Managing Editor, host of Eastern Echo Sports Podcast, names 2013-14 Eagles of the Year

Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy calls out the play in the Eagles 61-59 double overtime loss to Northern Illinois Thursday in Dekalb.

The school year is quickly winding down and with it ends an eventful year for Eastern Michigan University’s athletic teams. As part of my weekly appearances on E-TV’s Eagles Sports Update, I share my “Eagle of the Week” – a player or coach who stands out to me for their performances in the week leading up to the show.

For this, the final issue of the school year (not counting the summer semester), I have compiled a list of my Eagles of the Year for all of EMU’s sports, as well as for some specialized categories.

Eagle of the Year

Coach Rob Murphy – Men’s Basketball

Murphy put the concept of creating a winning culture into practice over the last three years – leading his team to its best record since the 1996-97 season. What’s more – I think the best is yet to come.

All-Defensive Eagle of the Year

Da’Shonte Riley – Men’s Basketball

At the end of the 2012-13 season, Riley showed an intensity which was desperately needed – I just wondered why it came so late. This year, he took that and became a blocking machine – swatting away 96 shots (6.0 a game) on the way to earning Mid American Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

All-Offensive Eagle of the Year

Raven Lee – Men’s Basketball

Lee averaged 10.6 points per game this year – none bigger than his 38 against the University of Texas – Arlington. He’ll be back next year and I fully expect him to get even better.

Eagle Freshman of the Year

Cha Sweeney – Women’s Basketball

Sweeney came here touted as a defensive standout, but quickly became a scoring machine. She averaged 17.2 ppg and was named MAC Freshman of the Year. Enjoy, folks – there’s three more years of this.

Eagle Comeback Player of the Year

Olivia Fouty – Women’s Basketball

Fouty played in seven games last year, starting six – before suffering a season-ending knee injury. This year, she came back with a vengeance. She started 28 of the 30 games she appeared in, averaging 10.6 ppg and 8.2 rebounds per contest, but what really stood out was the way she emerged as a vocal leader of the team.

Eagle Senior of the Year

Sarah Chauchard – Women’s Track & Field

Chauchard was an Eagle for only one year, but she immediately turned heads – participating at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, as well as recording a few personal bests throughout the year.

Eagle Coach of the Year

Tory Verdi – Women’s Basketball

Verdi finished his second season as the coach of the women’s basketball team with a second round exit in the WBI tournament and a 18-14 record – a year removed from a 8-22 record. His recruiting has already made an impact. Players like Cha Sweeney and Janay Morton are scoring – a lot. Mark my words: Verdi will win a MAC title in the next three years.

Eagle Team of the Year

EMU Volleyball

The volleyball team was probably the most underrated team of the season. The Eagles made the MAC Tournament as an 8-seed, ultimately falling to Ohio University in the MAC Finals. Kudos to Coach Kim Berrington and the team for a great season.

Here are the Eagles of the Year – by sport.


Mike Mioduszewski

Men’s Basketball

Glenn Bryant

Women’s Basketball

Cha Sweeney

Olivia Fouty – Honorable Mention

Men’s Cross-Country

Grzegorz Kalinowski

Women’s Cross-Country

Victoria Voronko


Dustin Creel

Men’s Golf

Josh Heinze

Women’s Golf

Corey Crossan


Coach Steve Wilce

Anna Willette – Honorable Mention


Sarah Hillegonds, Ashley Gilmore, Taylor Cyr, Lyndsey Tollas

Men’s Swimming & Diving

Coach Peter Linn

Dan Proctor – Honorable Mention

Women’s Swimming & Diving

Meghan Richardson


Bianca Rossi

Cara Cutaia – Honorable Mention


Lindsay Rich, Amanda Stanton, Lauren Wells, Lindsay Smith


Nino Mebuke

Women’s Track & Field

Victoria Voronko

Men’s Track & Field

Solomon Ijah


Paige Roback


Vincent Pizzuto, Jared Germaine, Phillip Joseph, Brandon Zeerip

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Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho

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