by Alan Babbitt
Golfer Josh Gibson has been chosen as Hope College's fourth recipient of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Albert L. Deal Scholar Athlete Award.
The Deal Award recognizes a senior male student-athlete from a MIAA member college who has excelled in academics and athletics while displaying outstanding leadership qualities. The award is named in honor of Albert L. Deal, who served as MIAA commissioner from 1971 to 1991.
Gibson, who graduated in May with a bachelor's in electrical engineering, is the third Hope student-athlete in four years to receive the Deal Award. The Grandville, Michigan native and Grandville High School product is the Hope's fourth honoree since the award's inception in 2004.
"It is a really big honor to be recognized for accomplishments off the course as well as on the course," said Gibson, who joins previous Deal Award winners from Hope: basketball's Harrison Blackledge (2016-17), track & field's Boone Marois (2015-16) and baseball's Cory Schmidt (2012-13).
"That has been a big part of my life during the past four years. I was able to enjoy being a student around campus, be involved with all the student activities for four years, and in golf season, I got to do what I love."
Academically, Gibson compiled a 3.42 grade-point average and was named a two-time Golf Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America.
In the community, Gibson served as a Step-Up Mentor for two years, volunteered for the Hope Dance Marathon, and assisted with small-group leadership at a local Christian retreat center.
Athletically, as a senior, Gibson finished runner-up at the 72-hole, four-day NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships in May. He helped the Flying Dutchmen place ninth as a team. It was Hope's third consecutive Top 10 finish at nationals.
Gibson concluded his career with three of the top four NCAA Championship finishes by any Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association golfer, including Hope's first national title in 2017.
In June, Gibson received the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award for NCAA Division III for the second time in his career.
In May, Gibson was selected as the 2019 recipient of Hope's Otto van der Velde award has been presented since 1932 to a senior man for outstanding contribution to the college in athletics, scholarship, and participation in student activities.
Last fall, Gibson became the first Flying Dutchmen golfer to claim MIAA Most Valuable Golfer three consecutive seasons. He joined Eric Wohlfield (1998-99, 2001) as three-time MVPs at Hope.
Gibson shares similar traits with MIAA's Sheila Wallace Kovalchik Scholar-Athlete Award winner Anna Kamp from the Calvin College volleyball team, MIAA Commissioner Penny Allen-Cook said.
"I've had the privilege to watch both Anna and Josh compete at the highest level of NCAA Division III competition over their four years as MIAA student-athletes," Allen-Cook said. "Their fierce competitive nature, coupled with their high character and poise under pressure, are traits that make it no surprise they also excelled in the classroom and within their communities. They have both represented their respective institutions and the MIAA well."