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ACA Presents School of the Year to Tech

Danny Blandford, program director for the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA), presented the inaugural ACA School of the Year award to the Arkansas Tech University Fishing Club during a banquet at the Williamson Hall Dining Room on Wednesday night.

Danny Blandford, program director for the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA), presented the inaugural ACA School of the Year award to the Arkansas Tech University Fishing Club during a banquet at the Williamson Hall Dining Room on Wednesday night.

"The Arkansas Tech Fishing Club embodies everything we hope college fishing could be," said Blandford. "I could not imagine a better program or a better group of people to be the first recipients of this award."

Arkansas Tech won the ACA School of the Year award based upon the performance of the Tech Fishing Club during the 2011-12 academic year. Criteria for the award include success in collegiate fishing tournaments around the United States and community service.

More than 150 institutions earned points in the 2011-12 ACA School of the Year race, but Arkansas Tech came out on top.

"This is amazing to me," said Christy Austin, advisor for the Arkansas Tech Fishing Club. "Six years ago we started with seven members. This year we have 22 returning members and 28 new members. Tech Fishing Club members give their time to serve as mentors and pass along something they love."

The banquet included a video presentation that showed service projects by the Arkansas Tech Fishing Club over the past year, including teaching elementary students and Friendship Community Services clients about boat safety and fishing.

"It is awesome to see so many people in this room," said Cathi McMahan, head of the Arkansas Tech Department of Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Administration, associate professor of recreation and park administration and co-advisor for the Tech Fishing Club. "This was a dream of Christy's even before the club started in 2006. She has invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make this possible. I don't know where Christy gets the energy. I can't keep up with her. We deeply appreciate the support that everyone has shown to the fishing club."

Russellville Mayor Bill Eaton was in attendance on Wednesday. He read a proclamation declaring Nov. 7, 2012, as "Arkansas Tech Fishing Club Appreciation Day" in the City of Russellville.

For more information about the Arkansas Tech Fishing Club, call the Department of Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Administration at (479) 968-0378.

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