Gardner-Webb Baseball Coach Receives National Honor

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Character in Coaching Award to be Presented to Rusty Stroupe in January

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University is proud to announce that head baseball coach Rusty Stroupe is the recipient of a national coaching award given annually by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  Stroupe has been named the 2012 recipient of the Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award, a national honor that includes all divisions of college and high school baseball coaching.  Presented each year by the FCA, Stroupe was one of four finalists considered for the distinguished award.

The award is named for Jerry Kindall, a major league baseball player during the 1950s and 60s who played for teams such as the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians before transitioning into a career of coaching.  He later retired as head coach of the baseball program at the University of Arizona in Tuscon.  For the past nine years, the award has been presented annually to a coach who best exemplifies the Christian principles of character, integrity, excellence, teamwork and service both on and off the baseball field.  The FCA national committee reviewed award candidates during their annual meeting and unanimously voted to honor Stroupe with the distinction.

“We are honored to select a man like Rusty,” said David Daly, national director of FCA baseball.  “This is the highest award we present. Rusty is a coach who lives out his faith in front of his players, colleagues, at his church, and in his community.”

Stroupe, a native of Cherryville, N.C., has won well over 600 games in his coaching career, which includes a record of 288-278-1 after 11 seasons as the Diamond Dawgs head coach.  In addition to his role as coach, he has written two books and penned a syndicated column on spiritual and humorous issues.  He is also frequently called upon to serve as a guest speaker at men’s conferences and church events.  Another one of his passions is providing volunteer relief to various groups at home and abroad, including leading a team of GWU students on mission trips each year.  He is also a husband and father and attends Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., where he is a deacon and Sunday School teacher.

Stroupe was humbled by the news.  “This is one of the greatest honors in my life,” said Stroupe.  “The first feeling I had after hearing the news was that there are a hundred other people that should have received this award.  This is something I would have never strived for, but I appreciate the honor.”

The award will officially be presented to Stroupe on Jan. 5, 2013 during the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention, to be held in Chicago, Ill.   “This is a very unique award in coaching.  It’s not so much about what you’ve done, but who you strive to be,” Stroupe shared.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., FCA is an interdenominational Christian sports ministry that aims to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.  More information is available at