April 25, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army men's basketball coach Zach Spiker and senior forward Ella Ellis were honored with the 2013 Mike Krzyzewski Teaching Character Through Sport Award in a cermony held at Arvin Gymnasium Thursday afternoon.
This marks the seventh time that the U.S. Military Academy has presented the award but just the fifth time corps squad athletes and coaches were eligible to win. The first two awards honored cadets who compete in company athletics and competitive club sports. All three categories received recognition on Thursday.
The awards recognize West Point athletes and coaches for their outstanding commitment to the development of noble character through athletic participation and leadership. The cadet recipient exemplifies the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage both on-and-off the "fields of friendly strife."
The coach recipient is an exceptional leader who exemplifies the Army Values of integrity, respect, selfless service, duty, honor, loyalty, and personal courage. This individual does much more than win games - he or she earns the respect and trust of athletes and makes a profound impact on their lives both as athletes and officers.
Dubbed the "Coach K" awards, Spiker and Ellis were recognized for not only their playing and coaching accolades but for their commitment to excellence and respect for their teammates, opponents and sport.
Thursday's honors added to a long list of accolades for both Spiker and Ellis. The duo led the Black Knights to their first winning season (16-15) since 1985 and advanced to the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. Ellis, who finished his career ranked fifth on the Army career scoring list with 1,585 points, was a two-time first-team All-Patriot League selection, a two-time All-NABC District 13 Second Team choice and a two-time member of the All-Metro New York squad, including a second-team choice in 2013. The Houston native is the only player in Army history to amass 1,500 points, 450 rebounds (466), 150 assists (161) and 40 blocked shots (45). In additon to his place on the scoring ledger, Ellis ranks among Army's all-time top 10 in three-pointers (5th, 193), free throws (4th, 434) free throw percentage (7th, .816) and blocked shots (6th). Ellis owns the Academy records for both games played and consecutive games played (120).
The 2013 Patriot League Coach of the Year, Spiker was also a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award which honors those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off of it as well and the Hugh Durham Award which is given to the nation's top mid-major coach. Spiker was one of seven coaches to receive at least one vote for the Associated Press National Coach of the Year honor. The fourth-year mentor guided the Black Knights to an Academy record eight conference wins and their first winning season in Patriot League play (8-6). The Black Knights also posted school records with five straight Patriot League wins and four consecutive Patriot League road victories. Since taking the reins of the West Point program prior to the 2009-10 season, Spiker has joined Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and George Hunter as the only coaches in Army history to win at least 50 games in their first four seasons. His "Star Game" victory over arch-rival Navy in February also put him alongside Krzyzewski as the last two Army coaches to capture at least two consecutive "Star Game" wins. Spiker has won the contest three times in his first four seasons.Mike Krzyzewski Teaching Character Through Sport Award Winners2013
Coach Zach Spiker
(men's basketball) and Ella Ellis
Capt. David Lai (crew) and Ann Lee (women's rugby)
Maj. Laura McKenna (floor hockey) and Robert Downey (team handball)
Intercollegiate: Coach Paul Peck (women's tennis) and Andrew Rodriguez (football)
Competitive Club: Robert Grieser (fencing) and Ryan Johnson (boxing)
Company Athletics: Artie Coughlin (football) and Anastasia Cale (soccer)
Intercollegiate: Coach Rich Ellerson (football) and Nathan Hedgecock (men's basketball)
Competitive Club: Lt. Col. (R) Duston Saunders (pistol) and Terrell Anthony (men's boxing)
Company Athletics: Maj.Adam Hodges (team handball) and Bend Ordiway (floor hockey)
Intercollegiate: Coach Troy Engle (track & field, cross country) and Matt Kyler (wrestling)
Competitive Club: Coach Emilio Claudio (judo) and Jack Gibson (team handball)
Company Athletics: Coach John Shireman (combative grappling) and Judson Noel (athletic grappling)
Intercollegiate: Coach Alma Kovaci (volleyball) and Zach McKelvie (hockey)
Competitive Club: Coach Ray Barone (boxing) and Courtney Miller (crew)
Company Athletics: Maj. Brad Fenske (cycling ) and Charles Harris (football)
John Harmeling, team handball; Coach John McVan (company athletics basketball)
Cory Kastl (boxing) and Joe Imbriaco (triathlon); Coach Marie Johnson (women's lacrosse)