HIGH POINT, N.C. - Since its creation in 2009, only a handful of people have received the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award, the highest recognition of sportsmanship awarded by the organization. On Friday, October 20, it was announced that Southern Wesleyan University’s Julia Reininga is now one of those few.
The award, bestowed upon only one person each year, recognizes a coach, administrator, or staff member who has demonstrated a history of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, leadership, and promoting positive fan involvement throughout their career.
Reininga has always valued sportsmanship, and says that influencing the character of the players and the life lessons they can learn through sport are some of the main factors in coaching.
When asked how she focuses on sportsmanship in her work, she replied, “I try to live it out daily. As a team we have fundamentals, which are non-negotiable. If you are part of the team you will be held to a standard of character and sportsmanship.”
Reininga wears a number of different hats in her service of Southern Wesleyan. She has served as the Warrior’s head volleyball coach since 2012, posting an overall record of 112-57 and a conference record of 55-17 during that time. Since joining the university as a coach, she has added administrative duties to her resume as well, subsequently being promoted to the positions of Senior Woman Administrator and Associate Athletics Director on top of her coaching duties. Reininga also serves as the athletic department’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor.
“Coach Reininga lives life with a huge smile and leads her team with this same smile and positive energy,” Southern Wesleyan Athletic Director Chris Williams stated. “She finds ways to serve others first and her team follows suit. SWU and Warrior Athletics are extremely proud of Coach Reininga.”
Reininga’s recent honor is even more special considering last year was Southern Wesleyan’s first full year of NCAA membership, having just completed the transition from NAIA.
Conference Carolinas Commissioner Alan Patterson says that Reininga is a model of values the league has a history of emphasizing.
“Conference Carolinas members have long embraced an emphasis on sportsmanship and respect. Our members have valued teammates, officials, and opponents. Therefore, it is particularly rewarding to see this recognition of a shining example of who we are.”
While she says she is truly honored by the recognition, Reininga’s plan is to continue to strive to live up to the standards the award is based on.
“I am sure there are so many deserving coaches and administrators throughout the NCAA that pour into student-athletes every day. I am truly honored to win this award based on the life and character of such an amazing person as Bob Frederick.”
For more information about Reininga’s selection click here.
Story written by Amelia Maher.