Chris Adams, a May 2021 Ball State University graduate and member of the Ball State men’s tennis team, today was announced as the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Bob James Memorial Award by the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Faculty Athletics Representatives.
In its 33rd year, the Bob James Memorial Scholarship Award recognizes one female and one male student from MAC institutions who have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.50 and have displayed good character, leadership, and citizenship. The $5,000 post-graduate scholarship is awarded in honor of Bob James, the second commissioner in MAC history.
Mr. Adams, an accounting major, graduated summa cum laude from Ball State’s Honors College in May. He was also one of 21 male Spring sport student-athletes nationwide to receive a $10,000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which was announced in July.
Mr. Adams plans to use these scholarships to pursue a law degree beginning in the Fall of 2022. He has a career goal of addressing wealth inequality by providing legal services to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Mr. Adams is spending the 2021-22 academic year at Ball State, where he plans to advance his business expertise by earning his Masters of Business Administration degree, while also using his final year of athletic eligibility with the men’s tennis team.
“At Ball State, we prepare our Cardinals to transform their communities—and to change the world. Chris has taken that mission to heart by aspiring to use his education and experiences at Ball State to make a positive impact in the communities he will serve,” said Dr. John Emert, dean of Ball State’s Honors College. “Congratulations to Chris for being selected for these exclusive scholarships. We wish him the best of luck in his graduate studies at Ball State, and look forward to following his career.”
A Port Huron, Mich., native, Mr. Adams has earned multiple honors on and off the court as a student-athlete at Ball State. A 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-American At-Large Third Team honoree, Mr. Adams is also a four-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athlete. In June, Mr. Adams and Ball State track & field sprinter Ivy McKee were named as MAC Medal of Excellence Award winners for the 2020-21 academic year. That award is presented annually to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each of the league’s 12 member institutions.
“We are extremely proud of Chris for being recognized by both the NCAA and the MAC for his excellence in academics,” said Ball State men’s tennis head coach Bill Richards. “Chris has been the epitome of a model student-athlete since he arrived at Ball State. On the court, his toughness, stamina, and will to win are as good as any player I’ve ever coached. Chris applies that same focus and drive off the court, as well.”
On the court, Mr. Adams earned Second Team All-MAC honors for his play in 2021 and has been honored as MAC Singles Player of the Week and on the MAC Doubles Team of the Week numerous times over his career. He has a career singles record of 52-43 and a 52-37 mark in doubles play. He has primarily played on the top court for doubles throughout his career and on court three in singles.
Mr. Adams is the first men’s tennis player in MAC history to win the Bob James Memorial Award, and the 12th Ball State student-athlete to earn the award since its inception in 1989. Past Ball State winners include Rick Winegardner (swimming, 1989), Danny Rieman (baseball, 1990), Sarah Mikrut (gymnastics, 1997), Janelle Tranquillo (field hockey, 1998), Laura Szczepanski (gymnastics, 2000), Travis Barclay (football, 2004), Gonzalo Barinaga (football, 2009), Briggs Orsbon (football, 2012), Skylar Chew (soccer, 2013), Tanner Barton (swimming & diving, 2017), and Alyssa Heintschel (soccer, 2018).