Buies Creek – Campbell’s Matt Parrish has been named the 2016 recipient of the Senior CLASS Award for baseball.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
“It’s an incredible honor to win the Senior CLASS Award,” said Parrish. “Being a student-athlete is a lot like having a full-time job and going to school. We put a lot of energy and a lot of focus on our sports, but at the same time we have to put that same work into the classroom. I think that being a student-athlete at Campbell has helped me learn time management, and it definitely helped me with responsibility, as well as respect. You have to respect a lot of people. You have to respect your coaches, classmates, teammates and your professors.”
“There is no one that epitomizes the student-athlete more than Matt Parrish,” said Campbell head coach Justin Haire. “Matt is such an outstanding representative for our program and our school, and a perfect example of what NCAA athletics is supposed to be about. He has had an outstanding career, and I am extremely proud of him for this well-deserved honor.”
Parrish, a senior first baseman for the Camels, was named 2016 First Team Academic All-America College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), becoming the first Campbell student-athlete ever to earn Academic All-America status three times.
“I’ve always strived for excellence in school,” said Parrish. “Sports are a great vehicle, but it’s not the end destination. It’s a vehicle, and you can use it to take you to a lot of places. For me, I knew I had to focus in the classroom because I knew that’s how I would affect the world, and that’s how I’m going to change lives. It’s going to be about what I know and about what I’m able to do.”
The McGee’s Crossroads native also took home his second All-Big South selection, earning First Team honors as an infielder.
Parrish batted .371 with 41 RBI and 36 runs scored during his senior season, notching 14 doubles, two triples and three home runs. He graduated from Campbell in May with honors, earning a degree in mathematics, carrying a 3.77 GPA.
After coming to Campbell as a recruited walk-on and seeing only five plate appearances as a freshman, Parrish went on to earn a starting spot at designated hitter just a few weeks into his sophomore season. It was a breakout season for Parrish, who led the team in batting average with .324 and helped the Camels to a Big South Tournament Championship title and the school’s first NCAA berth since 1990.
As committed as he is on the field, Parrish has demonstrated that same excellence in both the classroom and community. In addition to his third Academic All-America nod, Parrish also received his third Big South All-Academic honor this season. With a desire to see his peers succeed as well Parrish has served as a peer mentor and academic tutor, and assisted in strategically identifying the learning styles of other student-athletes, helping them develop strategies for studying and testing.
Owning a personal strength for making others feel comfortable and at-ease, the senior has enjoyed interacting with kids through the Miracle League and volunteering at local festivals, blood drives and food collections. In the past three years, Parrish also has helped organize and lead baseball clinics at Campbell, developing the skill stations, coordinating volunteers and assigning campers to leaders. It was a role that fell in line with Parrish’s love for seeing kids learn the game of baseball and have fun in the process.
“Matt Parrish is a leader in every sense of the word,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. “He’s led by example on the field, in the classroom and in the community while maintaining a high level of personal character. He’s the kind of student-athlete we created this award to honor, and we are proud to name him the 2016 winner. Our congratulations to Matt, his team and to Campbell University.”