SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Seton Hall University and Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick, Associate Athletics Director for Compliance, will receive the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award at the NACDA Convention presented by Fox Sports in Orlando, Fla. on Friday, June 17. Keenan-Kirkpatrick was an assistant coach for the United States track and field team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), U.S. National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs) and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) have joined together to create the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award, which recognizes the colleges and universities whose student-athletes and coaches have won Olympic medals.
"For many Olympic sports, collegiate athletics programs are an integral part of the athlete developmental pipeline for Team USA," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "These awards acknowledge the critical role universities play in our continued Olympic success and the necessity of supporting Olympic sports at the collegiate level."
A total of 43 institutions contributed to the USA's medal success at the last two Olympic Games, Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010. Colleges and universities will be recognized based on two criteria: having a current student-athlete who was part of a medal-winning performance or a coach who was a credentialed member of the U.S. Olympic Team delegation and his/her athlete or team won a medal. Ten schools met both criteria, while 16 institutions had a student-athlete and 22 institutions had a coach.
"The Olympic movement is important to intercollegiate athletics and having a student-athlete or coach compete in the Games is an honor for both the individual and institution," noted NACDA President Dave Roach, director of athletics at Colgate University. "The NACDA Convention allows a platform for our association and the USOC to recognize and honor those institutions for supporting our Olympic team."
"This award is an important step to expand the recognition and appreciation from the U.S. Olympic movement back to the colleges and universities that help our country win medals," said Rich Bender, chairman of the NGB Council. "The dream of becoming a collegiate athlete is as real as that of aspiring to an Olympic medal. Collegiate sports are vital to the U.S. Olympic movement and represent the pinnacle of achievement for so many athletes beyond their Olympic success."
The U.S. Olympic Achievement Award will be presented every two years following the Olympic Games. Two versions of the award will be given: an actual medal that will be presented to each institution's athletics director, and a presentation piece that may be showcased in the athletics department.