Sioux City, Iowa (DWUAthletics.com) – The Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) is proud to announce those selected as the 2023 nominees for the top honors in the NAIA, including the A.O. Duer Award, the Emil S. Liston Award, Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award and the NAIA Coach of Character Award.
The national winners will be named during the NAIA National Awards Day on September 15. The NAIA winners will be recognized as part of the NAIA National Awards Luncheon at the NAIA National Convention next spring in Kansas City, Missouri (April 5-9, 2024).
A.O. Duer Award
The A.O. Duer Scholarship Award is named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary who served the association for 26 years. This award has been annually presented since 1967 to a male and female student-athlete completing their junior season in any sport who has excelled in scholarship, character, and citizenship.
Female Nominee: Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan University (Women’s Volleyball)
The female nominee for the A.O. Duer Award is Ady Dwight, a member of the Dakota Wesleyan University Women’s Volleyball team. Dwight is a three-time NAIA All-American (two-time first team selection), three-time GPAC first team honoree, and a two-time NAIA Academic All-American. The Tigers have qualified for the last two NAIA National Volleyball Tournaments and in 2022 DWU made it to the quarterfinals in Sioux City, Iowa.
Dwight, from Langford, South Dakota, is a Nursing Major with a 3.86 GPA.
“Ady is dedicated to the things and people important to her,” said Dakota Wesleyan Volleyball Coach Lindsay Wilber. “As most can see she has spent countless hours in the gym improving and making herself the best athlete possible. She also carries that into the classroom and works very hard to achieve high levels of success.”
NAIA Coach of Character Award
Nominee: Lindsay Wilber, Dakota Wesleyan University (Women’s Volleyball)
Lindsay Wilber from Dakota Wesleyan University is the GPAC nominee for the NAIA Coach of Character Award. This award recognizes a head coach who is dedicated to deliberately teaching character through sport.
Wilber is the head women’s volleyball coach at Dakota Wesleyan.
“Upon her arrival, Coach Wilber worked tirelessly to restore the culture to our women’s volleyball team by employing the core values of both DWU and the NAIA,” said Dakota Wesleyan Athletic Director Jon Hart. “As she built her foundation on those core values, the trajectory of the program started to take shape into what it is today. In addition to back-to-back 25-win seasons in the deepest women’s volleyball league in the NAIA, her program has been amongst the nation’s top team GPA’s. This past season they finished with a team GPA of 3.81. That number is more impressive when you consider the majors that are represented are nursing, biochemistry, athletic training, and education.”
“As a coach of significance, I really strive to bring out the best in the athletes each day to be the best version of themselves they can be,” said Wilber. “I try and teach the value of teamwork and how every person on the team is as important as the next.”
“While Coach Wilber has not only positively impacted by life, but she has also made an impact on everyone she coaches,” said former DWU player Becky (Frick) Sawatzke. “Not only from a college athlete level, but also children in the community. She has invited the community of Mitchell, South Dakota, and surrounding areas to love not only the game of volleyball but to learn the importance of sportsmanship and respect.”