Saia receives Bryce Roderick Award of Excellence
Recognized for the work he does beyond his normal duties as Cowley College’s athletic director, Tom Saia, was awarded the Bryce Roderick Award of Excellence.
The award is based on maintaining high quality athletic programs and the dedication and contribution of time and effort in NJCAA Region VI regular and championship events.
Saia received a traveling trophy, which has his name engraved. Saia is the third recipient of the award and follows former Garden City Community College athletic director, Vic Trilli, and Highland Community College AD, Greg Delzeit.
Roderick, who serves as the commissioner of the Jayhawk Conference, received the George E. Killian Award of Excellence in 2006, which is given to individuals dedicated to the ideals of volunteerism, achievement, service, leadership and excellence. Roderick was the first women’s director to receive the prestigious award.
Roderick began awarding the Bryce Roderick Award of Excellence in 2007 as a way to recognize the outstanding work done by the athletic directors in the Jayhawk Conference.
“Tom has done so much for the conference and the region, besides his role as athletic director he is always willing to help out the region directors,” Roderick said.
Along with his duties as athletic director, Saia also served as a Region VI director with Roderick during his 14 years at Cowley. Under Saia’s guidance, the school hosted regional competitions during the fall and spring semesters.
Saia was humbled to be named the recipient of the award.
“It is an honor to receive this award because it has Bryce’s name on it,” Saia said. “I will cherish this award because of what Bryce (Roderick) stands for.”
Cowley College’s athletic programs have flourished under Saia as the school has won two JUCO World Series titles in baseball, and has won numerous conference and region titles, as well as accumulated a number of top-10 finishes at the national tournaments.
Cowley College recently finished fourth in the NATYCAA (National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators) Cup standings, which recognizes excellence in two-year college athletics.
For the second time in the past three years, Cowley finished as the top junior college athletic program in the state of Kansas based on the standings.
Prior to coming to Cowley, Saia spent 12 years as a football coach at the junior college level. Eight of his teams were ranked in the top-15. His teams played in six bowl games, winning four. He was an assistant coach at Coffeyville in 1980 when the team went undefeated and capped the season with a victory in the Beef Empire Bowl in Garden City, finishing No. 2 in the nation.
Saia coached at Coffeyville, Butler, Hutchinson and Independence and was inducted into the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame in 2004. He and his wife, Sue, have four children, Bryce 37, Boomer 20, Tommy 16, and Courtney 14.
Pictured: Tom Saia, left, receives a plaque from Jayhawk Conference Commissioner, Bryce Roderick, right, after being named the year’s recipient of the Bryce Roderick Award of Excellence.