Nick McCormick Wins Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award

By Chyelle Dvorak

“Wherever you are, be all there.” Credited to missionary Jim Elliot, Crown College is pleased to honor student Nick McCormick for living out these words.

McCormick recently won the UMAC (Upper Midwest Athletic Conference) Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award of 2018. Every year, UMAC awards one male and one female senior to honor their leadership, community service, and sportsmanship. Passionate about leading through his actions, McCormick exemplifies someone who endeavors to do one’s best. Every senior student-athlete from all nine conference schools in the UMAC are eligible to be nominated for the award.

Jamison Ross, the Director of Athletics at Crown College, explained how the UMAC Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award selection process works.

“Choosing someone for the award is a rigorous process,” says Ross. “Out of the nine colleges in the UMAC, one faculty athletic representative from each school goes over the resumes and lobbies for their own college. This year, our faculty athletic representative wasn’t able to make it to the UMAC meeting, but McCormick still won.”

To choose a nominee from the college, each coach will pick someone on the team whom they think is a deserving candidate. From there, coaches vote until they have one male and one female nomination. UMAC chooses one top man and woman athlete from the nine conference schools.

When asked what inspired him to step into leadership, McCormick says it’s his faith in Jesus Christ and the missions trips he has done changed his outlook on life.

“The biggest motivation for me has come through my missions trips,” says McCormick. “For my first one, I was a freshman at Crown and we went to the Dominican Republic. While there, I saw kids who were willing to give me everything and show me so much kindness. Even though they had nothing, they were still able to love me so much. It was ironic because I went there thinking I was going to impact the community, but I came back changed.”

The change McCormick refers to has developed in him a heart for other people. His faith has enabled him to work hard in football, student teaching, and coaching on the side. By investing in his college experience, McCormick has connected with mentors and friends in ways he would have never expected.

“It was a unique experience to have close mentors and professors who were willing to have conversations about the Lord and work to invest in my future,” says McCormick. “Lots of my Education department professors stepped in and were very willing to help me. I think one of the things that makes Crown different is having professors whom you can go talk with at almost any time.”

McCormick’s character has shown a servant’s heart for Christ. McCormick enjoys being involved at Eagan Hills Church in Eagan and helping with youth groups in the area. Along with some friends at Crown, McCormick runs a Bible study on campus. Last summer, McCormick led a missions trip to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador.

“I was inspired by Jim Elliot’s experiences with the Huaorani people in Ecuador to pursue a missions trip there,” says McCormick. “It was incredible to see how much the Gospel has impacted the Huaorani people since that time.”

The character development McCormick exemplifies is precisely what the Athletic department at Crown College looks for in their athletes. The department stresses the importance of having athletes who are “all there”–both on and off the field.

“One of our focuses is academics over athletics,” says Ross. “That might sound surprising to most people. At Crown, we do not have a program where athletics competes with academics. Coaches never make students miss classes for practice. We strive to build bridges from our Athletic department over to the academic departments because those bridges shape the future success of our students.”

As a football player who has made the Dean’s List every semester, McCormick aspires to work hard both in academics and athletics. John Auer, the head football coach at Crown College, speaks of McCormick with admiration.

“The award is for student-athletes, and McCormick is the epitome of being a student and being an athlete,” says Auer. “He was a captain for us and did everything we asked of him. This award is a combination of both on and off the field leadership. He contributed and grew during his four years here, and got better in all aspects of his life. Now he is reaping the rewards from character development.”