DEARBORN, Mich. – The 2016-17 academic year was a banner campaign for the University of Michigan-Dearborn, with unprecedented success for the Wolverines in competition, in the classroom and in the community.
The upward momentum of the UM-Dearborn Department of Athletics & Recreation has been overseen the last three years by Director of Athletics & Recreation Matt Beaudry, as he has helped position the Wolverines for continued success in the future.
For his efforts, Beaudry was named the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Terry Bocian Athletic Director of the Year, it was announced Monday at the WHAC annual meetings in Lima, Ohio. The award is voted on by the athletic directors in the WHAC.
"I'm very honored and grateful to accept this recognition on behalf of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference," Beaudry said. "I consider this award a team recognition, so I want to extend a special thank you to our staff, coaches and student-athletes for their accomplishments in the classroom, community, and competition during the 2016-17 academic year. I'm delighted to serve as their athletic director. In addition, I would like to say thank you to my fellow athletic directors and the conference for their support. There are many athletic directors in the conference deserving of this honor."
The year started with the single biggest upgrade to athletic facilities since the original building of the Fieldhouse, with the installation of a new hardwood floor and bleacher seating in the UM-Dearborn gym.
Highlights from 2016-17 included the first WHAC regular season title in school history won by the softball team), a run to the national quarterfinal by the Wolverine men's ice hockey program and the men's basketball team winning 20 games for the first time in the more than 40-year history of the program. All sports at UM-Dearborn showed growth, setting the stage for new heights in the coming 2017-18 season.
In total, the Wolverines were honored with eight Champions of Character, 20 WHAC All-Academic Team Members, 14 NAIA Scholar Athletes and two ACHA Scholar Athletes. The Wolverine student-athletes, coaches and staff combined for 855 total hours of community service, stretching the impact of the department far beyond athletics.
In competition, UM-Dearborn combined for 15 All-WHAC honorees, two NAIA All-American Honorable Mentions, an NAIA Player of the Week and six All-GLCHL awards.
"It's been my goal since the first day to change the future and history of the University of Michigan-Dearborn athletics," Beaudry said. "I look forward to continuing to work together to build on what we've started. To be selected the Terry Bocian Athletic Director of the Year means a lot to me, especially being provided the opportunity to work and learn alongside Coach Bo before his retirement. However, I'm most proud of what we've been able to accomplish as a group most recently. When I took this position the word 'possible' was used a lot. What I've tried to achieve each day is change the word 'possible' to 'real' in order to build an efficient and successful athletics department at the conference and national level."
The growth will continue in 2017-18 with the addition of two new NAIA varsity sport offerings, as women's soccer and baseball are set to begin competition, bringing the total number of NAIA teams offered at UM-Dearborn to 10.
The award is the first for Beaudry, who extends his congratulations to Ryan Wronkowicz of Lourdes University for being named WHAC Sports Information Director of the Year, and to Kevin Parker on his Athletic Trainer of the Year honor. Indiana Tech received the All-Sports Trophy as well on Monday.