Feb. 22, 2012
To say University of Kentucky senior track and field athlete Josh Nadzam is active in the community is an understatement. Nadzam has devoted countless hours to work in the community and helping others throughout his time at Kentucky, and has been honored numerous times for his efforts. Wednesday he was honored again, this time as one of three recipients of the prestigious Sullivan Medallion.
“Josh Nadzam is a model student-athlete and is a great person,” UK head coach Don Weber said. “He is very likely the most respected and admired person, both personally and athletically, on the men’s and women’s teams.
“In my 32 years of coaching at the University of Kentucky I have had the good fortune of coaching and working with a large number of student-athletes who I greatly admire and respect. Josh is the best student-athlete/person I have ever worked with and he has never fallen short of the standard of excellence he has established for himself. He excels in every facet of the ideal student-athlete. He has absolutely no chinks in his armor.”
Nadzam was selected by a committee that chooses a graduating female and male and a nonstudent as recipients each year. The award was presented by UK President Eli Capilouto during the annual Founders Day Award Ceremony on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center.
Nominations for the award are based on “such characteristics of heart, mind, and conduct as evince a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women.”
“This award means a lot to me, it is a tremendous honor,” Nadzam said. “I’m very appreciative of it. It’s more of a reflection on Coach Weber giving me an opportunity to come here and it’s my way of thanking him and the coaches for that. I came here as a walk-on, and I didn’t have great times or anything. They gave me an opportunity and I wanted to make the best of it that I could and be a model student-athlete. It’s also a reflection of my mom and grandma who taught me a lot about being selfless, thinking of others, having integrity and helping out in the community.”
Nadzam graduated in December with a degree in social work and is a prominent member of UK's track and field and cross country teams. Nadzam's commitment to social work and social justice were demonstrated through his field placements at the Catholic Action Center and the Fayette County Health Department and through his extensive community volunteer work. Nadzam accumulated more than 190 volunteer hours in the 2010-2011 academic year alone, working with various organizations including the Hope Center, God's Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Pine Meadows Nursing Home, among others. He also helped organize the Soles4Souls shoe drive on campus in 2011 that collected more than 2,000 pairs of shoes to be donated to people in developing countries around the world. Each school in the Southeastern Conference, including Kentucky, is now participating and competing in the Soles4Souls shoe drive this year, in part because of Nadzam and teammate Luis Orta’s work at Kentucky.
The Monaca, Pa., native has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll each of the last three years. He was also a 2010 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I All-Academic Honoree, 2010 SEC Community Service Team member, winner of the 2010 CATSPY for Community Service, and is a member of the Frank G. Ham Society of Character.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Josh,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “He has always been someone who has given his full effort in everything he does, whether it be on the track, on the cross country course or in the community. Josh has always worn the Kentucky name with pride and I could not be more proud of him.”
In addition to Nadzam’s off the field work, he has also been a prominent athlete on both the cross country and track and field teams. Nadzam raced in all six races during the cross country season this year, finishing in the top two on the team in each of Kentucky’s final three races.
The Kentucky men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will be competing Friday-Sunday in the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The University of Kentucky is hosting the event at the E.J. Nutter Field House for the sixth time in its history.
For all news and information on the Kentucky track and field teams, including results from the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships, please go to UKathletics.com.