Men's Basketball Celebrates Season; Forrester's Contract Extended
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE men's basketball celebrated its 2011-2012 season Wednesday night with its annual awards banquet at Crystal Garden.
As part of the presentation, Dr. Brad Hewitt, SIUE Director of Athletics, announced that he had given a three-year contract extension to Head Coach Lennox Forrester.
"We appreciate (Forrester's) commitment and dedication shown to the program over the last five years through certification," Hewitt said. "We are proud of our improvements on the court and very proud of the academic performance and graduation rates of the men's basketball team."
The team finished the year with a 10-17 overall record, including eight wins over Division I opponents - the most since making the jump to Division I competition. SIUE finished with a 6-10 record in its first season of competition in the Ohio Valley Conference, good for ninth place.
"Lennox brought great values to our program; values like commitment, dedication, accountability, hard work, and character," Hewitt continued. "He has successfully transferred those values to our student-athletes."
"I want to thank Dr. Hewitt and Chancellor (Vaughn) Vandegrift for their continued support in me, in allowing me to run this program," Forrester said. "The commitment is there to get this program where it needs to be."
Junior Mark Yelovich was awarded the team Most Valuable Player award, as voted by his fellow players, after leading the team in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg).
Stineman was awarded the Matthew Yelovich Memorial Scholarship, named for the older brother of Mark, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2008, Mark's freshman year. Derian Shaffer was honored as the team's most improved player, recognizing his growth as a player during the season. Reggie Reed was chosen for the Defense Award, while Wickware (free throws) and Kris Davis (three point) were honored for leading the team in statistical categories.
"It was a great night to recap the season," Forrester said. "It is good to honor the individual achievements of our players that have come through team success."
Long-time supporter of the program Bob Njai was honored with the Cougars' Sixth Man Award for his continued support of Cougars basketball. Stineman and Boarden were co-winners of the Gerry Schlemer Cougar Pride Award.
At the end of the night, Stineman presented a surprise gift to outgoing Chancellor Vandegrift on behalf of the team. Stineman and Forrester presented Vandegrift a framed, autographed Cougar jersey featuring the name Vandegrift and the number 1. Stineman said it was because of Vandegrift that the players were able to "live their dream of playing Division I basketball."
"It's important to be able to honor the Chancellor for what he has done for this program, the Department, and the University," Forrester said. "We have continued to grow on the court; our players graduate; and the past two years we have had the highest grade point average in the OVC. All of that is because of the commitment he has made."