BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - Dr. Bruce Myers and Dr. Gail Richard have been named the inaugural winners of the Ohio Valley Conference Thurston Banks Award for Distinguished Academic Service.
The award was established to recognize an individual (e.g. academic advisor, professor, tutor, etc.), with at least five years of service at one or more OVC member institutions, for his or her outstanding contributions to OVC student-athletes' academic success, learning and development as well for his or her overall commitment to the institution's athletics program.
The award is named after Dr. Thurston Banks, who served the Tennessee Tech Department of Athletics for 31 of his 34 years on the faculty and served as the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) for 25 years before stepping down in 2006. He was inducted into the OVC Hall of Fame in 2007.
Myers is currently the Chair of the Computer Science and Information Technology Department at Austin Peay and has served APSU for over 40 years, including serving as the Department's FAR since 1994.
He was named to Faculty Athletics Committee in the late 1980s and was appointed committee chair in 1995. In his role as FAR he was instrumental in APSU adopting priority registration which has had a positive impact on not only student-athletes but also all scholarship students attending the university. He has served on the NCAA Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee and NCAA Research Committee, the latter helping formulate data to help determine the Academic Progress Report (APR).
In addition, Myers has helped lead APSU athletics through a pair of NCAA Certifications (2000, 2007) and through the NCAA Certification process has served on NCAA Peer Review teams to review self studies of other NCAA institutions.
A longtime member of the Governors Club, he has been a member of the booster organization's executive committee since 1995. He has supported all the APSU athletic programs in a variety of ways and is often in attendance at a multitude of contests. Myers was inducted into APSU's prestigious Red Coat Society in 2011; the society serves as the Hall of Fame of service for the Governors Club.
Myers also has served nearly 15 years as member of the University's Athletics Hall of Fame Committee. He has also served as the official scorekeeper for home Austin Peay men's basketball games since the Dunn Center opened in the 1975-76 season.
Richard is currently the Department Chair for Communication Disorders and Sciences at Eastern Illinois University. She has served the University for 30 years including being the department's FAR from 1994-2011.
After receiving her graduate degree from EIU she began her teaching career in 1981 and her association with the athletics department. She served as the department's head women's tennis coach from 1983-86 before moving into a role on the Intercollegiate Athletics Board. Richard served in that role until 1994 when she was named the Eastern Illinois' Faculty Athletics Representative and Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Board.
She has served on the NCAA Division I Management Council (2004-08) as well as being instrumental with NCAA certification at EIU, serving as the chair of the academic integrity subcommittee. Richard has also been on the Eastern Illinois Presidential Task Force for athletics funding in addition to serving on multiple search committees for job openings within the athletics department. She has also been involved with the EIU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as well as serving as a spotter for football games on the Panthers Radio Network.
In addition Richard has served as the Chair of Faculty Senate and the Board of Directors of the national Speech-Language Pathology organization. She has published eight books, 15 articles, five book chapters and numerous other materials related to her field and earned the EIU Distinguished Faculty Award, the Department Chair Leadership Award and the College of Science Ringenberg Award, the highest honor a member of the EIU College of Science can receive.