By Jackson Heiden
During the COVID-19 shutdown, many things in the world came to a halt, however, Grand Rapids Community College student-athletes were able to continue their collegiate athletic careers safely.
While many colleges and universities were postponing or canceling their athletic seasons due to the shutdown, GRCC athletics didn’t hold back all thanks to former Raider basketball player and head coach David Selmon, who was serving as the interim athletic director at the time.
Selmon was recently honored by the Michigan Community College Athletic Association for his leadership. Only happening three times in the conference’s history, Selmon was awarded the MCCAA Appreciation Award.
“Dave decided to roll up his sleeves, lean in, and create a safe path forward for GRCC student-athletes to participate in athletics without pause,” said MCCAA’s executive director Al Perry in a press release. “(Selmon’s) leadership inside and outside of GRCC was extremely beneficial to our association.
“In our region, we had several athletic programs that shut down completely, several of which have yet to begin again; and, honestly, might never begin again. But MCCAA has grown,” Perry said. “This is directly related to leadership like Dave’s during the toughest of times. We are grateful to Selmon’s time, energy and effort during his time as GRCC interim athletic director and for this, we awarded him the MCCAA Appreciation Award.”
Selmon set safety protocols and minimized the amount of out-of-state traveling that the GRCC teams endured. Partnering with Ferris State University, they provided weekly COVID tests for students, athletes, and staff members and because of this, all GRCC teams competed during the pandemic with minimal season delays.
Because of all that Selmon did to provide an opportunity for the students, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams finished top 10 in the nation with Joshua Kipoech and Audrey Meyering being named National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans. The volleyball and women’s basketball teams all made an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament, with basketball player Shonyah Hawkins gaining All-American honors.
“Dave has put students first his entire career,” said GRCC’s associate provost and dean of student affairs Tina Hoxie. “He made it very clear that student safety and their academic success were the top priorities and he made difficult decisions. He worked hard to make sure student-athletes could accomplish their education goals, continue to compete, and compete safely.”
“I’m very honored to be recognized by the MCCAA, but I share the credit with the GRCC colleagues who were focused on keeping our students safe, and the athletes who recognized the seriousness of the situation and followed the protocols we set in place. The pandemic disrupted us, but it didn’t defeat us,” Selmon said.