On April 24, hundreds belonging to the Spartan football family gathered at the 2015 Spartan Football Awards to celebrate a season of success, which included toasting a faculty member from the Eli Broad College of Business.

For 16 years, Dwight Handspike has worked alongside student athletes as Associate Director for Undergraduate Academic Services at the Eli Broad College of Business. In that time, he has fostered collaborative relationships with Student Athlete Support Services and the Athletic Department in order to address the specific needs of this student population. In doing so, he’s ensured the academic, athletic and professional success for hundreds of athletes pursuing a degree from the Broad College of Business—and kept the lasting relationships as these athletes left the University.

Handspike accepts his award from the head Football Academic Coordinator.

Dwight Handspike (left) accepts his award from Todd Edwards, the Director of Academic Services/Head Football Academic Coordinator at the Clara Bell Smith Center for Student-Athlete Support Services

“I view the interactions that I have with our student athletes as special because I have seen firsthand the dedication that they have to their education and the sport at the same time.  They are constantly pushed to their limits in the classroom and on the field of competition and they continue to strive for excellence in both arenas. Working with them, I have learned that they are ambassadors for many aspects of the undergraduate experience at MSU and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to have an impact on them,” Handspike said.

“This is a terrific recognition for Dwight personally and for the Broad College collectively in the manner in which Dwight has interacted with Spartan Athletics over the years,” said Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean of the Broad College of Business. “He has meant so much to so many student athletes and this award is a token of the appreciation that all of them feel for his efforts.”

Handspike knows firsthand what it takes to succeed as a Spartan, which is why for nearly two decades he has made it his mission to ensure the success of student athletes. “When I was a student at MSU, I had a number of professionals that took the time to mentor and encourage me while I was pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. There were a number of moments when I questioned my abilities and wondered if I was cut out to be a Spartan.  These individuals took me under their wings and mentored me while also providing tough love when necessary. They constantly reminded me that I needed to stay focused on my goals and learn to stretch myself to go beyond what I believed I was capable of.  We all need people to encourage us while we are on our journey, and I believe that it is my responsibility to share with others what was shared with me,” he said.

Hard work, dedication, and focus are what it takes to play collegiate athletics, and it’s the best coaching – both on the field and in the academic capacity – that help them win.