ALPINE Head coach Katie Novak of women’s basketball became the sixth recipient of the annual Sul Ross Academic Excellence in Coaching Award in an announcement made Wednesday.
The Academic Excellence in Coaching Award honors Sul Ross coaches who recognize and promote the importance of academic achievement and foster an environment leading to graduation of student-athletes.
Past recipients include rodeo coach C.J. Aragon, head softball and volleyball coach Troy Canaba, head baseball coach Bobby Mesker, former strength and conditioning coach C.J. Richardson, and head football coach John Pearce, and cross country coach Antuan Washington.
Women’s basketball finished with a 3.43 team GPA.
Three players earned a 4.0 GPA: Kensi Parker, Camryn Medina, Teresa Quintana.
Six players were Distinguished Scholar Athletes: Keona Loftis, Kaylee Martinez, Ashley Nunez, Kensi Parker, Teresa Quintana, Jocelyne Roque.
Teresa Quintana received the Outstanding Freshman in Industrial Technology Award.
Kaylee Martinez received one of the Outstanding Psychology Students of the Year Awards.
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Novak. “Academics are the reason that each student-athlete is here as they are working towards a better future. I want to thank my assistant coach Rachel Baity for sharing that vision and ensuring that this is of top importance to our student-athletes we have and also who we recruit. I want to thank our dedicated student-athletes as well. These young women strive to go above and beyond in the classroom and continue to challenge themselves to grow every day – they make my job as their coach much more rewarding!”
Novak was named American Southwest Conference West Division Coach of the Year after guiding the Lobos to a 10-14 record (7-5 ASC) and their second ever conference tournament appearance during the 2020-2021 season.
It was also a year of firsts for the Lobos after winning a conference tournament game for the first time in program history, 75-65 over Howard Payne. That led to women’s basketball hosting the remainder of the conference tournament for the first time. This season’s team was also the highest seed of any women’s team in program history.
Other team accomplishments included defeating Mary Hardin-Baylor for the first time since 2004 and several player accolades.
Vania Hampton was named ASC West Division Player of the Year, ASC West Newcomer of the Year, to the All-Conference Team, and West All-Division First Team. She was also a four-time ASC West Player of the Week.
Keona Loftis was named to the West All-Defensive Team.
Alexis Carmosino and Teresa Quintana were named to the Honorable Mention.
Novak joined Sul Ross as women’s basketball coach in 2017 after three years at Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio) as assistant coach and strength coach. She became a certified strength coach with the National Council on Strength and Fitness in August 2019 and currently serves as Senior Woman Administrator.