By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
For the first time in the award’s 42-year history, there is a repeat winner of the E.O. and Virginia Humphrey Award.
Football player Kellen Cox received the highest award presented to a Missouri Southern student-athlete to cap Tuesday night’s awards ceremony at the Billingsly Student Center Ballroom.
“I’m a little shocked it happened the second time,” he said.
The award is named after E.O. Humphrey, the first football coach at Joplin Junior College, and his wife. It is awarded based on highest respect for the college, teammates and students, athletic ability and leadership skills.
“I feel like the reason behind any award is my teammates and my coaches,” Cox said. “I’m not doing anything on the field without them. Even off the field, in the classroom I have amazing professors and coaches who care about me and my success.
“Even further off the field, guys like Aaron Lewis with FCA and the church I’m a part of, other believers who support me and encourage me ... that’s really what it comes down to. It’s everybody else helping me to do this. I give God the glory. I would have never been in this situation if it wasn’t for Him. Being in a position to be a leader for my teammates, I thank God for that and I thank my coaches for that. Just my teammates accepting me, we had a lot of fun.”
Cox, who prepped at Mount Vernon, played wide receiver his first three seasons with the Lions before being moved to quarterback for his senior campaign. He led the team with 867 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns and earned honorable mention all-conference honors. He was a member of the 2012 All-State Goodworks team, one of only 22 football players to receive the award.
He is also one of three outstanding graduates this spring and the recipient of the 2013 MSSU Glenn Dolence Leadership Award.
Soccer player Megan Stueve and football player Brandon Williams were named the Lions’ female and male athletes of the year.
Missouri Southern athletes were involved in community service activities throughout the year, donated more than 2,600 hours. Emily Paullus, a member of the women’s track and field team, had the most hours of any athlete (48.5), and the men’s track and field squad won the team award, averaging 22.5 hours per athlete.
Most valuable player and Lionbacker Awards of Excellence were presented in each sport. Those winners:
Men’s cross country: Eric Schott (MVP), Jake Benton (Lionbacker);
women’s cross country: Rachel Schrader (MVP), Marlee Tegenkamp (Lionbacker);
men’s indoor track: Michael Juergens (MVP), Seth Hackney (Lionbacker);
women’s indoor track: Kylie Cornman (MVP). JeAnna Sheppard (Lionbacker);
men’s outdoor track: Dustin Green (MVP), Taylor McClelland (Lionbacker);
women’s outdoor track: Brittani Reagan (MVP), Sagan Graskemper (Lionbacker);
men’s basketball: Marquis Addison (Don Gross Leadership Award), Jordan Talbert (Lionbacker);
women’s basketball: Erin Rice (MVP), Tee Singleton (Lionbacker);
football: Alex Wong (John Ware Lion Heart Award), Ne’Ronte Threatt (Lionbacker);
volleyball: Katie Politte (MVP), Abby Finder (Lionbacker);
baseball: Michael McCoy (Warren Turner MVP), Thomas Wilson (Lionbacker);
softball: Shelby Romines (Dr. Pat Lipira MVP), Dawn Grass (Lionbacker);
golf: Ryan Buerk (MVP), Andy Hogenmiller (Lionbacker);
soccer: Megan Stueve (MVP), Candis Clark (Lionbacker).