INDIANAPOLIS -- Butler men’s basketball standout Matt Howard (Connersville, Ind./Connersville) and women’s basketball star Kayla Tetschlag (Sheboygan, Wis./North) of Green Bay have been named the recipients of the Horizon League’s 2010-11 Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor. Howard was the unanimous choice on the men’s ballot, while Tetschlag appeared on every women’s ballot cast.
The Horizon League’s highest individual honor, the Coleman Award 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.
“There are no two better models of all the Horizon League seeks to represent in terms of ideals and values than Kayla and Matt,” said Commissioner Jon LeCrone. “They are not just outstanding student-athletes, but extraordinary young people who are destined to have great success wherever life leads them.”
Howard becomes the 12th Bulldog all-time to collect the Coleman Award and the seventh on the men’s side. Howard joins Jody Littrell (1990), Chris Miskel (1996), Jon Neuhouser (1998), Brandon Miller (2003) and A.J. Graves (2008) as Butler men’s basketball players to capture the honor.
The forward led Butler to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament national championship game, collecting 117 wins in his four years with the Bulldogs. Leading the Bulldogs to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his four years, Howard earned all-tournament team honors at the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional and the 2011 NCAA Final Four. Howard pushed Butler to three Horizon League Tournament titles, collecting Most Valuable Player accolades following the 2010 and 2011 tournaments. Howard became the first player in League history to earn all-tournament recognition in each of his four seasons. The 2009 Horizon League Player of the Year, Howard earned a place on all-league teams in all four years and was voted First Team All-League his final three years.
Holding a 3.764 GPA and graduating with a degree in Finance, Howard earned Capital One/CoCIDA Academic All-America honors in each of the three years he was eligible; in his senior year, Howard was named the Academic All-American of the Year. In each of Butler’s Final Four appearances, Howard was recognized as the Elite 88 winner, given to the competing athlete with the highest grade-point average at each of the NCAA’s 88 championships.
“I’m really excited for Matt,” Butler head coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ve said from the day he arrived that he embodied what you think of when you think of an elite student-athlete. It’s great that he’s been recognized by the Horizon League and by others, both locally and nationally, for his commitment to excellence both on and off the court.”
Along with being a three-time Horizon League Academic All-League pick and three-time Scholar-Athlete of the Month, Howard has routinely participated in Butler’s Bookin’ with the Bulldogs reading program at local Indianapolis elementary schools. The Connersville, Ind.-native spends the holiday season serving food at the North United Methodist Soup Kitchen and is a visitor to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.
Tetschlag is the fourth Green Bay student-athlete to earn the Coleman Medal, joining Chari Nordgaard (1999) and Kristy Loiselle (2003) as Phoenix women’s basketball players to capture the honor. In her senior season, Tetschlag led Green Bay to its first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, the first for any Horizon League women’s basketball program.
The 2011 Horizon League Co-Player of the Year, Tetschlag was a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidate, along with Howard. Earning First Team All-Horizon League honors two times in her career, Tetschlag also collected 2010 and 2011 all-tournament team accolades. The Sheboygan, Wis.-native saved some of her best work for last, posting three consecutive double-double efforts in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, leading the fifth-seeded Phoenix to wins in the first and second rounds before Green Bay went toe-to-toe with top-seeded Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen. Tetschlag recorded 27 points in her final collegiate contest.
Off the court, Tetschlag earned a 3.84 GPA, majoring in Business Administration. The senior was recognized by her graduating class, who chose her to speak at Green Bay’s commencement this spring. A four-time member of the Dean’s List, Tetschlag was named the 2011 NACDA Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A Capital One/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District pick, Tetschlag earned Third Team Academic All-America honors.
“We’re extremely happy and proud for Kayla,” Green Bay head coach Matt Bollant said. “She embodies everything you want in a student-athlete - she’s hard-working, dedicated and talented, while remaining extremely humble. She’s a first-class individual who makes everyone around her better.”
A member of the Horizon League Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Tetschlag volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay in her spare time. Her actions on and off the court made her the recipient of the Chancellor’s Leadership Medallion and University Leadership Award at Green Bay.
Each Horizon League institution has the opportunity to nominate a male and female student-athlete for the Coleman Medal of Honor. Nominees for the 2011 award included Jessica Wolfe (volleyball) of Butler; Rob Fox (tennis) and Amy Benz (volleyball) of Cleveland State; Detroit’s Patrick Leiderbach (cross country/track & field) and Alainna Stefan (golf); Will Martin (soccer) and Nicole Noelliste (track & field) of Loyola; Milwaukee’s Chad Pierce (baseball) and Erin Havener (track & field); Steve McGuiggan (baseball) and Ilinca Cristescu (tennis) of UIC; Valparaiso’s Jarrett Mickens (track & field) and Katie Layman (volleyball); Dan Marsh (baseball) and Louie Haney (softball) of Wright State; and Youngstown State’s Vytas Sulskis (basketball) and Alisha Anthony (track & field).