July 23, 2009

Zaf Bludevich Named Recipient Of ECAC's Dr. Donald Grover Memorial Award

CENTERVILLE, Mass. - Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Commissioner Rudy Keeling announced today that Saint Michael's College senior associate athletics director Zafir "Zaf" Bludevich has been selected as the recipient of the Dr. Donald Grover Memorial Award.

The Donald Grover Memorial Award is bestowed periodically to an athletic trainer of an ECAC member institution who has achieved outstanding success in his or her career and has made an unusual contribution in the interest of intercollegiate athletics. The award will be presented on Tuesday, October 6, at the ECAC Honors Luncheon presented by Jostens. The luncheon will be held at The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, Massachusetts during the 2009 ECAC Fall Convention and Trade Show.

"Zaf is a legend in our time, and it's nice to see that the ECAC has honored Zaf with this major award," said Mike Samara, the College's Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. "Thank you Zaf for your many contributions over the years to so many students who have been entrusted to your responsibility and care."

A member of the Saint Michael's athletic department since 1975, Bludevich has been involved in nearly every aspect of Saint Michael's athletics since his arrival 34 years ago. Bludevich has served as associate athletic director, head athletic trainer, summer camp director, intramural director and has coached several sports. From 1975 to 2003, he served as the College's head athletic trainer, and in 2004 was promoted to his current title.

A 1993 Saint Michael's Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and 2004 Norwich University Athletics Hall of Fame inductee (where he received his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1974), Bludevich has served on numerous committees and received several awards for his tireless efforts and dedication to Purple Knight athletics. He is a two-time recipient of the Saint Michael's College Service Award and the Dupont Award as the College's most outstanding administrator, and is a current and past member of the Saint Michael's Personal Welfare Committee. In 2004, Bludevich was the recipient of the First Annual Roger T. Bryant Distinguished Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. He has held the positions of treasurer and secretary on the Vermont Association of Athletic Trainers and has been a member of the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee and ECAC Cross Country and Track Committee.

Bludevich's longest tenure in a coaching position was 16 years with the cross country program, though he split his time between the men's (1980-83, 1990-97) and women's (1980-87) squads. In 1984-85, his women's squad won the Mideast Conference title. He was the co-head coach of the men's swimming and diving team during its first four seasons of existence (1974-78). In 1975, he coached the school's inaugural field hockey team, and in 1990 he assisted Lou DiMasi's men's lacrosse team (DiMasi and Bludevich are the only two people inducted into both Saint Michael's and Norwich's athletics halls of fame).

Bludevich earned his master's in education/athletic training in 1975, and in 1991, he received a degree in physical therapy from the University of Vermont. Above all else, however, is Zaf's relationship with students, faculty and staff. Despite no longer officially serving as an athletic trainer, Zaf can often be found in the training room, assisting the athletic training staff before practices and games and socializing with student-athletes. Zaf is the Saint Michael's athletic department's version of Dr. Phil, as his open-door policy has students and colleagues constantly seeking him out for advice and guidance on virtually any topic. His humble nature and witty one-liners help keep the atmosphere positive, and with more than three decades of service under his belt, not only is he well-respected and appreciated, but he is also the face of the Saint Michael's athletic department.

For the ECAC's official release, visit http://www.smcathletics.com/news/2009_Donald_Grover_Award_Zaf.pdf.

For more information on the 2009 ECAC Fall Convention and Trade Show, visit http://www.ecac.org/landing/index.

For Bludevich's Saint Michael's Hall of Fame biography, visit http://www.smcathletics.com/halloffame/bludevich_zafir.