June 4, 2010

Puckett Recognized With Volleyball Emtman Award

Freshman from Tekoa, Wash. honored for work ethic, perseverance and character.

Freshman Shelby Puckett of the Eastern Washington University volleyball team was recently selected as the recipient of the 2010 Emtman award. This honor, administered by EWU head strength and conditioning coach Jeff Carroll, recognizes one volleyball student-athlete who exhibits strong work ethic, perseverance, character and a team-first attitude.

“Shelby made tremendous gains in the weight room this year,” commended Carroll. “She worked extremely hard and really improved the most out of anyone on the squad. She is certainly deserving of this award.”

Puckett, a native of Tekoa, Wash., was the only true freshman to see action during the 2009 campaign, as she played in 24 of EWU’s 29 matches. She registered a career-high six kills and three blocks on three separate occasions and was named to the Big Sky All-Academic team.

The Emtman award is named after Steve Emtman, a Cheney native who was selected first in the 1992 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He had a six-year career in the NFL with the Colts, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Before going pro, Emtman played three years at the University of Washington, where he was an essential part of the 1991 national championship team. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and won the Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award and Bill Willis Award. At UW, he earned a reputation as one of the strongest and fastest defensive lineman to ever play college football.

“Miles [Kydd] and I truly admire everything Emtman stood for as an athlete, and we wanted to pay tribute to that,” said Carroll. “He is a hard-working, determined individual, who has made great contributions to this community. We’d hoped this award would inspire volleyball student-athletes to approach training with the same work ethic and attitude as Emtman has.”

In addition to earning the Volleyball Entman Award, Puckett has another unique connection to the strength and conditioning legacy at EWU. The weight room at Eastern is dedicated to another Tekoa product, former Eagle football standout William “Bink” P. Wall. Wall was a linebacker for the 1967 squad that won 11 straight games and played in the NAIA championship game, and was later inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame. Wall, like Puckett, had a passion for hard work and embraced weight training to improve his athletic skills. Following his football career, Wall was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was fatally wounded in the Vietnam War on April 1, 1970.

Puckett, who graduated from Tekoa High School in 2009, was given her high school’s Outstanding Female Athlete Award, which incidentally, was presented to Puckett at graduation by two of “Bink” Wall’s sisters.

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