WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW women’s soccer team has been selected as the co-recipient of the 2013 John H. Randolph Inspiration Award from the Colonial Athletic Association.

The award recognizes individuals who through strength of character and human spirit serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success. It is named after former William & Mary athletic director John Randolph, who lost a courageous battle with cancer in 1995.

The team shares the award with the late Nick Colleluori of Hofstra, a former lacrosse player for the Pride who battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma before passing away in November of 2006. Between hospital visits and operations over a 14-month period, Colleuori developed plans for the HEADstrong Foundation to raise awareness about blood cancer and to provide support for those who suffer from the disease. Prior to his passing, Nick outlined the foundation’s logistics, drew the foundation’s logo and asked his family to fulfill his mission.

The Seahawk women’s soccer team was honored for its work with seven-year old Baylee Adkins and the Friends of Jaclyn Organization. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation was started in 2005 to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families by pairing them with college and high school athletic teams.

Adkins was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2012, and a few months later, was “adopted” by the UNCW women’s soccer team. She attended and sat on the bench during all of the Seahawks’ home games and also traveled with the team to the conference tournament.

The UNCW players made numerous trips to the young girl’s home in Jacksonville, N.C. to take her to the movies or out to eat and also surprised her at a birthday party. A “Pray for Baylee” Facebook page was established to feature videos, photos and messages from the girls. The team also visited her bedside during hospital stays and conducted numerous webcams to cheer her on during difficult chemotherapy periods.

The relationship has inspired Adkins to fight hard against the brain cancer and keep a positive attitude. It has also provided the UNCW women’s soccer team with a valuable learning experience and an appreciation of what is really important in life.

“Winning this award is a testament to our team chemistry and commitment,” said Paul Cairney, UNCW’s 17-year women’s soccer coach. “I’m very proud of all of our team members. They have shown great leadership in helping Baylee and her family deal with a difficult time. While we inspired Baylee, she inspired us more.”

It marks the second time UNCW has featured a winner of the award. In 2008, men’s basketball standout T.J. Carter was honored after enduring three hernia surgeries and bouncing back to earn First-Team All-CAA honors after leading the Seahawks to a second-place conference finish and 20-13 mark. The Mechanicsville, Md., product wound up being one of the finalists for the V Foundation Comeback Award.

Past Recipients of the John H. Randolph Inspiration Award

 2012 - Shelia Moorman - James Madison coach and administrator who served as a mentor and tireless advocate for the student-athlete experience.

2011 - Steven Vincent -Delaware track and cross country runner who battled epileptic seizures throughout his collegiate career.

2010 - Dawn Evans - JMU women’s basketball player who overcame a debilitating kidney disease to lead her team to the conference championship.

2009 - Meghan Bain - JMU field hockey player who was hit by a car suffering massive injuries. Through intensive rehabilitation she returned to play the next fall.

2008 - T.J. Carter - UNCW men’s basketball player who returned for his senior seasonafter undergoing 3 surgeries and missing an entire season due to sports hernia surgery.

2007 - Nicole Hester - Drexel women’s basketball player who battled cancer without interruption to her basketball career.

2006 - Kevin DuPrey - Delaware track and cross country runner who overcame the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease to resume competition.

2005 - Julia Shapiro - Delaware tennis player who overcame the effects of Multiple Sclerosis to serve as team co-captain.

2004 - Beth Childs - Drexel women’s tennis player who lost part of her foot in anautomobile accident but returned to play her senior year.

Alan Lindsey - James Madison baseball player who underwent two open-heart surgeries after suffering a serious bacterial infection, returning to play the final weeks of his senior season.

Brannon Thomas - William & Mary men’s soccer player who had surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, but returned to action late in the same season.

2003 - Ricky Beecher - Towson men’s lacrosse player who donated a liver to his uncle in order to save his uncle’s life.

2002 - Paul Tuohey - Drexel men’s lacrosse player with Cerebral Palsy who’s positive attitude earned the team MVP award without scoring a goal or assist.

2001 - Mandy Welch - Delaware softball player who overcame an 80% hearing loss to become a 1st team all conference player.

2000 - Laura Kenney &   Liz Paoli - George Mason women’s lacrosse players who were seriously injured when they were struck by a car on a team trip.  Laura was in a coma for 2 months, yet graduated from GMU with a 4.00 GPA. Through intensive rehabilitation, Liz was able to return to competition for her senior year.

1999 - Maria Elena-Calle - VCU track athlete who recovered from serious injuries after being struck by a car while on a training run to achieve CAA Athlete of the Year and All-America status.

1998 - Felicia Allen - Old Dominion women’s basketball team manager who courageously battled a rare form of cancer while attending school and serving as the team manager.

1997 - Scott Pearson - American University men’s soccer player who overcame the death of his mother and became very active in the Big Brothers program in Washington.

1996 - Barbara Blosser - William & Mary associate athletic director who served as interim athletic director during John Randolph’s illness.

John Welbourn - East Carolina cross country coach who successfully battled cancer while coaching at ECU.