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EKU Lineman tackles scholar award two years in a row
With a 3.8 GPA, Emory Attig shows his prowess extends to the classroom as well as the gridiron
Emory Attig is ending his college career on a definite high note.
For the second consecutive year, Attig, a senior on Eastern Kentucky’s football team, has won the Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete award.
The award is the highest honor an individual can earn in the OVC. Each year three men and three women of junior or senior status are chosen from a group of 20 finalists by a vote from OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives based on their accomplishments in academics, athletics and their leadership qualities.
In order to be eligible the players had to perform well athletically, have at least a 3.25 GPA and conduct themselves in a manner, which has brought credit to the student-athlete, his or her institution, intercollegiate athletics and the OVC.
“I actually got a call from someone in our athlete academic success center who told me that I’d been selected as one of the six people in our conference,” Attig said. “It was pretty cool.”
Attig, a native of Alpharetta, Georgia, is in his final season of eligibility with the EKU football team. The defensive tackle has been a starter for the team dating back to the 2009 season.
In 2010, he was named a second-team All-OVC selection after registering 35 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.0 sacks and forcing and recovering a fumble during the season. And this season, Attig was also selected as a member of the Capital One Academic All-District football team.
Attig just hasn’t been getting things done on the football field, though. Off the gridiron he already has an undergraduate degree in communication and is working on a second degree in business. He carries a 3.84 grade point average, has been a Dean’s List honoree six times, named a Colonel Scholar for the last six semesters, an OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll pick three times and a two-time OVC Medal of Honor recipient.
“Not surprised at all,” Director of Athletics Mark Sandy said about Attig winning the award. “He’s an outstanding student and a great leader on the football team and obviously a good football player.”
It’s players like Attig that make Eastern what it is.
In a recent NCAA report, Eastern has graduated 82 percent of its student athletes who entered college in 2001-2004 on scholarship. Eastern’s graduation success rate is the highest in the conference and among all Division I institutions in the state of Kentucky.
Sandy gives credit to two things that helped Eastern succeed.
“It’s the type of student-athletes our coaches recruit. They try to recruit students who could be successful at EKU,” Sandy said. “And we have very outstanding people in the Bratzke Center, our academic support area. They do a great job working with our student-athletes when they get behind or they need a tutor and encouraging them.”
Attig is a prime example of the successful Eastern student-athlete.
Attig considers time management important. He said setting up a routine where you can set aside time for studying or working on projects is crucial. He stressed how important it is to watch your time carefully.
“You really try and focus on the game and the weekend, but you also got to focus on the test you might have coming up,” Attig said. “It gets pretty nerve-racking if you’ve got a test on Friday and a game on Saturday. With them so close together, you’ve got to have your priorities straight.”
For some people, balancing sports, school and personal relationships would be difficult. Attig says his drive in school, football and the community helps him strive to succeed in his relationships. He enjoys spending time with his teammates off the field and has a girlfriend of four years.
When dealing with studying, Attig has found numerous ways to stay on top of his work. If he knows he has an away game that weekend, he finishes all of his homework and studying so he can stay focused on the game during the bus drive.
When working on group projects, he meets with his group early in the week so games don’t interfere. He studies with classmates and goes to them if he’s ever having difficulties. The professors in the communication department were also a big help to him.
He sees athletics as a good way to get an employer’s attention.
“Athletics brings a lot to the table,” he said. “Right now, with me applying for jobs, when being interviewed by people, I tell them I was part of an athletic team and their eyes always light up. They see you’re a part of a team, that you were always striving for a goal constantly. Employers like to see that you were a part of a team atmosphere.”
Even with his schedule packed with school, sports and relationships, Attig still finds time to go out and serve his community. Over the course of his college career he has worked for Habitat for Humanity and the OVC’s canned food drive. Over the summer, Attig and several other football team players went to Winchester and helped put siding on a house. He said the football coaches do a good job informing the team of different community service opportunities.
“I just did enough to get by in high school,” Attig said. “When I first got here I wasn’t that great so I was a little worried that, maybe, it’s not all about football, it’s also about school.”
By Matt Crump, The Eastern Progress