June 11, 2010

Trio Selected 2009-10 "Bulldogs Of The Year"

Big Rapids, Mich. - For the fourth time in Ferris State University Athletics history, including the third time in the last four seasons, three student-athletes have been named the recipients of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award.

Men's basketball junior Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) along with junior Tina Muir (St. Albans, U.K.) of the women's track/cross country program and senior Eric Lilleboe (Okemos/Lansing Catholic Central) of the men's golf team were honored as FSU's 2009-10 recipients.

The award winners were selected by a FSU Athletics Department committee.  All three are first-time recipients of the prestigious award.

The Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence, is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State male and female student-athlete. Award criteria consists of strong athletic achievements (must be a letterwinner and achieve outstanding athletic accomplishment), strong individual character and academic achievement.

The award was renamed in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director Dean Davenport, who served in the position from 1979-93. During his tenure at Ferris, Davenport was instrumental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women's intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris' NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. He also led the athletics department to 14 consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President's Cup Championships. Davenport founded the "Bulldog of the Year", "Pete Peterson Pride" and "Jimmy Swears Courage" Awards at Ferris State.

Keenan was tabbed as the men's basketball squad's Most Valuable Player Award recipient for the third consecutive season in 2009-10.  He became the school's first-ever men's basketball All-America pick at the Division II level and the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America accolades at any level this past season.  The 2009-10 State Farm® Coaches' All-America First Team selection was also honored this year as the winner of the prestigious Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year Award for the 2009-10 season, becoming the first Bulldog men's basketball player in 20 years to attain the recognition.

A consensus preaseason All-America honoree and two-time first team All-GLIAC recipient, Keenan averaged a league-leading 21.1 points per game in 22 conference regular-season contests this season and held a 20.1 points per game average for all games this campaign.  Additionally, his 465 points in league games finished only six shy of matching the league's single-season scoring record of 471 points set by Saginaw Valley State's Michael Williams in the 1993-94 season.

The 6-6 Keenan also broke two GLIAC single-season records with his 176 made free throws and 253 total attempts in league regular-season play this season while becoming the school's all-time leader in career made free throws (562) along with topping his own single-season record with 215 makes in all games at the charity stripe.  He shattered the previous league records of 132 free throws made and 196 attempts.

Lilleboe, a 2009-10 Division II Men's Golf PING All-America First-Team honoree, paced the 24th-tying ranked Bulldogs with a career single-season best 73.00 stroke average (2,409 total strokes) this season in 33 rounds.  The two-time (2008-09 and 2009-10) PING All-Midwest Region pick was also honored as the GLIAC Men's Golf "Athlete of the Year" for the 2009-10 season.  This campaign, Lilleboe compiled 11 top 20-place finishes with seven being among the top five placings.  He was also recognized as the GLIAC Men's Golf Athlete of the Week four times (Sept. 15, 22, 29 and Oct. 7) in the 2009-10 season.  A three-time (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10) All-GLIAC First-Team performer, Lilleboe attained the GLIAC Men's Golf "Athlete of the Year" in the 2007-08 season.   

Lilleboe claimed team Most Valuable Player Award laurels this season after sharing the honor with Kurt Valley in 2008-09 and being the sole recipient in the 2007-08 campaign.  He concluded his four-year (2006-10) career at Ferris State averaging 73.67 strokes a round (7,588 total strokes) in 103 rounds.  Lilleboe accumulated 29 top 10-place performances for his career, highlighted by 18 among the top-five finishers.

Finally, Muir capped off a stellar cross country season last fall by being named to the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-America Team following her performance in the 2009 NCAA-II National Championships (Nov. 21) in Evansville, Ind., where she claimed All-America accolades for the second consecutive campaign with a second-straight 12th-place performance in helping the Bulldogs run to a 11th-place team finish while tying for the second-highest finish in school history. Muir led the Bulldogs at the national championships by completing the 6K course in a time of 21:11.0 among 184 runners in the field. 

Muir, who was this year's NCAA-II Midwest Regional Cross Country Athlete of the Year by virtue of her regional individual championship performance, won all five of her races this season prior to the national championships and was also selected as the GLIAC Runner of the Year after winning the conference title.  Twice last fall, she also attained the GLIAC Runner of the Week honor.

