in volleyball and softball while finishing second in indoor track & field.
North Carolina A&T State placed second with 90 points, followed by Bethune-Cookman (83.5), Hampton (82.5) and Norfolk State (76.5).
Points are awarded in a descending order beginning with 14 points for champions or first place regular season finishes. The second-place team receives 12 points. Tied teams split the point total.