June 21, 2012

Kylie Muntz Earns Swears Courage Award

Big Rapids, Mich. - Junior Kylie Muntz (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne) of the Ferris State University women's basketball team has been selected as the 2011-12 recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's Jimmy Swears Courage Award.

Muntz had her best season as a Bulldog women's basketball player this past year despite the fact her father had been recently diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of the year. Through her committment and spirited determination, Muntz played an integral part in the team's noteworthy success.

In 2011-12, Muntz played a key role off the bench on a team that won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship for only the second time in school history and reached the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals. 

She also was on hand as the Bulldogs honored cancer survivors during the squad's annual Pink Wave Night in February.  It had a profound impact on her personally as her aunt is also a two-time breast cancer survivor.       

"Kylie's determination and character allowed her to succeed and deal with difficult circumstances," said Ferris State Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger.  "We are pleased to honor her courageousness with this award and we are very proud of what she accomplished. She displayed dedication, toughness and spirit thru it all."

The Jimmy Swears Courage Award is presented to a deserving student or current personnel within the Bulldog Athletics program, who when confronted with a life-altering situation, has used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the odds.  Nominees are an inspiration to their peers, serve as a role model to others and are a team leader while responding to adversity.  Those individuals nominated for the award must be involved with the Bulldog intercollegiate athletics program and possibily include student-athletes, student managers, student coaches and/or student athletic trainers in addition to current athletics department personnel.

The award is named in honor of longtime FSU Athletics booster Jim Swears, who passed away Jan. 17, 2007, at the age of 64 following a lengthy bout with cancer.  A local businessman and community activist, Swears was a strong supporter of Ferris State men's ice hockey, football, and basketball.  He worked diligently to help develop and maintain FSU's status as a NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program.  Additionally, Swears served on the board of directors for the Big Rapids Area Junior Hockey Association and was an active member of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association.  He was the 2006 recipient of the Northern Lights Lifetime Achievement Award for business and industry in the Big Rapids (Mich.) area. 

Muntz saw action in all 30 games for the Bulldogs in 2011-12 and averaged nearly 16 minutes per contest as FSU matched a school-record with 23 wins on the season.  She scored 98 points and had 38 rebounds while also recording 30 assists and 24 steals. For her efforts, she was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team for her work both on the court and in the classroom.

Muntz is the fifth-ever winner of the Jimmy Swears Courage Award and the first women's basketball player to earn the recognition.

Jimmy Swears Courage Award Recipients
2011-12 - Kylie Muntz (Women's Basketball)
2010-11 - Natalie Diorio (Women's Tennis)
2009-10 - Richard Weisenberger (Men's Golf)
2008-09 - Aaron Lewicki (Men's Ice Hockey)
2007-08 - No recipient
2006-07 - Mark Bomersback (Men's Ice Hockey)