WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) senior Ryan P. Cain, a record-setting guard on the university's men's basketball team, has received the 2007 Jostens Trophy, awarded to the year's most outstanding male and female Division III basketball student-athletes. Recipients are honored for their basketball ability, academic prowess, and community service.
The Jostens Trophy is a national award established 10 years ago by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va. (site of the Division III Final Four), which also presents each winner's college or university with the Wooldridge Scholarship. Cain and Lisa Winkle of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., who won the women's trophy, will receive their awards during the Final Four at the Salem Civic Center on March 15.
"I could never have imagined winning this award," Cain said. "It is really an honor and something special that I will cherish forever. There are many great people around me I would like to thank. I especially appreciate all the support I've received from the WPI community."
Cain, of Webster, Mass., played a pivotal role in transforming WPI's men's basketball team into a regional and national powerhouse. Over the past four years, the team has had an impressive 89-20 record, has won four straight NEWMAC (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference) regular season championships and two NEWMAC tournament titles, and appeared in the last three NCAA Division III championships. Cain, who was recently named NEWMAC Player of the Year, became WPI's all-time leading scorer during the regular season finale on Feb. 17, surpassing the 1,757-point mark set by Orville Bailey '85. Averaging nearly 20 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field (despite facing constant double teams and special defenses), he finished his WPI career with 1,813 points.
This year, Cain became the first student-athlete during WPI Head Coach Christopher Bartley's six years at WPI to be named a preseason All-American by D3Hoops.com. He earned NEWMAC Rookie of the Year accolades as a freshman, was chosen NEWMAC Player of the Year as a sophomore, and was named an All-New England by D3Hoops.com and the ECAC as a junior.
Bartley attributes the success of the 6'1", 170-pound guard to his remarkable drive to succeed. "He has the best work ethic of any player I have ever seen in any team sport at any level," Bartley says. "He has such an enthusiasm for improvement and willingness to sacrifice his body for the sport he loves so much. He is a true overachiever and self-made player with the discipline of a great champion."
Off the court, Cain, a civil and environmental engineering major, has excelled in the classroom and made an impressive mark in the community. For his required science, technology and society project, he completed a study of green engineering in the automotive industry. For his major project, he worked with a team of students to design affordable manufactured single-family homes for low-income families. The homes can also be used to provide ready, low-cost housing for families displaced by natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Cain has been active in a number of community service activities, most notably the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization of Central Massachusetts. The men's team became involved in the program in Cain's freshman year. For four years, Cain has put in countless hours as a Big Brother to a student at Elm Park Community School, often going out of his way to put in extra time with his Little Brother outside of his regular program responsibilities.
"At WPI, we place as much emphasis on our students’ character as on their intellect, and by either of these measures, Ryan shines," WPI President Dennis Berkey noted in a letter nominating Cain for the Jostens Trophy. "Whether in the classroom, in competition, or in service to the greater Worcester community, Ryan represents both the highest ideals of the student-athlete and the very heart of a WPI education, which prepares our students for leadership in the real world."