June 2, 2014
Northwestern Medal of Honor All-Time Winners
EVANSTON, Ill. - On Tuesday, June 3, Northwestern will unveil the school's 2014 winners of the Big Ten Medal Of Honor. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Conference's most prestigious award, which was first presented in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work. Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
In preparation for Tuesday's announcement, NUsports.com caught up with several former Wildcats winners and asked what it meant to them to be part of this exclusive group of Big Ten Conference student-athletes. Today we catch up with 2008 Medal Of Honor recipient Christy Finch, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist (2008), Inside Lacrosse magazine Defensive Player of the Year (2008) and member of Northwestern women's lacrosse teams with four-straight conference and national championships (2005-08).
Name: Christy Leach (formerly Christy Finch)
Graduation year: 2008
College major: Communication Studies
Current location: Columbus, Ohio
Current occupation: Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach at The Ohio State University
In three paragraphs or less, tell us what you've been up to since you left Evanston:
Since I left Evanston, I've been coaching lacrosse at all different levels. I have been a Division I assistant coach for the last 5 years, spending the last four years at The Ohio State University. Because of my experience at Northwestern, I wanted to impact college athletes to help them grow not only as players, but mentor them. I have enjoyed seeing them grow, mature, and develop off the field into great women. It really makes my job rewarding.
What was your personal athletic highlight during your time at Northwestern?
Where do I begin? We won the 2005 National Championship (2nd team NCAA title in NU history and 1st women's program) and that was one way to cap off my first year of college! Between the first national championship and the fourth one earned before I got my degree, each year was special and was definitely the highlight of my athletic career.
What is your favorite Northwestern sports memory as a spectator (either while you were in school or since)?
My favorite sports memory was watching the football team win their first bowl game in 60+ years. I also enjoy watching all the 'Cats' athletic teams when they visit Columbus as well as my lacrosse 'Cats.
What does the Big Ten Medal Of Honor mean to you?
When I received the Big Ten Medal of Honor, I don't think I really appreciated it at the time as much as I do now. To be distinguished in that way within the conference was something that I was proud to represent. It really belonged to all my teammates as well, as they were there day in and day out to push me on the field and in the classroom.
What is your favorite non-sports memory of your time at Northwestern?
I enjoyed all the time I spent around campus with my teammates and friends. It was great to be able to explore Chicago with them and enjoy the scenery, especially in the fall and spring.
Is there a person you met at Northwestern (teacher, coach, roommate, etc.) that had a sizable effect on you as a person?
I think the person that affected me the most was my coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller. She consistently pushed me past my limits, challenged me and developed me as a leader. She inspired me to get into coaching as well. I am constantly inspired by her.
In your opinion, what makes Northwestern University special?
It's always about the people. Northwestern has people who love the university, its mission, and are passionate about what they do on a daily basis. Whether it's the coaches, academic counselors, or professors, it translates to the students and is seen every day. They bleed purple.
When was the last time you were on campus?
A few weeks ago when we (Ohio State) made the NCAA Tournament and the first and second rounds where at NU. It was definitely familiar territory. We were also there the weekend before that for last American Lacrosse Conference Tournament before joining the Big Ten next year. I try to get back to campus at least once a year.
How much purple is in your closet?
There is a good amount of purple in my closest, mixed in with the scarlet and gray.
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