Blue Demon Softball Repeats as 'Scholarship Month' Champion
June 11, 2014
CHICAGO - It was close coming down the home stretch of DePaul's "Scholarship Month Derby," but a strong finish by the softball program alumni gave coach Eugene Lenti's team a repeat title.
Softball completed the 31-day competition with 19 scholarship gifts while 2012 champion women's basketball came in second with 15.5. The track alumni came in third with 10 gifts and men's basketball was close behind at 9.5.
A total of 76 gifts were donated to DePaul Athletics programs for a final figure of $106,021 in gifts and commitments.
Lenti & Co. were awarded first prize---50 percent of the revenue from the athletic department's on-line auction site. Women's basketball receives 25 percent, track 15 percent and men's basketball 10 percent.
"It's always great to repeat," Lenti said. "Once you win as a champion, you want to do everything you can to keep the title.
"We are really thankful to all the softball alumni for all their hard work and generosity in helping fund our program. These gifts allow us to help take the burden off the university for scholarship dollars.
"We're able to travel all over the country and play the best teams in the nation. It helps us provide our student-athletes with the best equipment, and it's comforting to know we have resources we can count on when they are needed."
The Blue Demons won the BIG EAST Conference regular-season and tournament titles this spring before advancing to the NCAA Regional final and finishing the season ranked No. 24 in the final NFCA national poll. Lenti has an idea of what provided the impetus for their 44-11 season.
"Gifts like these were a tremendous help last summer in our trip to France and Holland where the players got to walk in the footsteps of St. Vincent de Paul and see all the history in person," Lenti said. "That trip was a great precursor in leading to our success this season. It was a great opportunity for team bonding and getting to know each other's families."
Alumni from all of DePaul's athletic programs stoke up their competitive juices for 31 days each May.
"Scholarship Month has turned out to be a really fun and competitive event for our alumni and former student-athletes," DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said with a smile. "There is a lot of competition between our teams.
"I'm really grateful to so many of our athletic department alumni along with other DePaul alumni and friends of alumni for what they give to our athletic programs throughout the year. There are so many generous people who donate money to our scholarship programs.
"This gives us the flexibility to use donations immediately towards scholarship funding while a significant number of dollars goes toward endowed scholarships. Those are the gifts that keep on giving year after year."
Former student-athletes along with fellow DePaul alumni realize the significance of giving back and helping pave the way for future Blue Demons.
"We started out with 12 endowed scholarships and are now closing in on 50 which is our goal by the end of the month," Ponsetto said. "We've spent a lot of time focusing on this so we can increase and stabilize our scholarship funding.
"We are extremely grateful to the many donors who have contributed to our endowed scholarship funding for the growth of DePaul's athletic programs."