Drake Head Football Coach Chris Creighton has received a 2011 Giant Step Award from the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) for his leadership in organizing the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, which will take place May 21 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Kili Bowl will pit the Drake Bulldogs against a Mexican all-star team in the first sanctioned American-style football game on the African continent. While in Tanzania, Coach Creighton will lead the Bulldogs in a variety of service projects, including a construction project that will add a new girls' wing to an orphanage in Moshi.
The team will also conduct football clinics for approximately 1,600 Tanzanian youth and engage in team-building exercises, such as a climb to the highest point in Africa, with fellow athletes from Mexico.
NCAS announced Creighton's Giant Step Award today in Orlando, Fla., as part of National STUDENT-Athlete Day. NCAS established the day to honor the hard work and dedication of high school and college student-athletes, nationwide, who have not only excelled in the classroom and on the playing field, but also have made significant contributions to their schools and communities.
Giant Step Awards honor individuals who use sport to positively affect social change, actualizing the mission of the NCAS. The awards recognize student-athletes, athletic administrators, civic leaders, coaches, parents, organizations and other individuals who demonstrate an outstanding ability to manage life on and off the field, and who demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of society.
In a news release announcing the Giant Step Awards, NCAS said, "Coach Creighton has always sought to develop his players as men, as ethical leaders and as influential members of their communities. His goal has never been simply to win games, but to make his players’ experience as a Drake Bulldog one that will challenge them, change them and impress upon them how sport can be used to serve humanity."
"I am definitely humbled to receive this award," Creighton said. "I’m appreciative of the support of (Drake Athletic Director) Sandy Hatfield Clubb, taking the time to make this possible for me and being supportive of this entire trip. She's put so much work into this project, as have so many others. My hope would be that everybody involved would share in the excitement that I feel in being recognized, because they too have played a significant role."
"A couple years ago Dr. Richard Lapchick (NCAS President & CEO) visited Drake and spoke to our athletics staff," Creighton said. "He had a very powerful message. I know that we at Drake want to be involved in sport for all the right reasons, and the NCAS stands for all the right things. To be a part of their mission means a lot."
Creighton and the other 2011 Giant Step Award winners will be honored on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the NCAS banquet in Orlando, Fla. More information about the Giant Step Award winners is available on the NCAS website.