The GC Student Athletic Advisory Committee presented its inaugural CATSPY awards ceremony at the Centennial Center on April 19.
The CATSPYS, modeled after ESPN’s annual ESPY awards ceremony, combined two traditions in GC Athletics: the annual senior banquet and the annual presentation of athletic memorial awards.
“My favorite part about it is that the genesis and the execution, everything came from the student athletes,” said GC Sports Information Director Al Weston. “It was for them and by them, and that was the coolest part.’
The committee designed the ceremony from start to finish, from naming the hosts to picking the menu.
“They did it all,” said committee adviser and head volleyball coach Gretchen Krumdieck. “I helped them reign in their ideas a little bit and organize it, but they did a lot of it on their own.”
Softball player Shawnda Martin, a senior special education major, and Riley Williams, a junior mass communication major who works in GC Sports Information, hosted the evening. They introduced the seniors and coaches who spoke onstage and cracked jokes about the various teams and coaches.
“It was kinda hard, cause some teams are stick-in-the-muds, and they just don’t wanna have fun,” Martin said with a laugh. “But I could see my teammates in the front row, and I’d look at them like, ‘Am I doing good?’ And they’d be like, ‘Yeah!’”
Martin said her favorite part of the show was a video honoring all the coaches. And as each team or sport was honored throughout the night, the hosts played montage videos of their best moments throughout the year.
“All the programs have had a really good year this year, and so everybody was in a good mood, and it was really fun to celebrate all the accomplishments because there were a lot of things to talk about that night,” Krumdieck said. “It just brought everybody together to celebrate all of us and what we can do.”
The hosts introduced each coach who came up to the stage to present the winning athletes with their awards, including memorial awards such as the Kurtz award and the Bill Childers award.
These memorial awards are given to the student athlete who most exemplifies the behavior of the person the award is honoring.
The evening’s first award, the Peeler Award, is named in memory of Michael Peeler, GC’s former athletic director and head golf coach, who was instrumental in obtaining the funding to build the Centennial Center but did not live to see its completion.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Thomas Hodges, the golf player and senior marketing major who won the Peeler Award. “It’s crazy the names that have gotten it, and the amount of hard work that everyone’s put in to build this place and build the program, to build the golf program, and it’s just a good feeling.”
The ceremony also included a number of new awards created by committee members specifically for the CATSPYS, such as male and female player of the year, male and female freshman of the year, male and female transfer of the year and team performance of the year.
Each team nominated a candidate from their team for each new award, and the coaches voted on the nominees.
“There wasn’t any set criteria,” Krumdieck said. “It was just, for example, ‘who on your team, that is a freshman, do you think made the biggest impact on and off the court?’”
Krumdieck said one of the most special aspects of the evening was seeing the entire GC Athletics family in one location, which doesn’t happen often.
“We’re not all together that much like that,” she said. “We are a tight-knit group, but it just brought us together a little bit more.”
The CATSPY awards will continue as an annual tradition at GC.
“It was such a fun night to celebrate GC Athletics,” Krumdieck said. “I just can’t get over how much fun it was.”