OBU Named NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution

February 5, 2015

The vision of the NAIA Champions of Character program is to change the culture of sport. Its mission is to provide training to instill the values that build character so students, coaches and parents know, do and value the right things on and off the field. The program teaches the true spirit of competition through the five tenets of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

Students learn to understand how these values play out in both practice and competition. Coaches are taught how to intentionally define, model, shape and reinforce the values through their coaching and mentoring. Parents learn how their behavior is key to supporting their athletes.

OBU Director of Athletics Robert Davenport was gratified but not surprised by the recognition, given the high caliber and character of athletes and coaches on campus. "Being selected as a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution is very telling of the student-athletes here at OBU," he said. "Our coaches go above and beyond to instill the attributes into our student-athletes that allow OBU to be selected for this honor."

The Champions of Character initiative is an integral part of the overall athletic program at OBU. Some components include a chaplaincy program for each athletic team, service projects, assembly programs, small group support, outreach programs and opportunities to nominate and recognize student athletes and coaches of character.

"Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of serving as the Champions of Character Liaison for OBU," said Dale Griffin, dean of spiritual life. "I've had the privilege of seeing firsthand how impressive our coaches and students are in character on and off the field."

OBU has won the top Champions of Character award eleven times in recent years. The Champions of Character Institution Award was established in 2001-2002, and it changed to the Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Award beginning with the 2009-10 academic year. Institutions are evaluated on character training, academic focus, character recognition, character promotion and conduct during competition.

The OBU Lady Bison volleyball team won the 2013-2014 Volleyball Buffalo Funds Champions of Character Team Award. Two OBU coaches, Baseball Coach Bobby Cox and Track Coach Ford Mastin, have received the Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of Character Award. Mastin also won the 2014 NAIA Coach of Character Award. To date, 49 OBU coaches have completed the program's online coaches training course, "Character Driven Coaching."

"Each year our, Champions of Character Five-Star Institutions set the standard for Champions of Character programming," said Kathy Busch, Champions of Character Coordinator for the NAIA. "These institutions make a commitment to character driven athletics, as measured by the Champions of Character Scorecard. They strive to encourage student-athletes, coaches and administrators to demonstrate character both on and off the field. It is our privilege to honor them for their hard work and commitment."