For its ability to succeed in the face of heart-breaking adversity, the Colorado Christian University’s (CCU) women’s basketball team is one of four finalists for the Russell Athletic “Together We R” Team Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Monday.
The CCU Cougars are joined by the University of North Carolina, Purdue University and the University of South Carolina.
The award also honors programs that have overcome extraordinary circumstances such as an unforeseen team crisis, barrier or unfortunate situation that caused extra stress. The team must exemplify strong commitment to core values of togetherness, courage, unparalleled work ethic and heart, and must personify the "Together We R" belief that teams are stronger than individuals.
Colorado Christian University lost team manager Kaylee McBeth for want of a heart transplant. The 19-year-old CCU sophomore learned of her heart condition as a high school freshman at Faith Christian High School. The condition kept her from competing as a player. She enrolled at CCU in 2012 and served as the Cougar’s manager for a year-and-a half. She passed away January 19, 2014 at her home.
“Kaylee was the heart of our team and we are so excited to share her faith and story in front of so many people. Because of Kaylee our team chose to play as one heartbeat and with the same passion, love and dedication she gave every day as our manager. She was an extremely important member of our team. She attended every practice and game and encouraged our players through their own injuries and hardships. She chose to live well and she did,” said Cougars Assistant Basketball Coach Jessika Caldwell.
Fans can support the Cougars in their nomination by “Liking” their video on YouTube.
Starting today, WBCA members and fans alike can vote by "liking" the video for the team they think is most deserving of the award. The fans' choice, determined by the video receiving the most "likes," will receive one additional vote when the selection committee chooses the winner. Voting ends at 5 p.m. ET Friday, March 14.
The recipient of the "Together We R" Team Award will be announced and formally recognized during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. CT Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel's Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®.