HONOLULU, HI (FR) – She has a 4.0 grade point average, takes 18 credits, works part-time at a TV station, and speaks at high schools and churches throughout Hawaii. But despite the heavy load, University of Hawaii volleyball player Suzanne Eagye was able to pick up one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate sports – the Broderick Award – which goes to the top female athlete in the nation in each represented sport.
Eagye was also one of the key players that brought her team its first national title at the “Final Four” NCAA Championship in Indianapolis in December. Volleyball Monthly dubbed her as one of Hawaii’s legendary athletes.
Every university in the country nominates a woman athlete in 12 different intercollegiate sports, and a ballot of the nominees is sent to every women’s athletic director in the nation. Female athletes are selected on the basis of academic excellence, sportsmanship and extra-curricular activities. Eagye was the second female athlete at UH to win the award; her predecessor was former volleyball star Dietre Collins, who is now heading up the 1988 Olympic team.
Eagye commented about her expectations to win: “I was walking down the hall at school a few days before I found out I won it, and I saw a poster with the 1987 winners. I thought, ‘it would be so neat to win an award like that.’”
When she found that she won the Broderick Award, her teammates and coaches gave her a standing ovation at the Spring Athletic Banquet in April. “I was stunned and felt like it all happened because of God’s favor … I couldn’t take the credit for myself,” she said.
“The award has given me a lot of exposure. I’m doing a lot of speaking at high schools,” she added. What does she speak on? It isn’t the dynamics of volleyball playing. Instead, she eagerly shares about an experience that changed her life – her relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fellow teamplayers are very aware of Eagye’s devotion to Christ. Honolulu’s daily newspaper, the Star-Bulletin, recently published her testimony on the sports page. Entitled, “It wasn’t easy but I made it,” the story chronicled her faith in God and His influence upon her academics and athletic development.
“How am I going to survive this semester? With 16 credits on my pink slip and a possible title on the line, I was faced with the challenge of coming up a winner in two arenas: on the court and in the classroom,” Eagye wrote in the daily paper.
“When people ask me what is it that keeps me going, I think, ‘Is it pride?’ (Because although I dislike homework, I loath the label ‘dumb jock’ even more!) Is it determination? (Because I always strive to finish what I begin). Or is it faith? (Because I know that God will provide a way!) Of the three, the latter is my driving force.
“The stress and pressure last semester would have at one time put me ’6 feet under.’ (Or should I say 6’3” under?) But now, with my faith placed in God and not my own abilities, and with the support of my church, family, and friends behind me, I don’t doubt I will survive!”
Eagye concludes by saying: “My two highest points of last semester were one, finishing my last final exam (at last), and two, blocking the final point of the championship game. It was at these points I thought, ‘Yes, it wasn’t easy, but I made it, and it was worth it.’ And then I added, ‘Thanks God.’”