Leslie Chosen for Booth Award, Coffman Earns Williams Award, at WU Athletic Awards Night

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior football quarterback Grant Leslie (Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) and senior cross country and track and field athlete Maddie Coffman (Boise, ID/Boise HS) received the top awards during the Willamette University Athletic Awards Night on Tuesday, May 5. The event was held at the Mission Mill Museum.

Leslie won the J.H. Booth Award, which is presented each year to the senior male athlete who most exemplifies and demonstrates outstanding leadership, scholarship and athleticism. Coffman was selected for the Jean Williams Award, which goes to a senior female athlete who has shown exceptional leadership, scholarship and athletic success throughout her years at Willamette.

Leslie was a leader on the 2008 Willamette football team that achieved a 10-0 regular season record and earned a berth into the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Willamette defeated Occidental College in the first round of the playoffs, before losing to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the defending national champion, in the second round. The Bearcats won the Northwest Conference championship with a 6-0 record and concluded the year at 11-1.

During the season, Leslie completed 114 of 194 passes (58.8%) for 1,914 yards and 19 touchdowns. He ranked fifth in NCAA Division III with a passing efficiency rating of 170.86. He threw just three interceptions during the year. He was named First Team All-Northwest Conference.

Leslie helped Willamette set school records for points in a season (498) and touchdowns in a season (69). He led the Bearcat offense to 4,987 total yards, as the team averaged 41.5 points per game. WU ranked #6 in the nation in scoring offense.

In his career, Leslie completed 172 of 328 passes (52.4%) for 2,630 yards and 24 touchdowns. He played in 24 games, including a 12-4 record in 16 starts. He was a team captain as a junior and a senior. Leslie also has competed in basketball for three seasons and golf for two seasons.

As a student, he is participating in Willamette’s 3/2 MBA program. He owns a 3.25 cumulative grade point average to go with an undergraduate major in Economics. He has been an athlete mentor at South Salem High School and has volunteered at Bush Elementary School and the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Coffman took fourth place at the 2008 NCAA Division III Championships in cross country, as she completed the 6-kilometer course in 21:05.97, helping Willamette finish 15th in the women’s team standings. She also won the NCAA West Region title in 21:26.99 and claimed the Northwest Conference individual championship in 21:31.27. She was named West Region Athlete of the Year, while earning First Team All-Region and First Team All-NWC honors.

She achieved All-America recognition in cross country in 2007 and 2008. She finished 11th in the nation behind national champion Sarah Zerzan of Willamette at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

In track and field, Coffman has recorded NCAA provisional qualifying times of 4:34.24 in the 1,500-meter run and 17:02.33 in the 5,000-meter run. Her time in the 5,000 ranks second on Willamette’s all-time list. She also ranks second on the all-time list in the 1,500 with a time of 4:32.99 in 2007. She competed at the NCAA Championships in 2007 and placed ninth in the 1,500.

Coffman has a 3.79 cumulative grade point average and is majoring in Biology. She is a four-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection in cross country and a three time All-Academic selection in track and field.

She has been an academic tutor for student-athletes and has been a teaching assistant in biology. She has participated in the leadership staff at YMCA summer camps.

Willamette also honored the seniors on its 20 intercollegiate teams during the Athletic Awards Night. The traditional Willamette blankets were distributed to four-year seniors, along with certificates for seniors who competed as Bearcats for only a portion of their collegiate careers. A total of 68 seniors were recognized for contributions to Willamette Athletics.

Several special awards chosen by the Willamette coaching staff were presented. The Charles Bowles Coach of the Year Awards went to Head Coach Mark Speckman (Football) and to Assistant Coach Glen Fowles (Football Offensive Coordinator). Stasinos Stavrianeas, an associate professor of Exercise Science at Willamette, was chosen Professor of the Year.

Former WU basketball and football player Mike Plank received the Community Service Award for his work in establishing an athletic mentoring program at South Salem High School.

The seven members of the Willamette Board of Trustees who served on the Trustee Working Group on Athletics (TWGA) were selected for the Meritorious Service Award. U.S. Olympic track and field athlete Nick Symmonds ’06, who provided the keynote address, also received the Meritorious Alumni Award. Sarah Brooks, who was the interim head coach of the women’s basketball team following the death of Head Coach Bruce Henderson, received a Special Recognition Award for her efforts.

Willamette also paid tribute to the four long-time members of the coaching staff who are leaving the Bearcats at the end of the semester.

Steve Prothero recently completed his 44th season at the men’s golf coach. Gordie James coached the WU men’s basketball team for 22 seasons. Al Stephenson was the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming teams for 12 seasons and also spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach. Tom Hibbard was the head coach of the women’s golf team the past seven years. Prothero and James also received Meritorious Service Awards from the Northwest Conference for serving as head coaches for more than 15 years.

Grant Leslie completed 58.8% of his passes and ranked fifth in in the nation with a 170.86 passing efficiency rating in 2008.

Grant Leslie completed 58.8% of his passes and ranked fifth in in the nation with a 170.86 passing efficiency rating in 2008.