sadler honored with national award

May 9, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University professor and Dean of the School of Religion and Philosophy Dr. Paul Sadler was recognized recently for his work with WBU athletics, receiving the Wally Schwartz Award at the 70th Annual NAIA National Convention Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Mo.

              Sadler, who just completed his 21st year in Wayland’s School of Religion, has served as the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) for the past 15 years. The Schwartz award is presented to the FAR of the year as voted on by peers.

              “There are a couple of things that make this special to me,” said Sadler. “One is that it is a vote of your peers. The people who do this kind of work are the ones who decide on the recipient. That tells you something about the nature of the award.”

Dr. Paul Sadler Sadler said the other aspect of the award that makes it so special is the man for whom it is named. Wally Schwartz was a past NAIA Vice President of Legislative Services. Award recipients are those who “exemplify the loyalty, enthusiasm and honesty that Schwartz displayed during and beyond his time at the NAIA.”

              “He became kind of a legend in the NAIA,” Sadler said. “He worked to enhance the role of the FAR and everybody who is a faculty representative or has worked in the NAIA knows how important he has been.”

              As Wayland’s Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Sadler works with coaches and students to determine athletes’ eligibility based on academic achievement and other criteria.

              “It’s number crunching,” Sadler said. “But what I enjoy is that it gives me contact with students who I otherwise would not be in contact with. You get to see a lot of success stories, and you have to deal with a few sad situations where students are not eligible to play.”

              Dr. Sadler took over the FAR position at Wayland 15 years ago when then FAR Emmitt Tipton left the classroom to take the position of Dean of Students. Guidelines specifically state that the FAR must be a faculty member. Sadler, who was working at the time as the public address announcer at Wayland basketball games, was asked to take over the role. Sadler has never regretted taking the position, saying it gives him a chance to watch students enjoy what they do.

              Sadler was accompanied to the banquet in April by Wayland Administrators Dr. Greg Feris, director of athletics, and Dr. Bobby Hall, provost and executive vice president. Sadler’s son, whose child was born two days before the banquet, sent a special message that was delivered by Dr. Hall during the award presentation.

              “That was a special moment,” Sadler said. “Having the Wayland administrators there and some really great colleagues from the Sooner Athletic Conference made it a very special occasion.”

              Next spring, Wayland track athlete Caleb McLean will be recognized at the annual banquet as the Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the NAIA. It is awarded to an NAIA athlete who exemplifies the five core character values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.