INDIANAPOLIS -- Oakland men’s basketball standout Travis Bader (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) and UIC softball second baseman Jacki Fletcher (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) have been named the recipients of the Horizon League’s 2013-14 Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor.
The Horizon League’s highest individual honor, the Coleman Medal of Honor is presented annually to the League’s top male and female student-athletes who best exemplify the dignity and high purpose of the League and its membership. The individuals demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Candidates must be seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and were participants on the varsity level in a League-sponsored sport. In addition, nominees must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or its equivalent.
Bader is the first Golden Grizzly to collect the Coleman Award and the third men’s basketball player in the last four seasons to win, joining Butler’s Matt Howard (2010-11) and Loyola’s Walt Gibler (2011-12).
“It’s an honor and a blessing to receive the Coleman Medal Award,” said Bader. “I take great pride in both academics and athletics, and I am glad I can be a positive representation of both Oakland University and the Horizon League.”
The 6-foot-5 guard ended his career at Oakland as the NCAA record-holder with 504 3-pointers and 1,246 3-pointers attempted. A three-time All-League performer and two-time NABC All-District First-Team selection, Bader finished his career with 2,351 points, second-most in school history and the most in the Division I era. In the 2013-14 season, he set single-season school records in 3-pointers made (147) and free throw percentage (94.3%) as he was named First-Team All-Horizon League. He set school and Horizon League tournament records with an 18-for-18 performance at the charity stripe in Oakland’s first round win over Youngstown State.
“It is fitting that Travis Bader concludes his collegiate career by receiving the Horizon League Coleman Medal of Honor,” Interim Director of Athletics Robby Stewart said. “Travis represents the epitome of what intercollegiate athletics ought to be – high achievement in academics, athletics, and extracurricular/community service engagement. His friends and fans at Oakland University and around the Horizon League celebrate this moment, remembering the many times over the past when he has dazzled us with his athletic ability and humanity, and we wish him all the best in the NBA draft this Thursday night.”
A two-time D-IAAA Scholar-Athlete, Bader graduated with his bachelor’s degree in communications in just three years and ended his eligibility as a student-athlete one class shy of his master’s degree. He was a four-time Academic All-League honoree and was selected to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) College Academic Athletic Team.
When not in the classroom or on the court, the NCAA’s 3-point king could be found volunteering at various local elementary schools in the Rochester, Mich., area. He served as a reading tutor at many schools, as well as participating in field days, while also teaching basketball skills at Christ Child Event and other schools.
Fletcher is the fourth UIC student-athlete to earn the Coleman Medal, and marks the second-straight year a member of the softball team has won the award after teammate Coryn Schmit received the honor a year ago.
“It is such a tremendous honor for Jacki to receive this distinguished award,” softball head coach Michelle Venturella said. “It is wonderful to see someone who is so successful in all that she does but remains humble with all of her accomplishments. We are so proud of Jacki for this honor but even more proud for the person that she is.”
Maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Fletcher was a First-Team Academic All-American in 2014, just the third UIC student-athlete to earn that distinguished honor. In 2013 and 2014, she earned Capital One Academic All-District 5 First Team accolades. She was a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athlete and two-time member of the Horizon League Honor Roll and All-Academic team. The three-time recipient of the UIC Female Student-Athlete of the Year and Softball Team Highest GPA Award was also a member of the Golden Key International Honors Society and in the UIC Honors College.
On the field, Fletcher was a 2014 NFCA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team member and named to the All-Horizon League First Team. She finished her Flames career hitting for a .362 average to rank fifth-best in the conference while producing a .312 batting average and 141 hits throughout her 163 games on the field in a UIC uniform. She garnered Scholar-Athlete of the Month accolades in February of 2014 after hitting .514 (19-for-37) in 13 games with seven multi-hit games and at least one hit in 11 of the 13 contests.
“I feel extremely blessed to receive such a prestigious award from the Horizon League,” said Fletcher. “Being a member of the UIC softball team and the UIC Kinesiology department provided me with endless opportunities over the past four years and I’m very thankful for that. I am also very privileged to have parents who instilled a hardworking mentality in me. I truly could not have accomplished anything without them.”
Off the field, Fletcher served as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council where she spearheaded blood drives, Special Olympics projects, donated to Operation Care Package and bought Christmas gifts for the less fortunate. She assisted in coordinating the UIC Softball FLAMEingo Drive that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Fletcher also spends her time taking part in team projects and volunteering at the Chicago Marathon and as a tutor for fellow student-athletes in the Port Academic Center.
Each Horizon League institution has the opportunity to nominate a male and female student-athlete for the Coleman Medal of Honor. Nominees for the 2014 award included Alex Johannson (swimming) of Cleveland State; Detroit’s Adam Bedell (soccer) and Lindsey Lammers (golf); Green Bay’s Parker Wolf (swimming); Milwaukee’s Chris Jenkyns (swimming) and Emily McClellan (swimming); Travis Bader (basketball) and Bethany Watterworth (basketball) of Oakland; Jacki Fletcher (softball) and Angelos Karkalis (cross country and track and field) of UIC; Valparaiso’s Michelle Kleckner (golf) and Todd Vervynckt (soccer); Brooke McCurdy (soccer) and Dan Shafer (cross country) of Wright State; and Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry (basketball) and Samantha Hamilton (cross country and track and field).