HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University Athletic Department has released its 2015-16 annual report, which details the story of another record breaking year for the Purple & White. A digital PDF of the publication is included in this email. Check out some of the highlights below:
Champions In Competition
A total of 11 of High Point University’s 16 programs finished in the top-4 of the Big South standings, highlighted by a pair of championship teams. The women’s cross country program won its second straight Big South title and third in the past five years, while the men’s basketball team won yet another Big South regular season title. The Panthers are one of just four programs in the nation to win four-straight regular season league titles, along with Kansas, Gonzaga and Stephen F. Austin.
In addition, a record five Panthers earned All-America accolades, including John Brown (men’s basketball), who claimed his second AP All-America honorable mention accolade in the past three years, and Dan Lomas (men’s lacrosse), who was named USILA All-America for the third straight season. Baseball’s Andrew Gottfried claimed Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America, while track & field’s Christian Spaulding garnered a USTFCCCA All-America honorable mention nod. Christine Rickert earned second team USTFCCCA All-America accolades after finishing 12th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene.
A total of six HPU student-athletes were named Big South Player of the Year while a record 84 Panthers earned all-conference honors.
Joining the professional ranks, eight student-athletes are going on to athletic careers beyond High Point, including men’s lacrosse student-athletes Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle, who were drafted into Major League Lacrosse. Brown has joined the Charlotte Hornets NBA Summer League Team, while fellow cager Lorenzo Cugini has signed a contract to play professionally in Europe. Senior soccer standout Austin Yearwood is playing for the Charlotte Independence (USL), while baseball stars Tyler Britton, Chris Clare and Andre Scrubb were selected in the Major League Baseball draft.
Champions In The Classroom
HPU teams matched that impressive performance in the classroom, where the department’s student-athletes combined to post school records for cumulative GPA (3.24) and single-semester combined GPA (3.30). A record 306 individuals were named Millis Scholar-Athletes while a school-best 30 posted perfect 4.0 GPAs in a semester. In addition, 74 percent of HPU student-athletes were named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll, which ranked No. 1 amongst all conference institutions.
Individually, track & field student-athletes Paul O’Donoghue and Christine Rickert, and baseball standout Tyler Britton earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, marking the first time in school history HPU garnered three Academic All-America honors in the same academic year. In addition, that trio joined volleyball’s Gabi Mirand and indoor track’s Jamie Schnuck on the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year ledger. HPU also had six CoSIDA Academic All-District selections (Britton, soccer’s Amy Burch, Cook, Mirand, O’Donoghue, Rickert), marking the first time HPU had six Scholar-Athletes and six All-District picks in a given year.
Panther Club Giving
The High Point University Panther Club secured a record $640,000 in donations, as well as over $3 million announced in pledged gifts. Total Panther Club membership also increased by more than 20 percent in 2015-16.
The continued development of the Student-Athlete Excellence Fund in 2015-16 allowed the Panther Club to provide the necessary resources and opportunities for HPU student-athletes and teams to succeed. The Club helped unveil a number of significant facility upgrades, including a new state-of-the-art turf surface in Vert Stadium, a Fuel Zone nutrition hub in the Steele Center, and new theming and resources in the Steele Center weight room.
For the second-straight year, 100 percent of HPU’s athletics staff contributed to the Panther Club, while an impressive 72 percent of current student-athletes gave to the athletic department.
From a corporate sponsorship perspective, sales figures continue to hit new heights, as HPU generated a record revenue total that is an increase of 43 percent from 2014 earnings.
High Point University Athletics enjoyed unprecedented levels of national exposure in 2015-16. HPU teams appeared on national television 18 times in 2015-16 and the department streamed 112 home athletic contests on the Big South Network during the season. That broadcast total represented a 22 percent increase from the previous record of 92 set in 2014-15.
High Point University student-athletes represented the department on a series of magazine covers over the past year. Track & field athlete Chernet Sisay appeared on the fall cover of NCAA Champion magazine, while men’s lacrosse player Conner McKemey graced the cover of Lacrosse Magazine this spring. Former track & field standout Jesse Cherry (’10) appeared on the cover of Runner’s World, while track & field’s James House and women’s lacrosse’s Kristina Renner were on the cover of Athletic Administration Magazine in the fall.
HPU men’s basketball All-American John Brown continued to command the national spotlight in 2015-16, as the Jacksonville, Fla., native was profiled in features on FoxSports.com and NCAA.com.
In addition, more people than ever before followed HPU Athletics online in 2015-16. A record 868,038 individuals visited HighPointPanthers.com over the past year and athletics video views toped 480,000 in 2015-16, a whopping increase of 167 percent from the previous year. The department also continued to increase its social media following with more interactive video and graphics content.
HIGHLIGHTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
HPU announces $70 million arena & conference center
High Point University president Dr. Nido Qubein announced in April plans for a new $70 million Arena and Conference Center as part of a $160 million expansion plan. The facility will be built on the university’s main campus. The university is finalizing the site location and has hired an architecture firm for the project, set to begin during the 2018-2019 academic year.
The Arena will become the home of HPU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as a venue for major ceremonial events, speakers, concerts, entertainment, other large gatherings and recreational activities. It will seat 5,000 spectators and include suites, locker rooms, staff offices, concession stands, a merchandising area, media suite, film room, press conference room, weight room, athletic training room, hospitality area, high tech audio and video equipment, ticket office and practice gym.
HPU Athletics unveils new Varsity Club
The High Point University Athletic Department announced the establishment of the HPU Varsity Club this past September. The Varsity Club is an exclusive organization for former High Point University student-athletes.
The Varsity Club creates a single, unified group of both High Point College and High Point University student-athlete alumni. The Varsity club is free to join and is open to athletes from all sports.
The Club was formally launched at an exclusive HPU student-athlete alumni event during High Point University Alumni Weekend in October. Former student-athletes from all generations and eras of High Point University Athletics were present for the Varsity Club kick-off reception.
HPU inducts four into the Athletics Hall of Fame
In June, the athletic department inducted its second class of the High Point University Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony held inside the Millis Center. The four-member class included Marie Riley (’80, women’s basketball/volleyball/tennis), Orlando “Tubby” Smith (’73, basketball), Kitty Steele (field hockey/tennis head coach) and Roger Watson (’66, golf). The Hall of Fame weekend kicked off with the Panther Club 50th Anniversary Gala in Millis