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2012 National Sportsmanship Awards Honoree: College of the Ozarks Women's Basketball Team

November 9, 2012
By Solomon Alexander of Sportsmanship

Only acts of great selflessness and kindness can overcome incidents of great devastation.  In May of 2011, an EF5 tornado containing sustained winds in excess of 200 miles per hour struck Joplin, Mo.  Many lives were lost and families displaced as homes, businesses, schools and even the primary hospital in town were destroyed.  It was the deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. since 1947.  Yet the human heart and spirit proved stronger than any storm.  College of the Ozarks is located approximately 100 miles from Joplin in Point Lookout, Mo.  Its women’s basketball team lived up to the town’s name.  The Lady Bobcats answered the bell and organized an alumni benefit game called Rebound and Rebuild to benefit the Joplin High School girls’ basketball team.  Twenty-three current and former College of the Ozarks players came together for the game and more than 80 items were sold in a silent auction.  The event raised $10,000 that went toward the purchase of new uniforms and equipment for Joplin’s Lady Eagles.  Joplin head coach Vicki Spivy expressed a deep appreciation for the Lady Bobcats’ efforts.  “Their heart is so big and passionate.  We will be forever thankful to Coach (George) Wilson, his staff and his girls for what they did for us.  Not just material things were given, but hope was restored.  My girls realized that there are great people in this world and it starts with the team from College of the Ozarks.”

 The College of the Ozarks women’s basketball team is the recipient of the “All That’s Right in Sport” Award presented annually by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), a longtime supporter of the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance / National Sportsmanship Foundation.

Produced annually in St. Louis by the St. Louis Sports Commission, the National Sportsmanship Awards honors the best sportsmanship stories, moments and people of the past year.  The event showcases extraordinary examples of class and character by athletes, coaches and sports personalities from across the country.  Representing all levels of sports – pro, college, high school and youth – award recipients are recognized for their integrity, selflessness, kindness, and perseverance.  Those in attendance are treated to an incredibly emotional, uplifting and entertaining program. The 2012 will be held on Saturday, November 17 at Edward Jones Headquarters in St. Louis beginning at 8 p.m. Call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org for ticket information.

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