GW's Ugur Atalay Named Recipient of 2011-12 A-10 Sportsmanship Award
June 20, 2012
Atalay is the second GW student-athlete to earn the award - which was established in 2004 - as Raman Luthra of the Colonials' golf program was honored following the 2006-07 season. Atalay will be the league's nominee for the annual NCAA Sportsmanship Award as a result of his actions.
"Ugur has always been a team player who likes to keep a low profile," said head coach Greg Munoz. "He leads with his actions, as opposed to his voice, and lets his racquet do the talking for him."
The Sportsmanship Award is presented annually to an A-10 male and female student-athlete or team who demonstrates an act of sportsmanship, which the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct (CSEC) defines as behaviors exhibited by student-athletes based on values, especially respect and integrity. To be nominated for the award, the student-athlete or team must be a member of an intercollegiate athletic sport sponsored by the Atlantic 10 Conference; be in good academic standing; and embody the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship.
"It's a pleasure to congratulate Ugur and Courtney, they have demonstrated respect, integrity and leadership," stated
"This is a well deserved honor for Ugur and we could not be more proud of him" said Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator Mary Jo Warner. "Ugur and the men's tennis team always displayed high levels of sportsmanship throughout his stellar four-year career at GW and his integrity is something we strive for within GW Athletics."
A four-time All-Conference selection and a four-year standout in the Colonials' lineup at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions, Atalay helped transform the GW men's tennis program into a dominant force in the A-10. Through his leadership and dedication, the
In his final A-10 Championship appearance this past April, Atalay won four consecutive No. 2 singles matches, including the deciding match in the semifinals against Charlotte and the title-clinching match against Xavier, to propel GW to its second straight conference crown.
In this year's title match, the Colonials and Musketeers were knotted at 3-3, leaving No. 2 singles as the deciding match. Atalay dropped the first set to Xavier's Mesa Mei, but came back in the second to lock the score at 1-1. Surrounded by a crowd of fans and teammates, Mei began suffering from severe cramps and struggled to move and return any serve that came his way. True to character, Atalay scaled back the intensity of his play and instead lobbed serves and returns slowly to give Mei a chance to compete. Atalay eventually won the set, 6-1, to lift GW to the title.
Following the match, there was no celebration or excitement as Atalay exemplified sportsmanship by shaking Mei's hand and the two exchanged a hug. After quietly congratulating their own teammate, the rest of the Colonials congratulated Mei on his efforts.
"I give Ugur (Atalay) credit for the way he executed to finish the match, but more importantly how he conducted himself in a tricky situation. He has been a class act in his four years at GW and today was no exception," said Toth. "I also congratulate Coach Munoz and the rest of his squad on another championship, but most importantly for the class he and his guys showed in winning the match, ideally not the way they would want to clinch a championship. They were classy. Kudos to them."
Recipient of the J. Dallas Shirley Outstanding Senior Male Student-Athlete award this spring - given annually to a graduating male who excels in athletics, academics and community service - Atalay was also named the Colonials' MVP following this season. Off the court, Atalay excelled in the classroom as a finance major with a cumulative 3.32 grade-point average, and he was named to GW's Athletics Department Academic Dean's List every semester.