Fresno State's Night of Champions
Erica Henry will be one of the featured speakers at the Night of Champions Award Gala Monday.
Erica Henry will be one of the featured speakers at the Night of Champions Award Gala Monday.

May 3, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State Athletics Department will hold its largest awards event of the year to honor all Bulldog student-athletes. The first annual Night of Champions Gala will be held Monday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno. Admission is free.

This event will honor and recognize all student-athletes for their academic achievements, athletic accomplishments and community service involvement.

Fresno State's champions for the last year will be honored, including all team and individual WAC champions.

The keynote speaker will be former Bulldog basketball star Tyrone Bradley, a member of Fresno State's 1983 NIT Championship squad. In addition, two current Bulldogs are scheduled to speak to their peers, women's basketball player Erica Henry and football player Marcus Riley.

In conjunction with this Night of Championships Celebration, Fresno State will begin a new tradition to honor its seniors. Each senior completing their eligibility will receive a specially made high quality Fresno State license plate frame with the words "Champion for Life". Each senior that graduates will receive a special commemorative Fresno State watch.

Many of Fresno State's traditional awards will be presented during the event's festivities and a few new awards will be conferred. Among them will be the first Bulldog of the Year Award, which will be presented to the top male and female student-athlete. This award honors those truly special championship individuals whose commitment to Fresno State is all areas set the standard for the true Bulldog experience. These individuals were selected because their athletic accomplishments, academic triumphs and community service work stood above all others.

Among the other awards to be presented are:

Victory Award
This award was established several years ago by Fresno State's Faculty Athletic Representative to recognize those seniors who best exemplified the designation Scholar-Athlete. It is awarded to those who have achieved a Cum 3.5 GPA, lettered the past 2 of 3 years, and have completed eligibility. This award was renamed to recognize the true leadership and accomplishment of these distinguished students.

George Ilg Award
The George Ilg Memorial Award was initiated in 1977 by George Ilg to recognize two graduating seniors for their academic and athletic achievement and their service to the community. Professor Ilg was one of the 12 original professors who started the School of Agriculture, and was also a founder of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. He served as NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative for 16 years, and retired from Fresno State in the late `80s. Each honoree receives an engraved pen set and their names placed on a perpetual plaque.

Harold H. Haak Scholarship
The Harold Haak Scholarship was established in 1991 upon the retirement of the late Dr. Harold Haak, to recognize the contributions he made to the university and the athletic program while he was president from 1980-91. He served as the inaugural Director of the Fresno State Kenneth L. Maddy Institute of Public Affairs and as president of Fresno Pacific University. In 2003 this award was expanded to recognize two student-athletes. This scholarship recognizes two juniors, a male and a female, who have been on the Dean's list (3.5 GPA or better) for 2 consecutive semesters, have lettered, and will be eligible to compete in 2008-09.

Paul Schechter Courage Award
The Paul Schechter Courage Award is presented annually to an outstanding student-athlete who has overcome a physical challenge to become a champion. The award is named for long-time Bulldog athletics trainer Paul Schechter.

WAC Team Champions Honored
2008 Women's Tennis
2008 Women's Golf
2007 Softball (tournament)
2007 Baseball (Regular Season and Tournament)
2008 Women's Basketball (Regular season and Tournament)

Bowl Champions
2007 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl (Football)

Individual WAC Champions Honored
2007 Grant Doverspike, Men's Golf
2007 Dave Endler, Men's Track & Field (Discus)
2007 Andrew Pancotti, Men's Track & Field (Pole Vault)
2007 Mallory Webb, Women's Track & Field (Javelin)
2008 Laura Luethke, Women's Golf

Bulldog Spirit Award Presented by SAAC
For the second straight year, the Student Athlete Advisory Council, better known as SAAC, will present a special award. The Bulldog Spirit Award is presented to student-athletes who are genuine teammates, those who exemplify all facets of a Fresno State student-athlete. The winners were selected by their teammates for the way they showed support to their team, the athletics department and university. Each winner has to excel in classroom, be involved in community service and university functions, and compete at a high level in their respective sports.

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