03/08/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2018 22:52
A junior from Monroe, N.C., Speed is a Health & Physical Education major with a 3.79 GPA. He was presented the Dr. Joseph Laythe Award by President Dr. H. Fred Walker in recognition of his dedication to championing justice through both on- and off-campus contributions.
The award was created in honor of Laythe, a well-loved EU history professor who died in March 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer. His daughter Lydia spoke about her father to introduce the award.
As a member of the wheelchair basketball team, he has helped the Fighting Scots to a 14-13 record and a fifth seed in the upcoming National Wheelchair Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament. He has played in 22 games, averaging 4.0 ppg. and 3.4 rpg.
Head coach noted, ' Will has been in a wheelchair for over 10 years and has barriers in front of him daily. While most people would complain and make excuses, Will fights and finds ways to accomplish. Will always looks to show that he has the ability to overcome anything and do whatever he wants to do.'
Speed has figured out how to participate in watersports by adapting a wakeboard, and then partnered with Wake the World in Charlotte NC to start and continue to run adaptive water sports clinics. He also worked with USA waterski to help establish the policies and scoring for adaptive wakeboard tournaments.
He is a mentor for the Student Athlete Achievement Program (SAAP) assisting first-year students with organization and study skills. When a young player struggles, Will shares with them how he hadn't been in school for over 10 years, and that when he was in didn't fare well. He now is an Academic All American and uses this to work with other players, especially the freshmen, to achieve the most they can
He is actively involved in community outreach, including speaking to grade schools, high schools, and veterans through the Wounded Warriors organization. He has worked with Veterans camps nationwide. He values the opportunity to show our Wounded Warriors all of the things they can do.
Besides his work with the veterans, local community and current players, he is a Highland Ambassador. As a member of the Highland Ambassadors the last two years, he has assisted with a fundraiser that supports the wheelchair basketball team. He is also a former SAAC member and has had the opportunity to work on this year's Make a Wish project and also the Student-Athlete Auction.
'Will is incredibly committed to his education and what it will build for his future,' Glatch noted. 'In his three seasons with the Fighting Scots' Wheelchair Basketball Team, he has been a scholar -athlete all three seasons. Will was named Academic All-American honorable mention last season and will qualify for Academic All American status again this season. When Will graduates, he will have two majors and two minors and he could have been done in three years. Last semester Will won the Baumgardner Award for HPE majors. This is a state award and Will is the first Edinboro University student to ever win it.'