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Oct. 12, 1998
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The NCAA IA Athletic Directors’ Association honored the Florida State Athletic Department and six other schools for their accomplishments and commitment to preparing student-athletes for life. Joining FSU in receiving the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program of Excellence Award were Penn State, Syracuse, Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma, and Washington which were all cited as the nation’s most innovative universities committed to the well being of student-athletes.
The award honors universities that have dedicated staff, financial resources and creative energies to improve the total college experience for the student-athlete. The CHAMPS/Life Skills program was created in 1992 to teach students such skills as financial management, career planning, study techniques and community service, preparing them for life after the final whistle is blown.
“Student-athletes attend college to excel in life, not just sports,” said Gene Hooks, Director of the IA Directors CHAMPS/Life Skills Program. “Athletic programs today must focus on the total person, not just the athlete. The CHAMPS/Life Skills Program provides the tools and opportunities needed to develop well-rounded student-athletes who are prepared for a life during and after their college careers. It is our goal to remove the old stigma of “using and discarding” athletes. A good CHAMPS/Life Skills program gives every student-athlete an opportunity to excel in life.”
Florida State Director of Athletics Dave Hart, who created FSU’s life skills program three years ago with the appointment of Pam Overton as Director of Student Development/Life Skills, was pleased with the recognition. “We consider the goals of the life skills program to be among the most important within our athletic department. We are determined to make sure that our student-athletes have all the tools and assistance possible to be successful in all aspects of their college experience. We are proud to be honored as one of the nation’s top programs in this respect, but we are even prouder of the good work that Pam and her staff have been able to accomplish within our student-athlete population.”
All CHAMPS/Life Skills initiatives build their programs around five commitments: Academic Excellence, Athletic Excellence, Personal Development, Community Service and Career Development. Each university is then free to develop activities and programming that expresses the unique character of their athletes and community. Many are incorporating extensive leadership training units into their program.