Christian Bilkovic Named Semifinalist For Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup

Christian Bilkovic Named Semifinalist For Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup

Courtesy of Cameron Weidenthaler, Wayne State Assistant Media Relations Director

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Redshirt senior pitcher Christian Bilkovic (West Bloomfield, Mich.) has been named one of 25 national semifinalists for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. After the nomination list of 75 was paired down to 25, only five were selected as finalists. The 2015 Collegiate Wooden Cup recipient will be announced at the award ceremony in April. Bilkovic was also a semifinalist in 2014. Former WSU women's tennis student-athlete Tanya Joseph was a semifinalist in 2013 and former women's ice hockey player Ashley King was a finalist during the 2007-08 academic year.

Last June, Bilkovic was a recognized as a finalist for the Lisa V. Ford Heart & Soul Award for his leadership and individual commitment to community service. Bilkovic was nominated alongside board members and volunteers who have given over 10 years of volunteer service. He is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and received the team's Warrior Award, for his leadership and community service initiative.

"Christian has donated more than 50 service hours and has volunteered in several areas," said The Children's Center Volunteer Engagement Manager Holly Soranno. "One of his favorite projects was working with the children from KIDDS (Kids with Intellectual and Development Disabilities) to create holiday art projects. He is an exemplary volunteer that has a deep respect and understanding for the children and families we serve, which makes him friendly and engaging in any capacity."

As a team, WSU baseball accumulated over 1,000 community service hours during the 2013-14 school year, including weekly visits to The Children's Center and working with the Detroit Tigers Youth Foundation. The Warrior baseball program has performed over 7,100 hours of community service in the last six seasons. Last October, Bilkovic and WSU Baseball recieved the Salvation Army's "Doing the Most Good" Award. The award honors any individual, organization or corporation exemplifying an extraordinary spirit of service and collaboration with The Salvation Army in "Doing the Most Good" in times of disaster, crisis or severe need.

Specifically, the team was honored for its help with the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign which includes 450 red kettles across metro Detroit, including the biggest kettle in the world at Campus Martius, 56 feet high with 25,000 lights on it, representing all the families in need. The Warrior baseball program helped construct the larger-than-life kettle.

National Semifinalists
Ashley Banks, Lehigh University, Soccer
Christian Bilkovic, Wayne State University, Baseball
Christopher Blanton, Lake-Sumter State College, Baseball
Jessy Brown, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Women's Soccer
Ty Darlington, University of Oklahoma, Football
Haley Eckerman, University of Texas, Volleyball
Kyven Gadson, Iowa State University, Wrestling
Margo Geer, University of Arizona, Swimming
Derrick Gordon, University of Massachusetts, Basketball
Brady Fiero, Academy of Art University, Soccer
Arin Gilliland, University of Kentucky, Soccer
Ronnie Glenn, University of Pennsylvania, Baseball
Malina Howard, University of Maryland, Basketball
Angela Lowak, Texas A & M University, Volleyball
Abe Matamoros, University of Tulsa, Soccer
Breanna McMahon, Brevard College, Soccer
Diana Potterveld, South Dakota State University, Soccer
Patton Robinette, Vanderbilt University, Football
James Rogers, University of New Mexico, Soccer
Deterrian Shackleford, University of Mississippi, Football
Maddie Stein, University of Kansas, Softball
Maegan Taylor, Truett-McConnell College, Soccer
Andi Tostanoski, Santa Clara University, Soccer
Stephanie Verdoia, Seattle University, Soccer
National Finalists
 Madeleine Buckley, William Smith College, Soccer
Zach Hyman, University of Michigan, Hockey
Maria Lanyi, Northeastern University, Soccer
Chris Tamasi, Amherst College, Football

The 11th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given for the most outstanding role model among athletes, announced its nominees for the 2015 award ceremony according to Fred Northup, President, Athletes for a Better World.

John Wooden , who won ten national championships during the years 1964--1975 as basketball coach at UCLA is regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. He is universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, and his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave authorization to attach his name to this annual award and he attended and addressed the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. In his honor, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional ,for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society.

The Wooden Cup is given to a collegiate and a professional athlete who have made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others. The award recipients will be announced at a ceremony held in Atlanta in the Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theatre in April.

With Pat Summitt, Drew Brees, Dikembe Mutombo, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Yaeger and Cal Ripken, Jr. as previous recipients, the Wooden Cup is becoming one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Recipients are considered role models and athletes of excellence both on and off the field.

Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to athletes in all collegiate and professional sports. Nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports.

Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former University of Georgia athletic director, and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.

About Athletes for a Better World
Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork, and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW's vision is to have the Code become a part of every sport at every level, so that it becomes the common language and standard expectation of behavior for everyone. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. "The Code for Living" can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.