One of NCAA's top honors bestowed on alumnus Ryan Koch

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ryan Koch with President Roy H. Saigo upon presentation of the top NCAA honor

A year ago, outstanding SCSU student-athlete Ryan Koch ’06 was featured in Outlook in a story titled “Mission Accomplished.” This spring the “mission” continues with Koch, the graduate, continuing to garner awards for his accomplishments in both academics and athletics.

In January Koch received the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Today’s Top VIII Award, which honors student-athletes who have brought distinction to themselves, their institutions and intercollegiate athletics, one of the highest honors given to NCAA student-athletes. Koch was one of eight, and the only NCAA Division II student-athlete to be honored.

Also in January, Koch received the Woody Hayes National Scholar Athlete Award, given annually to the outstanding man and woman in each of the three collegiate divisions in all sports. Koch is the third Husky to receive the award. Former quarterback Keith Heckendorf ’04 won the award in 2003, followed by football and track and field standout Jason Koch ’04 (Ryan’s older brother) in 2005.

“Both of these awards really gain their value, I think, in that they recognize individuals not only for what they’ve done on the field and in the classroom, but for what they’ve done to better the community that supported them throughout their college careers,” said Koch, who was an active volunteer while at SCSU. “These awards ... represent much more than any All-Conference or All-American award really ever could.”

The two awards cap a long list of outstanding achievements during Koch’s tenure at SCSU. Additional national awards include the 2006 Division II Conference Commissioners Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2006 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award (track and field), 2005 Draddy Trophy Finalist (considered the academic Heisman) and a 2005 National Football Foundation Scholarship of $18,000.

Ryan and his brother Jason are the first siblings to win the Woody Hayes Scholar Athlete Award. “I’m probably more proud of receiving the Woody Hayes Award than any other because of what it means to my entire family,” said Koch, as it highlights “the support of our parents in becoming who we are today.”

Koch majored in computer science and minored in Spanish.
He maintained a 4.00 grade point average while competing in football and track and field. He is employed by Securian Financial Group of St. Paul as an application developer in the information services department.

What’s ahead for Koch? He said he is looking for his niche in the business world and continues to train, as the Arena Football League is still a possibility. “And, eventually I’ll put to use the postgraduate scholarship money that I was very blessed to receive.” Koch’s ultimate goal is to start a camp for underprivileged children and extend the humanitarianism his awards highlight.

“I know that I am much better prepared to achieve my goals after spending my time at St. Cloud State. I owe so much to my teammates, coaches, professors and the University as a whole.”

- Anne Abicht

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