The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced today that 752 teams have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2014-2015 season. This number once again breaks the previous year's total of 676 and sets a new all-time high for this award.

The Peru State Bobcat volleyball team was among those honored and just one of 49 NAIA institutions receiving the recognition.

Seven other Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) teams were among those honored including Avila University (Mo.), Benedictine College (Kan.), Culver-Stockton College (Mo.), Evangel University (Mo.), Graceland University (Iowa), and Missouri Valley College. Grand View University (Iowa) is joining the Heart this academic year.

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

"A hearty congratulations to all the volleyball coaches whose teams won the AVCA Team Academic Award," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "Teams do not succeed in the classroom by accident any more so than they do on the court. The same coach who taught them volleyball skills cared enough about their academic achievement to gather their grades, calculate their GPA, and submit a nomination on their behalf. In doing so, these coaches sent a clear message that classroom success is just as important as volleyball success. All involved should celebrate this award!"
 
The AVCA Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but one, while amassing a 476 team increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 752.

Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 23-year history, with exactly 6,878 awards been given out in total.

Bobcat head coach Nathan Baker was pleased to learn the 'Cats were among those honored and noted this was a back-to-back honor for his team.  Baker said, "These student-athletes fully understand that collegiate athletics is a privileged four-year experience. The education they receive here at Peru State College will set them up for success not just for the next four years, but for a lifetime. As a staff and a department, we could not be more pleased to see our program place true value on the importance of excelling in the academic setting here at Peru State College.  I am honored to coach the 2014-15 AVCA Team Academic Award winners."

About AVCA

The AVCA, with its headquarters in Lexington, Ky., is managed by Associations International. The mission of the AVCA is to advance the sport of volleyball with AVCA coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy and professional development. With a membership of over 6,400 and counting, the AVCA provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing and promoting the sport. Members include collegiate, high school, club, youth and Olympic coaches, as well as volleyball club directors. The AVCA provides education to volleyball coaches, recognition of elite players and coaches, promotion of volleyball competitions throughout the world, and networking opportunities for volleyball products and services providers. Further information is available at www.avca.org.