Jack Winkler receives the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award
LAS VEGAS – Michigan State Fifth-Year Senior Men’s Tennis jack winker was one of five recipients of the 2022 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award at the National Association of Academic Development Professionals and Student-Athlete (N4A) convention Monday in Las Vegas.
The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award honors student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional challenges to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate sports. These people have persevered and made significant personal progress towards success.
“The Wilma Rudolph Award continues to be one of our association’s signature awards as it celebrates how student-athletes have embraced, persevered, and overcome difficult situations in their personal and professional journeys,” said the President. of N4A. Ashton Henderson, Deputy Executive Director of Athletics for Michigan State Championship Resources. “These young people provide us with the bandwidth and runway that allow us to thrive, and we are grateful to be back in person to celebrate the meritorious achievements of these five incredible recipients.”
Along with Winkler, the 2022 Wilma Rudolph recipients are Austin Blake, Campbell University; Riley Clark, University of Maine; Mary Griffin, Virginia Tech; and Taylor Robertson, University of Dayton.
Earlier this month, Winkler was named the winner of the ITA National Most Improved Senior following his incredible senior comeback campaign in 2021-22, becoming the first Spartan to win an ITA National award.
A native of Birmingham, Michigan, Winkler earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after playing No. 1 in singles last season. He finished his senior season with a 10-11 record in doubles matches, with nine of those wins coming in singles on the top court.
Winkler is also a four-time All-Big Ten Academic Selection, a Distinguished Big Ten Scholar, and the recipient of Michigan State Student-Athlete Support Services’ 2022 Gwendolyn Norrell Community Service and Leadership Award. The senior graduated this spring with a degree in finance.
He accomplished all of this while overcoming adversity and setbacks in his own personal health journey. Winkler was forced to give up playing his junior and senior years due to a long battle with ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. After being sidelined for medical reasons in 2019-20, Winkler served as a volunteer assistant coach and continued to be an important leader for the Spartans. It was debatable whether or not he would recover enough to return to the pitch, but he has bounced back better than ever and commandeered the No.1 singles and doubles courts this year for the Greens and Whites.
For more on Winkler’s incredible comeback story, please click here.
About Wilma Rudolph: Although as a child she was told she would never walk again, Wilma Rudolph relentlessly pursued her dream of becoming an international athletics star. At the peak of her career, “the world’s fastest woman” used her platform to shed light on social issues. Rudolph competed in the 1956 Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay. Four years later, she heads to the 1960 Summer Olympics determined to win gold. Her performance in Rome cemented her as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. She won three gold medals and broke several world records. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the same Olympics. Tennessee State University’s indoor track and dormitory are named in honor of Rudolph. She died of a brain tumor on November 12, 1994.
About N4A: N4A, which has been in existence since 1975, is a diverse educational service and non-profit professional organization. N4A members include academic support and student services staff who are committed to enhancing opportunities for academic, athletic, and personal success for student-athletes. For more information about N4A, visit www.nfoura.org. N4A is administered by NACDA, which is in its 57th year. For more information about NACDA and the 18 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.
— Michigan State Men's Tennis (@MSU_MTennis) June 27, 2022