Kyle Steigenga Named the 2017 NAIA Emil Liston Award Winner
by Aaron Sagraves
In an announcement made Friday as part of its national awards day, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has named Kyle Steigenga of Cornerstone University the winner of the prestigious Emil S. Liston Award. The marks the first honor in school history for this award.
"Kyle has exemplified what it means to be an NAIA student-athlete during his time at our university," said Director of Athletics Chip Huber. "He has obviously been one of the best players in the country since his first game as a freshman on our men's basketball team and has led us to the highest levels of success in both the regular and postseason contexts. Perhaps even more impressive is that his academic performance may even better his prowess on the basketball court. He is one of the best students on our campus in his academic program and simply chooses to be prepared and engaged every day as a college student."
The Emil S. Liston award, presented by Daktronics, recognizes academic and athletic excellence by junior student-athletes in men's and women's basketball. Named in honor of the NAIA's first executive secretary and a prime mover behind the men's basketball tournament, the Emil Liston Scholarship Award has been presented annually since 1950 to one junior men's and one junior women's basketball student-athlete. Each student is awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
"Kyle is a once-in-a-lifetime player," said head coach Kim Elders. "He's the whole package: one of the best players ever at Cornerstone and in the NAIA, he's an incredible person of character, has a tremendous walk with God and has done a terrific job in the classroom. What more can you ask for? His influence in our program and on our campus has been unbelievable. Everyone looks up to Kyle and respects him."
The three-time 1st Team All-American reached the 2,000-point scoring mark during his junior season while maintaining a 3.97 G.P.A. and has been recognized as a 1st Team CoSIDA Academic All-American twice. He also is a member of the Golden Eagles outdoor track team and was recently named a 2nd Team CoSIDA Academic All-American.
During his three years thus far, Kyle has led the men's basketball team to an overall record of 94-16 while claiming two WHAC regular season and two WHAC Tournament titles as well as a 2015 NAIA DII National Championship and 2017 NAIA DII National Runner-up finish.
The forward averaged 21.8 points and 9.8 rebounds last season while playing in 33.3 minutes per game. He shot .623 from the floor and all three of those stats ranked inside the Top-10 nationally by the end of the season.
"Kyle's impact and legacy in our athletic community is deep and wide here at Cornerstone," added Huber. "When I look at the things this award is designed to recognize, Kyle simply exemplifies the combination of athletic and academic success like no other college athlete I have been around in my educational career."