Most John Brown University students see how JBU athletes perform on the field or court. However others don’t consider what goes on behind the scenes of events or even in the classroom.
The John Brown University Athletic Banquet is a spring ceremony celebrating athletes’ accomplishments during the year.
Each year, all eleven teams, coaches, and athletic staff come together to recognize athletes for their accomplishments both as a student and their performance throughout the season. Director of Sports Information, Nicholas Robinson, notes how holding this event gives those students who excel in both the chance to be awarded.
“The main purpose of the event is creating another opportunity to recognize the excellent student-athletes at JBU. The time, effort and commitment from these kids deserves a special night to honor them and their accomplishments,” said Robinson.
The award ceremony for athletes has been a tradition that has been going on for some time. Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Jeff Soderquist recalls attending the University Athletic Banquet in 1988 as a freshman.
“We used to have a dinner and then did the awards after the dinner. Then we took the dinner part out and just had finger food and mingled a little bit then had the banquet,” said Soderquist. “Last year, [in Spring 2014], was the first year we really changed it up. No dinner again and we made it like the ESPY.”
The Banquet last year included many new and interactive components from each team. During the banquet, awards such as “Best Play” “Best Newcomer” “Best Blooper” all made an appearance along with a video montage for each award.
“We would have about three nominees for each category, show a video for all three and then announce the winner and have them come up to the front,” said Soderquist.
Senior Golf Member Tommy Wright and Senior Matt Henry, both attended the Athletic Banquet and enjoyed the new layout of the program.
“Sam [Men’s Golf Member] and I had a lot of fun filming the clips for the Banquet,” said Wright. “It made it a lot more personal and entertaining for each team.”
With the new changes to the Banquet also comes more time and creativity in preparing for the event itself.
“I help coordinate the banquet program, selection of awards and direct all the photos, videos and music played at the banquet,” said Robinson. “So between voting on awards, preparing the program, conducting interviews, cutting highlights and nominating athletes, we usually start planning the process approximately two months in advance.”
Some of the teams, such as Volleyball and Soccer, which are fall sports, will hold an individual banquet in the fall semester to recognize individual team members and make a more personal time for the team to reminiscence on the season. However, Soderquist notes that the spring Banquet is a great time for both recognizing and uniting all teams together under one program.
“Now that we are doing it this way each team has the option of doing their own banquet. Which for the teams, like soccer and volleyball which are fall sports, they can have something in the fall with their own team,” said Soderquist. “I do like all the teams coming together for an event. That makes the department closer and is a fun time for all.”