Liberty hosts sixth annual student-athlete awards
The Liberty University Athletics Department celebrated another year of successful athletics Monday, April 24 with its sixth annual Flamespy Awards, a formal gathering of student athletes, coaches and special guests.
According to Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Affairs Kristie Beitz, the Flamespy Awards is an event similar to ESPN’s ESPY Awards where athletes vote, nominate and recognize the individual achievements of players.
“(The event) gave us an opportunity to highlight academic, athletic and community achievements for student athletes,” Beitz said.
“I just love celebrating our student athletes.”
A total of 24 awards were given out.
Among them were the Best Clutch Performance Award, the male and female Rookie of the Year Awards and the Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership Awards.
According to Beitz, the sports information department looks at statistics and other information generated throughout the season, then distributes a Google voting document to every student athlete and coach.
After the votes are tallied, the awards are presented and individuals are recognized.
“I’m so excited that we’re able to bring together academic achievement, athletic achievement and community outreach into one night and be able to celebrate that,” Beitz said.
Liberty University senior baseball player Will Shepherd, who won the Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership Award, said the Flamespy Awards was a good opportunity for student athletes to take a break from the hectic demands of
“This was my fourth Flamespy Awards,” Shepherd said.
“It was actually my first time winning an award.”
According to libertyflames.com, the Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership Award is presented to one male and one female who have exemplified Dr. Falwell’s vision through leadership, commitment to academics, athletic talent and service
“I actually personally never met Jerry Falwell Sr.,” Shepherd said.
“But I know a lot of people have talked to me about him, and I’ve heard many stories about him.”
Shepherd said one of the reasons he decided to bring his baseball talents to Liberty was because of the vision Dr. Falwell had for the school.
“I couldn’t be more humbled by even being nominated for this award, much less win it,” Shepherd said.
“Anyone on our team could have been nominated for that award. They are just as deserving as I am, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Among other award winners, the women’s soccer team won the Most Outstanding Team Award and men’s junior basketball player A.C. Reid won the Best Clutch Performance Award for his game winning three-pointer against
Radford Feb. 4.
Beitz said that when someone wins a Flamespy award, it reminds the recipient of the perseverance essential to complete a successful season.
“Student athletes are excited to get nominated,” Beitz said.
“But then when they win, it’s a combination of hard work, the effort and energy both in and out of the classroom.”
Liberty women’s freshman basketball player Keyen Green, who won the Female Rookie Athlete of the Year Award, said the ceremony was exciting because it gave her the opportunity to socialize with friends outside the gym.
“I was actually really impressed,” Green said.
“It was so much like a real awards show with hosts with ‘and the nominees are…’”
According to libertyflames.com, the Female Rookie Athlete of the Year Award is given to the female freshman or redshirt student-athlete who was dedicated, positive, hard-working and made an immediate impact on her
“It’s a blessing just like any of the other awards were,” Green said.
“I’m really appreciative for everyone who voted for it.”
According to Green, one standout aspect of the Flamespy Awards was the pageantry.
Being a formal event, male attendees wore suits and ties, and many females wore dresses.
“It’s kind of cool seeing what people are going to wear,” Shepherd said.
“I’m not typically used to wearing a suit and tie. I’m more of a jeans and boots kind of guy.”
The Flamespy Awards, according to Beitz, gets progressively better each year.
Although the rain prevented some aspects of the event from happening, the turnout was successful.
The first part of the event took place in the alumni ballroom in DeMoss Hall, then it made its way to the concert hall in the School of Music where the awards were presented.
“We took it a step further,” Beitz said.
“We asked for musicians from the School of Music to perform as our students were coming into the event and afterward as well.”
According to Beitz, the athletics department is already beginning plans for the seventh annual Flamespy Awards.
“A lot of people think the larger teams are going to win more awards, and that’s not necessarily true,” Beitz said. “(The Flamespys) is celebrating the individual and the individuals’ accomplishments regardless of the team that they’re on, because we’re all Liberty Flames.”
Smith is the assistant sports editor.