BOCA RATON, Fla. -
The Florida Atlantic University men's cross country and men's basketball teams were given the Conference USA (C-USA) Sport Academic Award for earning the highest GPA in their respective sports for the 2016-17 academic year, as announced by the league Tuesday.
"Congratulations to both our men's basketball and men's cross country teams on earning this honor for academic excellence," said Pat Chun, FAU's vice president and director of athletics. "The recognition is a reflection of the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach (Alex) Smolka has a long history of academic achievement in the programs he oversees. For Men's Basketball Head Coach (Michael) Curry, this award is a great reflection of the remarkable job he has done creating a culture of excellence. It has been incredible to witness the turnaround of the program under his watch."
Men's cross country posted a 3.505 GPA while men's basketball finished the year with a 3.133. Men's cross country also was one of eight FAU teams to record a perfect 1,000 on the NCAA Division I 2015-16 Academic Progress Rate (APR) Institutional Report. Men's basketball continued to impress last year, earning the Owl Cup for their community service efforts as well as "Best Performance of the Year" for their win over Ohio State.
"I think this recognition is a great testament that hard work pays off," said Alex Smolka, head cross country and track and field coach. "Life is about making choices, and we are very fortunate that we have a group of young men on our men's cross-country squad who have chosen to make the best of their opportunity to receive a first class education as well as put themselves into a position of become life-long successes."
"It is an honor to be recognized by Conference USA for having the highest team GPA," said Michael Curry, head men's basketball coach. "I continue to be proud of the success our program has achieved in the classroom. This award is reflective of the commitment our team and our staff make to develop true student-athletes."
Men's cross country will kick of the 2017 season with the annual FAU Invitational on Sept. 1 in Boca Raton. Men's basketball will begin gearing up in the fall with their first game slated for the beginning of November.
For more information about those teams, or any of FAU's 21 intercollegiate sports, please visit www.FAUsports.com.