The seventh annual Yotee Awards was held on Thursday night inside Mabee Arena, and Troy Watson was named as the Bissell Male Student Athlete of the Year and Tabetha Deines was named as the Bevan Female Student Athlete of the Year, highlighting the night's honorees.
The Yotee Awards is a student-run initiative, through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), honoring excellence in Kansas Wesleyan athletics throughout the year. Nominations are sought and voted upon by members of SAAC.
Watson was the KCAC Champion in men's golf in 2021, winning the Kansas Conference individual title by four shots over Bethany's Larus Long in the final conference standings. He won six tournaments during the season and finished no worse than seventh at any tournament this season. He had a 70.8 scoring average in 26.5 rounds during the season, shooting an aggregate even par for the season.
Deines became KWU's first indoor track All-American in 10 years when she finished fifth at the NAIA National Championships in the 800m with a time of 2:15.94. It was just one of the many successes for Deines in both cross country and track this season. She has qualified for this spring's NAIA Outdoor National Championships in the 800m and qualified for the NAIA Cross Country National Championships running at the event held in April.
The Dr. F. Gene Bissell Male Student Athlete of the Year award is named for the late Dr. Franklin Gene Bissell who arrived at Kansas Wesleyan in 1950 as an assistant football coach and assumed the head coaching role in 1952 and remained in that role until retiring from coaching football in 1978. Bissell remained at KWU until fully retiring in 1994. While at KWU, Bissell also coaches track and field, basketball, helped reinstate the baseball program twice, and was a willing advocate for the addition of women's athletics. He also served as Athletic Director and a professor in the Kinesiology department. The field at the former Glenn Martin Stadium was named in his honor in 1994 and the field was rededicated in his name at the opening of the Graves Family Sports Complex in 2015.
The M. Virginia Bevan Female Student Athlete of the Year award is named for M. Virginia (Ginny) Bevan, who was a pioneer in women's athletics. She organized opportunities for young women to compete in intercollegiate athletics before the implementation of Title IX. She made sure that Kansas Wesleyan was at the forefront of the Title IX movement and served as the first coach of women's sports at KWU. She also served as a professor in the Physical Education Department and was a life advisor to many students on the KWU campus.
Several other awards were voted upon by the SAAC.
The Best Comeback Win Award went to Men's Basketball for their win against Bethany on February 18. The Coyotes trailed by 19 in the first half, only to roar back and get the 60-56 win. KWU did not lead in the game until the 2:29 mark.
The Best Win over Bethany Award went to Baseball for their 20-10 win over the Swedes on April 11. KWU trailed 9-3 in the game only to come back scoring seven runs in the bottom of the sixth and then ending the game on a run-rule walk-off 3-run homer by Dalton Bishop.
Best Overall Win went to the Football team for their 28-21 win over then No. 11 ranked Bethel on March 27. KWU trailed 18-7 at half time, but outscored Bethel 21-3 in the second half to come away with the upset win.
Women's Tennis earned the highest team GPA award with a 3.74 team GPA.
Women's Basketball Associate Head Coach Carolyn Jenkins was named as the Assistant Coach of the Year.
Women's Golf Head Coach and Golf Program Director Hannah Hendrickson was selected as the Head Coach of the Year.
Stephanie Martinez was named as the Female Lone Coyote Award winner.
Nathan Mercer was named as the Randy Bemiss Male Lone Coyote Award winner.
The Lone Coyote Award honors excellence by a student-athlete in an individual sport. The men's award is named for former KWU Golf Coach Randy Bemiss.
At the end of the night, Kansas Wesleyan Director of Athletics Steve Wilson took to the podium to award the athletic trainers with an appreciation award. During the year of COVID, no one has worked more diligently than the athletic training staff. In addition to their regular athletic training duties, the staff of Daniel O'Connell, Samantha Lemaster, Elizabeth Ketchum and Eric Dorado, took on additional duties related to making sure the campus was following COVID protocols and procedures.