Three Sacred Heart University teams earned NEC Team GPA Awards, announced by the conference office on Wednesday. The Pioneers earned the top GPA in the conference in men's basketball, football and men's lacrosse. The Team GPA award is presented annually to the conference team, in each of the league's 22 sports, that posts the top GPA for that academic year.
"I extend my congratulations to the student-athletes of our basketball, football and lacrosse programs," said Executive Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine. "Their success in the classroom is the ultimate achievement of a student-athlete and is a testament to their hard work, and the support and dedication of our faculty, our Academic Service staff, and our coaches."
Football posted a 3.060 team GPA and had 46 student-athletes named to the 2017 NEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. Leading the charge was Andrew O'Neill, who was named a CoSida Academic All-Region First Team honoree for the second season in a row. The football team has surpassed 3.0 as a team in four consecutive semesters.
"I am very proud of my student-athletes to achieve such a great award," said head football coach Mark Nofri. "The student-athletes work extremely hard on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom. This award is a tribute to the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff."
The Pioneers men's basketball team had five representatives on the Winter Academic Honor Roll. The team combined for a 2.920 GPA during the 2017-18 academic year. Under head coach Anthony Latina, the men's basketball team GPA has risen nearly half-a-point as a team in the past four years.
"We are very proud of what our team was able to accomplish in the classroom this past year," said head coach Anthony Latina. "Our student-athletes appreciate and value the education provided to them and their academic performance is a testament to their work ethic and commitment."
Men's Lacrosse boasted a 3.30 GPA during the 2017-18 academic year, with 27 student-athletes earning Spring Academic Honor Roll recognition. In addition, captain Joseph Choiniere was named a 2017-18 NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, with a 3.98 cumulative GPA – the best of graduating seniors within the NEC.
"We have three pillars that we place above all else within SHU Lacrosse, one of which is academics," said head coach Jonathan Basti. "Earning the top GPA is a sign of our team culture and is a testament to the hard work and effort that our student-athletes have put into making our program the best that it can be. I could not be prouder of who we are and what we have become."