Indianapolis – With his ascent through the Heartland Conference’s record books, Kevin Kotzur’s value on the basketball court at St. Mary’s has received much praise of late.
But now, it’s the even-more important work he’s doing away from the court that has drawn recognition.
Kotzur, a senior men’s basketball player from La Vernia, Texas, has been named to the inaugural National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Allstate Good Works Team, a prestigious honor that speaks directly to St. Mary’s University’s mission of civic engagement and community service.
The honor, awarded nationally to just 10 college basketball players from across all divisions, recognizes student-athletes’ outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement.
Kotzur was the lone representative from NCAA Division II to make the team, which was voted on by a panel that included the likes of former San Antonio Spurs great Steve Kerr.
“It’s a great honor, not just for the basketball team but for the entire University,” said Kotzur, who last week became the Heartland Conference’s all-time leading scorer with 1,904 career points. “It reflects the community outreach we do here. The school value of community service here touches everybody in the athletic community. We really try to work just as hard off the court as we do on the court.”
Among Kotzur’s community-service initiatives were visiting with ailing children at University Hospital and wrapping presents for families in need through the University’s Angel Tree program.
St. Mary’s men’s basketball coach Jim Zeleznak could not be happier for his senior forward/center.
“The unique part of this type of award is not only does it signify excellence on the floor but it talks about the entire person, which is a big part of our University’s mission,” Zeleznak said.” For one of our student-athletes to be recognized in this fashion nationally speaks to what we’re tyring to do here at the University.
“For Kevin, what has happened on the floor with him becoming the all-time leading scorer in the conference, this award really recognizes the entire person and not just what’s going on on the basketball floor.”
When invited to Atlanta for the Final Four, Kotzur will be allowed to participate with the other members of the NABC and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WABC) Good Works Teams in a community project in the city.
“The men and women being recognized with this award have demonstrated a commitment to excellence on and off the court,” said Pam Hollander, senior director of marketing for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2013 NABC and WBCA Good Works Team selection panels. “Allstate commends these student-athletes for their contributions and are very proud to introduce the inaugural NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams.”
As a three-time All-Region selection, Kotzur is no stranger to racking up awards. But this one undoubtedly carries extra-special weight.
“This honor has me speechless,” he said. “I’m truly blessed.”
St. Mary’s had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year.