Southern Illinois University’s Tiffanie Dismore and Matt Ellis have been nominated for the 2008 NCAA Sportsmanship Award. The Missouri Valley Conference Sportsmanship Committee selected Dismore and Ellis from a group of league student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
A senior outfielder on the Saluki softball team, Dismore, a Lafayette, Ind. native, was named first-team Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete in 2007. The same year also brought her a second-team All-MVC selection on the diamond. A radio and television major, Dismore has been an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for three years.
Her 2008 season was abruptly altered during the team’s first home tournament when she was hit by a pitch, suffering a serious jaw fracture. Her subsequent surgery sidelined the all-conference outfielder for six weeks. Despite the pain and difficulty of having her jaw wired shut, she attended all practices and games serving as her team’s number one cheerleader and fan. Dismore re-joined the team following her recovery to finish out her senior season.
Dismore’s positive attitude and unselfishness carried from the field to the community. As part of a team holiday caroling visit to the local hospital, she went above and beyond, shopping and purchasing toys for the pediatric patients at her own expense.
Ellis is a native of Madison, Miss., and a senior golfer at SIU. He was selected as the Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Week in October of 2006. Majoring in healthcare management, Ellis has also served as a member of SAAC.
Ellis’ story is one of personal growth and change. A junior college transfer student, he struggled his first semester at SIU in the classroom and during campus/community activities. Ruled academically ineligible, Ellis was forced to miss the spring 2007 golf season. Missing the season proved to be the catalyst which transformed him into the genuine student-athlete he is today. While attending all team practices, he raised his GPA from 1.4 during his first semester at SIU to a 3.4 his second. He currently maintains a cumulative 2.744 GPA in his major.
His transformation also affected his outlook on community service. As a member of SAAC, he was involved in the planning of Saluki Kids Night Out, a fundraiser benefitting The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. Ellis personally greeted each child (114 attendees) during the event and matched them with a student-athlete for the evening. Not wanting to disappoint the kids, he dressed as the school mascot when the spirit squad member was unavailable for the evening.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees must be a member of an intercollegiate athletics team during the 2007-2008 academic year. Additionally, they must have demonstrated consistently the values of caring, fairness, civility, honesty, integrity and responsibility in their daily participation in athletics.
One female and one male student-athlete will be chosen for the award by the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct. The winners will be announced by the NCAA in July of 2008.