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NAIA - Champions of Character Foundation

NAIA Honors Champions of Character® at Annual Awards Luncheon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced its annual Champions of Character award winners, who will be honored on Monday, May 6 at the annual Champions of Character® Foundation Awards in Kansas City.

“What sets the NAIA apart is our focus on character-driven athletics,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “This year’s honorees are model individuals dedicated to the five core valued of the Champions of Character program. We’re excited to celebrate their achievements.”

The 2019 award winners are:

  • Company of Character: Kissick Construction Company
  • Coach of Character: Eric Davis, Lee’s Summit North Boys Track and Field Coach
  • Team of Character: North Kansas City High School Lady Hornets Basketball Team
  • Collegiate Student-Athlete of Character: Alex Ewalt, Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.)
  • KC Metro High School Student-Athlete of Character: Jacob Dodd, Raytown South High School


In addition to the above award winners, there were 32 student-athletes who were announced as Champions of Character award winners for their respective Kansas City area high schools. The awards recognize individuals and businesses that embody the NAIA’s five core values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership. The award winners were chosen based on the way they demonstrate these values throughout their daily lives.

Also honored was the Kate Wynja, of Sioux Falls Christian in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who earned the Special Character Recognition.

The Champions of Character Foundation Awards Luncheon celebrates the character values of those who make a difference in the culture of sport and in our community. Support from the event is designed to create a better culture of sport through the advancement of character education programs that intentionally teach the five core values to young people.

Former WNBA All-Star and future Hall of Fame selection Tamika Catchings was also named as the keynote speaker for the event. Indiana’s “do-everything” forward completed 16 seasons in the WNBA and was named as the first recipient of the ESPN Humanitarian Award in 2015. Catchings also had a 14-year run of community service with her “Catch The Stars” foundation.

Since her retirement, she has served as the director of player programs and franchise development with Pacers Sports and Entertainment, a post that has kept her engaged working with all three Pacers’ franchises: the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Ft. Wayne Mad Ants.

Catchings’ will always be known as one of the greatest women to ever play the game. She retired as the No. 2 scorer (7,380 points) and rebounder (3,316) of all-time and is the career leader in free throws (2,004) and steals (1,074). She retired as the WNBA postseason leader in points (1,141), rebounds (598), free throws (356), steals (152), double-doubles (27) and minutes played (2,310). Further, she became the first person (man or woman) in recorded basketball history to record a quintuple-double (Duncanville High School in 1997.)

For more information on the Champions of Character Foundation luncheon, go to

About National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 65,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $600 million in scholarships and compete in 26 national championships. | @NAIA