Athletics earns Champions of Character honors for 14th-straight year

athlete runs hurdles course

For the 14th consecutive year, Brenau University has been named a Champions of Character Five-Star institution by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Golden Tigers were also one of only 62 programs in the nation to achieve gold-level status.

The 171 institutions recognized as five-star award winners for the 2022-23 academic year earned points in character training recognition and promotion, and community service and team-building activities. Points were also given based on grade-point average and having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the year.

Brenau was one of 14 Appalachian Athletic Conference programs on the list and one of eight to earn gold-level status. In addition, the AAC was named a Champions of Character Five-Star Conference. To be awarded as a five-star conference, at least 50% of the conference’s institutions must receive the NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Award.

“Our athletes and coaches continue to prioritize the NAIA Champions of Character program,” Mike Lochstampfor, vice president of athletics and head soccer coach, said. “Each year, our department is involved in character training, character promotion and other character-driven initiatives. We are all very proud to be consistently recognized on this list.”

According to the NAIA’s website, the mission of the Champions of Character program is “to provide training to instill the values that build character so students, coaches and parents know, do and value the right thing on and off the field.” The program emphasizes the NAIA’s Five Core Values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership through character-driven athletic programs. The NAIA encourages student-athletes to display the core values on the field, court or track and in the classroom.

The Golden Tigers consistently are awarded for academics, dominance in their sport, and contributions to leadership, sportsmanship and community service. Brenau Athletics had a banner year academically as 12 teams and 47 student-athletes were honored by the NAIA for achievement during the 2022-23 academic year.

Basketball, competitive cheer, cross country, golf, indoor and outdoor track and field, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball were each honored as 2022-23 NAIA Scholar Teams. To be considered, each team must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale as defined by the institution.

In addition, student-athletes are able to serve on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Representatives from each team meet on a regular basis throughout the year to discuss Champions of Character and other topics related to the student-athlete experience at Brenau.

“The Champions of Character program highlights the best of athletics,” Kris Stewart, sports information director and head basketball coach, said. “Our student-athletes consistently show hard work, selflessness, integrity and respect in competition, the classroom and the community. Receiving this honor rewards our students for their dedication to athletics and character-building, and I am very proud of all of their efforts and accomplishments.”

NAIA Champions of Character logo