James Sweeney Wins Murphy Osborne Award

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College men's soccer player James Sweeney has been named the recipient of the Conference Carolinas 2012-13 Murphy Osborne Award. Sweeney was selected from a field of 11 nominees, and he is the second winner of the award from Coker. Softball player Liz Clack won it in 1995.

"James Sweeney is the epitome of the term, 'student-athlete,'" Coker College President Robert Wyatt said. "We are thrilled, but not surprised, that James has received the highest honor in Conference Carolinas in our last year of conference membership. He is a star on the field and in the classroom, and we look forward to learning of his many future successes."

On the soccer field, Sweeney, a goalkeeper, has been a four-year starter and two-time captain for Cobras, leading them to an overall record of 49-16-12. He holds the school record in games started (74), shutouts (32) and goals-against average (0.787). During Sweeney's career Coker won the conference regular-season and tournament titles twice and, in his junior year, the team earned a bid to the NCAA tournament and hosted the second round of regionals.

"James has been a tremendous representative of Coker men's soccer, Coker athletics and the college as an institution," said head men's soccer coach Paul Leese. "Working with him on a daily basis for the past four years I have seen his drive, commitment and leadership in action. He is one of the most dedicated student-athletes and outstanding young men that I have had the pleasure of coaching, and he is truly deserving of the Murphy Osborne award."

Career postseason awards for Sweeney include: Daktronics All-American and two-time all-region selections, two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Academic All-American Team selection, Capital One Academic All-American Team, three-time all-conference, two-time conference scholar-athlete of the year, conference defensive player of the year and a four-time conference presidential honor roll and Coker dean's list member. He has also won the CG Timberlake Coker College Athlete of the Year and Coker freshman of the year awards.

Off the field, Sweeney boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA as a mathematics and computer science double-major, and is a member of Coker's Enactus team. Enactus is an international, non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Sweeney has been a member for two years and was most recently involved in a project preparing local high school students for the SAT.

In November 2012, Sweeney was featured in an installment of NCAA On Campus, an online video program that profiles the top student-athletes and inspirational stories across the country. Produced by Lee Nassau, of DL Images, the video follows Sweeney's journey as a four-year starter as Coker's goalie, along with his success in the classroom. The link to the NCAA story can be found here.

Originally from Huntingtown, Md., Sweeney is the son of Franklin and Christine Sweeney.

The Murphy Osborne Award is given to the most outstanding conference student-athlete each academic year. Student-athletes are nominated based on academic, athletic, leadership and service and community excellence.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a senior with a minimum grade-point average of 3.25. The student-athlete must be a full-time student at the time of nomination, have been a full-time student for at least two years at the member school, and must be a starter or important substitute in a conference sport. The recipient is selected by the faculty athletics representatives of Conference Carolinas institutions and represents the best-of-the-best for the league.

Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletic conference made up of 12 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions are Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Coker College, Converse College, Erskine College, King College, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, Mount Olive College, North Greenville University, Pfeiffer University and Queens University of Charlotte.

For more information, contact Chris Dougherty, manager of athletics media relations, at 843-383-8018 or cdougherty@coker.edu.

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Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.