ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – Wingate University's Christopher Birozes was voted the South Atlantic Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Conference office announced today.
The South Atlantic Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is presented annually to one student-athlete in each of the Conference's championship sports, and is voted on by the SAC's Faculty Athletic Representatives Committee. The winners are selected based on their achievements in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Birozes, a senior from Suwanee, Ga., holds a 3.728 GPA while majoring in finance with a minor in biology. A two-time Google Cloud Academic All-America® selection and three-time Google Cloud Academic All-District® pick, Birozes has also been named to the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll three times and is a three-time Wingate President's List honoree.
"There are very few football players in the country like Christopher," said Wingate head coach Joe Reich. "He is the epitome of the ideal student-athlete. I don't know that I've ever coached anyone like him in 30 years. He's highly focused, extremely hard working and totally dedicated. Add in that he missed an entire year with a life-threatening condition and then came back to be an Academic All-America® for a second time is amazing. He's also a young man of great faith, which he truly lives every day."
In addition to his outstanding academic achievements, Birozes has been outstanding on the football field. During the 2018 season he led the league in punts with 74, averaging 43 yards per punt with 20 punts landing inside the 20-yard line. He was a first team All-SAC selection and was a William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist. He was also named SAC Special Teams Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 4.
An active member of the community, Birozes is a five-time Wingate football special teams captain and has been an active participant in Wingate's annual Football Special Olympics Day. He has volunteered his time at the Levine Children's Hospital and has spent time working with Habitat for Humanity. He also traveled to Nicaragua as part of the Pinecrest Academy mission trip where he did light construction, delivered food and worked with local children.
Birozes story goes well beyond the football field or the classroom, as he was diagnosed with Wilson's Disease in the fall of 2015. Within three months of his diagnosis of liver failure he was on the liver transplant list and received his transplant on January 28, 2016. He has made a triumphant return to the football field over the last two years earning numerous awards and helping the Bulldogs capture the 2017 SAC Championship.
Football Scholar-Athlete Finalists
Ronnie Clifton, Lenoir-Rhyne
Kelly Donnelly, Tusculum
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