A two-time cross country All-American, Muir also earned the prestigious GLIAC Commissioner's Award for the fall semester and was a league all-academic team selection in both cross country along with track and field.  She made her second-straight appearance at the national indoor track and field championships this winter where she came up just short of earning All-America kudos in the women's 5,000 meters with a 12th-place overall (17:28.90) performance.

Keenan's selection marks the sixth time a Bulldog men's basketball player has been honored as a winner of the "Bulldog of the Year" Award while Muir is only the sixth women's track and field/cross country participant to claim the honor. Meanwhile, Lilleboe is the first-ever Ferris men's golf student-athlete to earn the recognition.

This year also represents the first time in school history two male individuals have shared the "Bulldog of the Year" honor.  Prior to this season, the only previous times three student-athletes were honored for this award were in the 1982-83, 1986-87, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, with two female student-athletes being recognized all four times. Bruce Faccio (football), Monta Ware (women's basketball) and Linda Spicer (women's volleyball) were 1982-83 award winners while Brad Morris (wrestling), Patty Theis (women's volleyball) and Karen Kramer (women's basketball) were the award recipients for the 1986-87 season. In 2006-07, Rachel Folcik (women's basketall) was joined by Mike Klobucher (football) and Kristie Smilanich (women's soccer) as award honorees. The 2007-08 recipients included Folcik, Jake Visser (football) and Becky Hoffman (women's golf).

The other male student-athlete nominees for the 2009-10 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award were Jack Swan (Milwaukee, Wis./Arrowhead) in tennis and Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) in ice hockey.  The other female student-athlete nominee was tennis' Amy Ingle (Battle Creek/Hastings).  

Bulldog of the Year Recipients:

2009-10 - Justin Keenan (Men's Basketball), Eric Lilleboe (Men's Golf), and Tina Muir (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2008-09 – Jake Visser (Football), Mikinzie Stuart (Women's Track & Field/Cross Country)
2007-08 – Jake Visser (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Becky Hoffman (Women's Golf)
2006-07 – Mike Klobucher (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Kristie Smilanich (Women's Soccer)
2005-06 – Dennis Springs (Men's Basketball), Jenny Irwin (Women's Cross Country and Women's Track & Field)
2004-05 – Carlton Epps (Men's Basketball), Karla Fairbanks (Women's Volleyball)
2003-04 – Derek Fudge (Football), Lucy DeMartin (Women's Basketball)
2002-03 – Chris Kunitz (Men's Ice Hockey), Kathryn Bobbie (Women's Golf)
1995-96 – Bill Love (Football), Theresa Luciow (Softball)
1994-95 – Bill Love (Football), Shelli Gaul (Women’s Track & Field)
1993-94 – Ed Philion (Football), Kathy O’Connor (Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Basketball)
1992-93 – Monty Brown (Football), Jodi Raab (Women’s Basketball)
1991-92 – Dan Hutcheson (Wrestling), Monica Ferguson (Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field)
1990-91 – John DePourcq (Men’s Ice Hockey), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1989-90 – Paul Cochran (Men’s Track & Field/Football), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1988-89 – Jarvis Walker (Men’s Basketball), Penny Bailey (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
1987-88 – Dave DenBraber (Football), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1986-87 – Brad Morris (Wrestling), Patty Theis (Women's Volleyball) and Karen Kramer (Women’s Basketball)
1985-86 – Scott Kelly (Baseball), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1984-85 – Paul Jungck (Wrestling), Sharon Sanders (Women’s Volleyball)
1983-84 – Terry Schumacher (Wrestling), Leigh Feenstra (Women’s Volleyball)
1982-83 – Bruce Faccio (Football), Monta Ware (Women’s Basketball) and Linda Spicer (Women's Volleyball)
1981-82 – Tim Smelser (Wrestling), Vicki Williams (Women’s Basketball)
1980-81 – Rick Baillergeon (Men's Basketball), Terri Fraser (Women’s Volleyball & Women's Basketball)
1979-80 – David Sall (Football), Roxanne Abramouski (Softball)
1978-79 – Tim Herman (Men's Basketball), Sharon Lipinski (Women’s Basketball)

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