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SAAC to host first Maroon Carpet athletic banquet

The students-athletes of Oklahoma Christian University will trade their uniforms for dress clothes and practice for a night of dinner, speeches and awards, as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee will host its first Maroon Carpet Awards Varsity Athletic Banquet in the Gaylord University Center April 10.

“I am so proud of the group I have had the opportunity to work with this year,” senior soccer player and SAAC president Amanda Cooper said. “I am proud of the work they have put in to make this possible and I want it to be a night everyone enjoys and appreciates because our student-athletes work hard and deserve it.”

Unlike most schools who have athletic banquets based on donors, Cooper said she based the idea of the Maroon Carpet Awards off of Wichita State University, whose SAAC also raises money for events such as banquets on their own.

“We are required to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation, but we had some funds left over from a couple of last year’s fundraisers, from a pullover fundraiser in the fall and from our Make a Wish Night,” Cooper said. “The money all goes into one pot and after we take out the charity funds, the rest is ours to use, whether we want to do student involvement events or host a banquet.”

This year’s athletic banquet will feature a dinner, slideshow and speech by each coach, as well as a presentation of awards. In addition to recognizing each team for its season success, Cooper said other awards presented will include the Leadership Award, Mr. and Mrs. Eagle, the Character Award, Mr. and Mrs. Student Athlete, the team with the highest GPA and several superlative awards.

“We will also recognize the athletes who have become All-Americans and we have some school record holders in our midst,” Cooper said. “We do not have a big, fancy speaker coming in but we will have our new athletic director, David Lynn, talk to us as well. It will be a really big moment for him because, while it has been announced for a while that he is our athletic director, he will be able to stand in front of and speak to his entire athletic department for the first time.”

According to Cooper, Oklahoma Christian previously held an athletic banquet each spring but has yet to hold one since her freshman year. She said it has always been something she wanted to bring back for the student-athletes on campus.

“It has been pretty neat to see something you put a lot of work into come alive and even though it will probably not be as fancy or decadent as what I see when I close my eyes and imagine it, hopefully it will be a success,” Cooper said. “I would eventually love to be able to take the event off campus and just see it get bigger and bigger.”

The Maroon Carpet Awards Varsity Athletic Banquet will take place in the Gaylord University Center April 10. Dinner begins at 6 p.m.

“I want to give the student-athletes a nice evening where they can stray from their usual t-shirt, shorts and uniforms and have a chance to dress up,” Cooper said. “Maybe we can even find a maroon or red carpet to roll out for it.”

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