Athletics News

Winning The Classroom a Top Priority
June 27, 2018

CHICAGO – Winning in the classroom is seemingly ingrained in all of the DePaul student-athletes that populate Lincoln Park.

The Blue Demons finished 2017-18 with one of its strongest academic performances highlighted by a trip of Academic All-Americans and one of the highest overall collective grade-point averages (3.455) in the last 10 years.

Leading the way are CoSIDA Academic All-America Elizabeth Endy of women’s soccer and Google Cloud Academic All-Americas Morgan Greenwood of softball and Kyle Decker of men’s track and field.

Endy, who also competed on the women’s track and field team in the spring, graduated with a cumulative 4.0 GPA and a double major in Honors Accountancy and Finance. She has accepted a position with the prestigious accounting firm Deloitte & Touche, rated No. 1 in the country.

Greenwood and Decker just completed their junior seasons and will look to repeat their Academic All-America performance next season.

Endy joined men’s soccer player Austin Harrell as the winners of the Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M. Awards presented to the female and male student-athlete with the highest GPA. Harrell finished with a 4.0 mark majoring in Honors Accountancy and has been hired by the KPMG accounting firm that is rated No. 4 in the nation.

An impressive 93 percent of DePaul programs brought home a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. Women’s soccer finished on top with a 3.729 mark followed by women’s tennis (3.636), men’s tennis (3.597), women’s cross country and volleyball (3.585).

Coach Erin Chastain’s women’s soccer players really hit the books this year with 19 of 24 team members logging a 3.5 GPA or higher. Endy, Kristina Barczak, Sydney Hunt and Sonia Johnson all recorded a perfect 4.0.

“I attribute our success to Jeanne (athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto), our coaches and staff,” said Athletics Academic Advising Director Kate O’Brien. “Our coaches recruit student-athletes who will do well academically, and they are just as competitive in academics as athletics.

“Letting them choose their major provides added incentive as they work hard doing what they love and realize they can be excellent in both sports and academics.

“Our coaches plan their practice times around their athletes’ class schedules. From what I’ve noticed, that’s not how it is done everywhere.”

How it’s done in Lincoln Park has resulted in Jake Pecorin of men’s cross country and track along with women’s soccer standout Alexa Ben winning the BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Award.

It has resulted in women’s basketball All-BIG EAST forward Mart’e Grays being selected to the Athletic Directors Association national Scholar-Athlete Team.

Ben was named to the Senior CLASS All-American First Team while Ben and All-BIG EAST softball selection Megan Leyva are NCAA Women of the Year nominees thanks to outstanding academic achievements.

Max Strus and Joe Hanel from men’s basketball have been nominated for the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Honor Court which recognizes that sport’s top academic performers.

O’Brien’s top-notch team in Triple-A features assistant directors Ben Gutman and Terri Sullivan along with graduate assistant Amanda (Calvo) Horan who work patiently with their students and motivate them to reach their academic potential.

“We love what we do and have a strong commitment to excellence,” said O’Brien, a stalwart in Triple-A for 17 years. “It’s fun to work hard in here. We build a rapport from the time we first meet the student-athletes all the way to graduation, weddings and baby showers.”

Gutman added: “This all starts with terrific leadership from Kate. She is the heart and soul of this department and provides inspiration for all of us.”

O’Brien had a slightly different take.

“It starts with Jeanne expecting excellence,” O’Brien said. “She has put everything in place so there’s no way the student-athletes can’t be successful at DePaul on and off the field.”



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