by Dick Quinn
The call to inform Williams College that senior forward and co-captain Blake Schultz from Menlo School had been selected as the winner of the Jostens Trophy was received a little after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Normally the Williams men's basketball team practices between 4 and 6 p.m., but a walk to the gym revealed that lights were on in head coach Mike Maker's office.
"Coach, no practice today?"
"No, we've been giving them Tuesdays off throughout the season."
"Well, can I get some quotes from you on Blake Schultz winning the Jostens Trophy?"
"Are you kidding me – that's tremendous!"
A long pause ensues. "Wow, when have you ever seen me speechless," asked Maker.
"This would be the first time coach."
"I'm so happy for Blake."
Maker takes out his cell phone and dials Schultz's number.
"Hey coach, what's up?"
"Where are you?"
"I'm in the library studying for a physical chem test I have tonight."
"Well, I'm here with DQ and we just wanted to call and tell you that you've won the Jostens Trophy."
"Wow, that's really awesome," said Schultz, an Atherton native. "As far as individual awards goes this is the most meaningful because of all it represents. It's really special because Michael Nogelo [Williams '98 was the first recipient and since I've been at Williams I've always looked up to him… This is a great award for our team and our school. Thank you so much for telling me."
A nationwide committee voted on the 10 finalists to receive the 2010 Jostens Trophy that will be presented to Schultz by the Salem [Va. Rotary Club at their luncheon on Thursday, March 18th at the Salem Civic Center.
Schultz hopes to be in Salem for just more than the awards ceremony. Williams is hosting sectional basketball semifinals and finals this Friday and Saturday. Two wins puts the whole team in Salem, Va., for the NCAA Division III Final Four and the Jostens presentation.
Schultz is the 13th recipient of the Jostens Trophy and the second Eph. Michale Nogelo was the first Eph and the first recipient of the Salem Rotary Club's Jostens Trophy in 1998. The trophy models the Rotary International motto of "Service above Self" by recognizing those who truly fit the ideal of the well-rounded Division III student-athlete. The award recognizes playing ability, academic performance and community service.
"This award speaks volumes of Blake as a player, a student and a person," said Maker. "I'm sure I speak for everyone at Williams in congratulating Blake on winning this prestigious award. Blake's work ethic and his commitment to improving his community should serve as a model to every student-athlete."
Schultz, an economics major, is a candidate for medical school and a finalist for Teach for America. He will defer medical school for two years to participate in the Teach for America Program.
At Williams, Schultz is the first two-time winner of Sinc Hart Award for a Williams men's basketball player, who has been a valued goodwill ambassador for his sport, college, and community through community service commitments. He has served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years; participated in the nationwide Best-Buddies program mentoring mentally challenged youths for three years and for two of those years was the treasurer of the Williams chapter.
Additionally, Schultz has coordinated Eph team relationships with the local A Better Chance (ABC) program and nearby Berkshire Farm Center (juvenile delinquents in a New York State residence facility), enabling the participants to visit practices and meet and correspond with players. Further, he coordinated free summer basketball camp opportunities for ABC students. He served also as the basketball team's Toys for Tots representative.
On the basketball court Schultz was named to the 2010 All-NESCAC First Team and is the NESCAC Player of the Year. He was twice named NESCAC Player of the week; MVP of the Williams Invitational.
(Dick Quinn is the Sports Information Director at Williams College)