Coastal’s Creel earns award for academic excellence

Coastal Carolina senior baseball player Justin Creel is one of a record six Big South student-athletes to receive the league’s prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence.

Joining Creel (4.0 in biology) as Christenberry Award recipients are Liberty football player Pat Kelly (4.00 in exercise science), Radford women’s soccer player Megan Rhodes (4.00 in elementary education and Spanish), High Point men’s soccer player Shawn Sloan (4.00 in biochemistry), Liberty women’s soccer player Lauren Stell (4.00 in graphic design) and Campbell women’s cross country/track athlete Laura Verschuren (4.00 in PE/teacher licensure).

The award is given annually to the male and female student-athletes who attain the highest GPA during their college careers. This year’s Christenberry Award winners will be formally honored on May 30 at the Big South’s annual Spring Meetings and Hall of Fame Dinner.

Creel (Baton Rouge, La.) has also been honored recently for his academics by being named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District and Coastal Carolina’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He has started 79 of his 88 career appearances with the Chanticleers and owns a .244 career batting average.

This season, splitting time between first and second base, he has played 30 games with 21 starts. As a junior, he was third in the Big South with 12 sacrifice bunts and ranked fourth in the League with 161 assists in the field.  Creel also tied for eighth in the Conference with 31 walks in 2012.  A member of the 2012 Big South Presidential Honor Roll, Creel hit is only career home run — a grand slam — against Charleston Southern on May 18, 2012. Also, Creel helped Coastal win both the Big South regular season and tournament titles in 2012.

The honor is named for George A. Christenberry, the former President of Augusta College (now Augusta State University) and one of the founders of the Big South Conference.  A member of the Big South Hall of Fame, Christenberry served as the League’s first President from 1983-86.

“The Christenberry Award is the highest academic honor awarded to Big South student-athletes,” said Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle B. Kallander. “It is incredible to think that six individuals completed their academic career with perfect GPAs, especially with the demands placed on them as student-athletes.  We congratulate Justin, Pat, Megan, Shawn, Lauren and Laura for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field of play. Their careers truly exemplify the highest ideals of the Big South Conference.”

Creel is the 16th Chanticleer to earn the Big South’s Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence since the inception of the award at the conclusion of the 1985-86 academic year. A total of 10 male and six female Coastal Carolina student-athletes have garnered the prestigious award. The Chanticleers’ 16 total award winners are more than any other current or former Big South institution.

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