A pair of 2004-05 Ferris State University senior student-athletes, men's basketball guard Carlton Epps (Benton Harbor) and women's volleyball outside hitter Karla Fairbanks (Rogers City), have been honored as the school's 2004-05 Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award winners as selected by a FSU Athletics Department committee.
The Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” Award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence, is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State male and female student-athlete. Award criteria consists of strong athletic achievements (must be a letterwinner and achieve outstanding athletic accomplishment), strong individual character and academic achievement.
The award was renamed this year in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director Dean Davenport, who served in the position from 1979-93. During his tenure at Ferris, Davenport was instrumental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women's intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris' NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. He also led the athletics department to 14 consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President's Cup Championships. Davenport founded both the "Bulldog of the Year" and "Pete Peterson Pride" Awards at Ferris State.
A two-time (2004-05) All-GLIAC North Division First Team honoree, Epps concluded his collegiate career ranked among the school's all-time leaders in scoring (1,544), rebounds (454), steals (270), assists (250), free throw percentage (.820), three-point field goal percentage (.426), made three-pointers (240) and blocked shots (53). In addition to posting school career records for three-pointers and steals, he also notched single-season marks with 102 treys, 95 steals and a .883 free throw percentage in 2004-05.
Epps became only the sixth player in Bulldog history to score over 600 points in a campaign as he finished the year with 602 total points. The two-time (2003-04) GLIAC North Division All-Defensive Team pick also attained Daktronics All-Great Lakes Region First Team kudos this campaign in addition to being named to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional All-Tournament Team and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Great Lakes Region All-District First Team.
A team captain, Epps guided the Bulldog men's basketball team to a runner-up finish in the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament (March 12-15) held in Findlay, Ohio. The Bulldogs also won their second-straight GLIAC North Division Championship and concluded the 2004-05 season with a 24-7 overall record. FSU's 24 victories represented the third-most wins in school history.
A 2004 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II All-America Second-Team honoree, Fairbanks concluded her career ranked third on Ferris' all-time chart with 1,649 career kills. The 5-11 Fairbanks posted 20 or more kills in 15 of her last 23 appearances during the fall 2004 season while totaling a personal career-high 538 kills. She was 53 digs away from becoming only the sixth player in school history to record both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. In addition, Fairbanks netted 185 career service aces and ranks fourth on FSU’s all-time list.
A two-time (2003-04) All-GLIAC First Team honoree, Fairbanks placed second overall among the league leaders in kills (4.85 kpg) and third in aces (0.59 apg) as a senior. She was named GLIAC North Division Player of the Week four times in 2004 and garnered NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region All-Tournament Team recognition. She previously was chosen as a 2003 AVCA Honorable Mention All-America pick.
Fairbanks helped guide the Bulldogs to a 25-7 overall record during the 2004 campaign, including a second place 14-4 GLIAC North Division mark. FSU, which won its first-ever GLIAC Tournament title in 2004, also advanced to the NCAA-II National Tournament for the 12th time in school history.
Epps is the fourth men's basketball player to receive “Bulldog of the Year” honors since 1978-79 while the 2004-05 athletics season represents the 11th time a Bulldog women's volleyball player has won or shared the award.
Past Bulldog of the Year Recipients
2003-04 – Derek Fudge (Football), Lucy DeMartin (Women's Basketball)
2002-03 – Chris Kunitz (Men's Ice Hockey), Kathryn Bobbie (Women's Golf)
1995-96 – Bill Love (Football), Theresa Luciow (Softball)
1994-95 – Bill Love (Football), Shelli Gaul (Women’s Track & Field)
1993-94 – Ed Philion (Football), Kathy O’Connor (Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Basketball)
1992-93 – Monty Brown (Football), Jodi Raab (Women’s Basketball)
1991-92 – Dan Hutcheson (Wrestling), Monica Ferguson (Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field)
1990-91 – John DePourcq (Men’s Ice Hockey), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1989-90 – Paul Cochran (Men’s Track & Field/Football), Karen Volkers (Women’s Volleyball)
1988-89 – Jarvis Walker (Men’s Basketball), Penny Bailey (Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country)
1987-88 – Dave DenBraber (Football), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1986-87 – Brad Morris (Wrestling), Patty Theis (Volleyball) and Karen Kramer (Women’s Basketball)
1985-86 – Scott Kelly (Baseball), Patty Theis (Women’s Volleyball)
1984-85 – Paul Jungck (Wrestling), Sharon Sanders (Women’s Volleyball)
1983-84 – Terry Schumacher (Wrestling), Leigh Feenstra (Women’s Volleyball)
1982-83 – Bruce Faccio (Football), Monta Ware (Women’s Basketball) and Linda Spicer (Women's Volleyball)
1981-82 – Tim Smelser (Wrestling), Vicki Williams (Women’s Basketball)
1980-81 – Rick Baillergeon (Men's Basketball), Terri Fraser (Women’s Volleyball & Women's Basketball)
1979-80 – David Sall (Football), Roxanne Abramouski (Softball)
1978-79 – Tim Herman (Men's Basketball), Sharon Lipinski (Women’s Basketball)