HUNTSVILLE, WALKER COUNTY Jessica Payne, a member of the Bearkats’ athletic staff for more since 2003, has named as assistant athletic director for student services.
As an academic advisor working closely with the more than 350 student-athletes at the university, Payne has played a major role in Sam Houston’s success story in the class room.
The department’s 2013 spring semester grade point average (GPA) was 3.01. Through the spring semester, the university’s student-athletes compiled an overall GPA that now stands at 3.02. Both figures are all-time high marks.
The athletic department saw a third academic record with seven sports squads compiling team GPAs higher than 3.0 during both the fall and spring semesters.
Three Sam Houston women received the league’s highest academic honor as they were voted Southland Conference “Student-Athlete of the Year” for their respective sport. No other team in the league totaled three “Student-Athlete of the Year” honors this season.
Thirty Bearkats were named as Academic All-Southland honorees during the 2012-13 season including 23 during for spring semester sports.
“Jessica Payne has played a major role in continuing to raise the bar academically for Bearkat athletics,” SHSU Director of Athletics Bobby Williams said. “Jessica is an outstanding employee and very deserving of this promotion. A valuable resource in the administration of the athletic department, Jessica has played a major role in helping us achieve our goal of defining the term student-athlete.”
Sam Houston athletics' success in the classroom is no flash in the pan. Since the 1994-95 school year, SHSU student-athletes have combined to produce semester GPAs of 2.4 or higher. The Bearkat athletic GPA has 2.89 or higher for 14 consecutive semesters.
In addition to her role in athletics, Payne also serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology and the First Year Experience Program.
A Sam Houston State graduate, Payne first starting working with Sam Houston athletics as a tutor. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Kinesiology and will graduate with her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University December 2013.