GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Cornerstone University women's soccer coach and sports information director Randy Strawser is the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) 2012 Coach of Character recipient. The Coach of Character Award honors a coach who demonstrates methods of teaching character through sport while instilling a tradition of athletic and community excellence. The award centers itself on the five core values of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character initiative: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
For the past 13 years, Strawser has been a model of high character around Cornerstone's campus. His focus is on demonstrating respect during the heat of competition as well as off the field. The first meeting of each season stresses the importance of making the right choices and doing the right thing. Strawser relays his expectation for sportsmanship.
"Coach Strawser expected our character to be displayed at all times," said Cornerstone former player Amanda Dudiak. "He reminded us that we not only represented our school and our team, but we also represented ourselves and how we wanted to be known."
Capitalizing on the very first team meeting, Strawser's teams then meet weekly to discuss how they have displayed the five core values and how they can improve. Although winning is important, it is never put above unity and integrity.
"Randy's focus is always on demonstrating respect during the heat of competition," said Cornerstone athletics director Dave Grube. "He is a big believer in valuing people over the game itself."
This season, Strawser's Golden Eagles hosted the Haitian women's national soccer team in a friendly exhibition match to raise funds for Haiti Foundation against Poverty. The event attracted the largest crowd ever to see a soccer match on Cornerstone's campus. The fundraiser continued the team's relief efforts from the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti's capital, Léogâne, in January 2010.
"Coach (Strawser) has made a positive impact on me as a player, but more importantly as a person," said Dudiak.
This is the third award for Strawser in the last five years. He won the honor during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He will represent the WHAC in a pool of other NAIA conference award winners in nomination for the national award.
2012 - Randy Strawser, Cornerstone (women's soccer)
2011 - Kirsta Solberg, Indiana Tech (volleyball)
2010 - Jerry Hendrick, Aquinas (Tennis)
2009 - Randy Strawser, Cornerstone (women's soccer)
2008 - Randy Strawser, Cornerstone (women's soccer)