GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has announced Penn State Abington’s Michael Litz as the 2018-19 Male Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member of the Year. Litz’s honor rounds out the annual NEAC SAAC awards as he joins SUNY Cobleskill’s Kat Vahsen, who was recognized yesterday as the 2018-19 NEAC Female SAAC Member of the Year.
The annual SAAC awards, which began in 2014-15, were established to recognize the multiple contributions of SAAC members throughout the NEAC. Each school has an opportunity to nominate one male and one female SAAC member from their institution based on leadership roles within the group, dedication to community service and involvement on campus. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by the SAAC advisors from each of the NEAC’s 12 full-member institutions.
The Nittany Lions’ junior finance major had a busy year serving as the President of the Penn State Abington SAAC and the NEAC SAAC Chair. Litz also began a three-year term as the NEAC representative on National Division III SAAC in January. He was a leader in organizing Penn State Abington’s first Special Olympics event this past year where the institution welcomed over 40 Special Olympians to campus to play various sports. The event was a huge success with 95 percent of the Nittany Lions’ student-athlete population participating and plans are in the works to make it an annual activity.
“Mike has done an outstanding job this year as our SAAC President,” shared Caytlin Friis, Penn State Abington SAAC Advisor and Head Softball Coach. “He has gone above and beyond with setting up partnerships in our community, most notably with the Special Olympics, and he has been a wonderful leader the past two years. I look forward to seeing what more Mike is able to accomplish in the future.”
Litz is a Lions’ Ambassador and serves on the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee at Abington. He also acts as the student-athlete representative on the NEAC Strategic Planning Committee. In addition to his various service efforts, Litz has had tremendous success on the court as a member of the Penn State Abington men’s tennis team. Earlier this spring, he became the first tennis player in conference history to be earn NEAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year honors three times. Litz was also recognized with the 2019 Penn State Abington Outstanding Male Student-Athlete Award and the 2019 Al Miles Award, which is Abington's annual tennis award.
“Mike has shown tremendous growth as a leader over the course of the past year,” added NEAC Assistant Commissioner and SAAC Advisor Stephanie Dutton. “He has played a pivotal role in the changes we continue to implement with SAAC at the conference level and he is an outstanding representative for our student-athletes at the national level as a NCAA Division III SAAC representative. Mike is committed to doing what it takes to make sure the voices of student-athletes are heard and he exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded Division III student-athlete.”
Devon Sanders – Penn College
Sanders is a recent graduate with a degree in Sport and Event Management and was a member of the Penn College baseball team. He was a three-year SAAC member and served as the Penn College SAAC Vice President for the 2018-19 academic year. Sanders helped spearhead the Wildcats’ mental health initiative for student-athletes by bringing Dr. Jarrod Spencer from Mind of the Athlete to campus in February. He has been an instrumental force behind the group’s strong presence within the Penn College and Williamsport communities by leading a number of projects including a Military Appreciation Game, the annual school supply drive for FireTree Place, the annual Pie the Staff fundraiser and the Yards for Yeardley event during Division III Week. Sanders has also been an outstanding mentor to younger SAAC members in an effort to ensure continued success in the variety of events the Wildcats participate in each year. In addition to his efforts at Penn College, Sanders also served as a NEAC SAAC representative at the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando.
Nate McFarland – Lancaster Bible
McFarland is a member of the Lancaster Bible baseball team and served as the Chairperson of the Chargers’ SAAC this past year. The junior sport management major was also a co-leader of the Division III Week Committee at Lancaster Bible to help coordinate a number of events that were held in April. During one of his biggest contributions of the year, he organized a team of volunteers to complete a day of spring yard work at a professor’s house this past spring. In addition to his work with SAAC, McFarland volunteered at Shadey’s Rugged Run, which is a mud run that takes place annually on the first Saturday in May and is organized by the Sport Management program and the athletic department.
Boubabcar Doucoure – SUNY Cobleskill
A junior captain on the Fighting Tigers’ men’s soccer team, Doucoure is also a Student Ambassador in the SUNY Cobleskill Department of Admissions. He was also promoted to the Orange Blazers Society, which is a group of individuals that helps run special VIP events on campus throughout the year. Doucoure also works for the Department of Sport and Exercise as a department videographer and assists in building supervision. Doucoure will return for his senior season in the fall and will continue to serve as a team captain as he works toward his degree in Information Technology.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.