OLATHE, Kansas – Baker University head dance coach Lynsey Payne was named the 2016-17 Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of Character Award winner, announced on Monday at the 2017 Heart Summitt at the Embassy Suites.
This annual award is given to a head coach of an NAIA institution who has been outstanding in embracing the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, using methods of teaching character through sport, and in community leadership through volunteering or service.
Payne will now be the Heart representative in the NAIA Coach of Character Award nomination. The NAIA Coach of Character award winner will be announced in September.
"Lynsey is extremely passionate about dance and its ability to teach student-athletes life lessons," said Baker Director of Athletics, Theresa Yetmar. "For Lynsey it is not just about the wins and losses. She sets the bar extremely high and never wavers on her standards. She truly believes in our NAIA Champions of Character programs and our student-athletes responsibility to give back to the community on our campus and at-large."
The 2016-17 Baker competitive dance team competed in the first-ever NAIA Competitive Dance National Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and finished in third-place.
Also at the national championship in Oklahoma City, the BU dance team became Baker's first-ever recipient of the prestigious 2017 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award.
Baker is the only competitive dance team across the NAIA to receive this award and the first in the history of Baker Athletics to earn the award. A single team is selected for each of the 25 NAIA National Championship sports.
Payne has served as the head dance coach at Baker for 10 seasons and has been a certified athletic trainer for the Wildcats for 12 seasons.