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Ottawa University’s Arabie Conner Named 2016-2017 Under Armour NAIA Athletic Director of the Year
Ottawa, Kan. – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced that Ottawa University’s Athletic Director Arabie Conner has been named a 2016-2017 Under Armour NAIA Athletic Director of the Year. Conner will be recognized during a ceremony on June 13, 2017, at NACDA’s 52nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla.
“This incredible honor speaks to the outstanding work that Arabie Conner has done at Ottawa University,” said Kevin Eichner, OU president. “Arabie works tirelessly to help our student-athletes succeed both in the classroom and on the playing field and has assembled a staff of coaches that embody the mission of Ottawa University of preparing students for lifetimes of success and significance. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award and I am very proud of her for her leadership here at OU and in the athletics industry.”
Conner is in her 11th year at the helm of OU’s athletic department. The previous 10 years have brought many accomplishments for the Braves: 333 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes, 83 NAIA All-Americans, 202 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Players of the Week, 742 All-KCAC selections, 13 teams have earned regular season KCAC Championships, and eight have won KCAC Tournament Championships.
Conner is also the first athletic director from the KCAC to win this award, which has been handed out for 19 years.
"This recognition for Arabie is so well deserved for both her and for Ottawa University,” said Scott Crawford, KCAC commissioner. “Kudos to Arabie on being recognized among her peers as one of the best athletics directors in college sports. I speak for the entire Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference in congratulating Arabie on this personal honor for her service to her institution, the conference and the NAIA."
The OU athletic teams have excelled in the classroom as well. From 2007-2016, 89 teams were named NAIA Scholar Teams. Under her watch, the Ottawa University Athletic Department has been named a Five Star Champions of Character Institution 10 times. There have been 12 coaches named KCAC Coach of the Year, two have been named KBCA College Coach of the Year and two have earned region coach of the year. She has twice been named the KCAC Athletic Director of the Year, in 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.
“I was completely surprised when I was notified of this award,” said Conner. “I am very thankful and honored to have even being considered for this award. To be honored with something like this is a great recognition of the growth and positive direction of Ottawa University and our leadership team and its vision. This recognition is for all the dedicated coaches, faculty and staff at OU who work tirelessly to continually enhance the experience for the student-athletes we recruit, mentor, teach, develop, and serve. I also recognize how blessed I am to work for an institution which has grown under great leadership and for a president and provost who embrace athletics and believe in the importance of athletics in higher education. OU and our leadership team has provided the resources and opportunities to build and grow something special here. This growth minded approach and vision has made all the difference in my career personally and I’m just fortunate to be a part of it. My colleagues in the KCAC are a great supportive network, in a conference that has grown professionally and competitively through the year under great leadership and with strong vision. It’s been an opportune and exciting time to be a part of OU and the KCAC.”
Conner joins an elite list of athletic directors spanning seven divisions (NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division I-AAA, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior/Community College) with this honor. The Athletic Director of the Year Award highlights the efforts of athletic directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.