Friday, November 21, 2008
Athletes Completing Education effort brings student-athletes back to complete degrees
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 21, 2008) - The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is working to bring some of the Buccaneers' former student-athletes back on campus. However, these Bucs are not returning for an alumni game, special event or hall of fame ceremony.
They are returning to complete one of life's greatest accomplishments - earning a degree.
Bob Baker, ETSU Athletics' Director of Academic Services, spearheads the new program which is call Athletes Completing Education or ACE. Former ETSU athletes can apply for a scholarship provided by the NCAA and return to school to complete their degrees. The degree completion award pays for books, fees and tuition for its recipients.
The ACE program is set up to provide assistance to these former athletes from the application process all the way until graduation.
"We help them do everything they need to do to be sure they walk across that stage and graduate." Baker said.
The first graduate of the program was Keith "Mister" Jennings, the former ETSU basketball star that went on to enjoy a long professional playing career, which included four seasons in the NBA. Jennings walked the stage back in the spring. Currently, other former hoops stars such as Marty Story, Trazel Silvers, and James Anthony are the next class in line to graduate. Anthony and Story are in fact currently enrolled in classes.
Even though the basketball program has taken advantage of the program initially, all former Buc athletes are welcome to participate, even though ETSU head men's basketball coach Murry Bartow was the first coach to get on board.
"Coach Bartow has been a crucial in starting this program." Baker said.
And Baker was quick to thank the entire ETSU academic services community for their support and help.
"I couldn't have done anything like this without the help of continuing studies, financial aid, the coaches, and our athletic director Dave Mullins," Baker said.
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