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Sport Scene A blast for athletes40 years of hockey

Winter 2007 • Volume 13, Issue 1


Basketball forward poses with Pep Cooke, a major contributor to the BU Building Leadership And Supporting Teams (B.L.A.S.T.) program.

NCAA program is a blast for athletes

by Aimée Roy

Today’s college athletes face challenges on and off the playing field, including being in the national spotlight. To help them prepare for life after college, in 1994 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) developed a life skills program model to provide personal development for each student-athlete based on his or her individual needs. The focus of the program is holistic, addressing the needs of the whole person athletically, academically, personally, and emotionally.

The Bradley Athletics Life Skills program, BU B.L.A.S.T. – Building Leadership And Supporting Teams, was developed in 1996 with that focus in mind. Student-athletes have access to academic advisement, tutoring, study tables, nutrition education, drug and alcohol education, and career development workshops.

They have opportunities to make meaningful contributions to their communities and learn the value of service to others by doing volunteer work with the American Red Cross, Special Olympics of Illinois, and the Pediatric Cancer Association. They can also read to children at Franklin Edison School in Peoria as part of the Just Read Program, a collaborative effort among Valley member schools, the Missouri Valley Conference, and State Farm, the corporate sponsor.

“The BU B.L.A.S.T. program is designed to help our student-athletes develop life skills but also to enhance the overall quality of their experience while at Bradley. Our hope is that they will continue to make a difference in their respective communities after graduation, and also stay connected with Bradley,” said Virnette House-Browning, senior associate athletic director.

While the NCAA offers some financial support for the program, Bradley’s needs include underwriting for the annual academic honors luncheon, senior social, sport consultants on nutrition, and speakers on drug and alcohol education. Private donors, such as Rev. Dr. Joanne “Pep” Cooke, have offered support. “For the past three years, Pep has been a major contributor to the BU B.L.A.S.T. program and has provided funds for a student intern to help administer the program,” said Tom Hammerton, assistant vice president/campaign leadership gifts. The former United Methodist pastor, college professor, basketball official, and athletic administrator is “a huge fan of Bradley men’s and women’s basketball,” Hammerton said. “She has a big heart. She helps out with anything we ask.”

For more information about BU B.L.A.S.T., see “Support Groups” at


Teri ChanTeri Chan ‘07 broke the Bradley women’s tennis career record for singles victories. Chan, co-captain of the team, achieved her 60th career victory September 16 at the Drake Fall Invitational. Joie Rolf ’87, who held the record for 20 years, had achieved 59 career wins.