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Columbus East Athletics

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Columbus East Athletics

Home of the Olympians



2 months ago by Pete Huse

Former Olympian honored with ASUN honor

‘Winner For Life’ / VanLiew nets ASUN honor for work on, off the court

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Cortney VanLiew has won plenty of honors for her play on the volleyball court.

The Columbus East graduate and Florida Gulf Coast University senior is getting recognized for her work off the court, as well.

VanLiew, the two-time ASUN Conference Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American, recently was named by the ASUN as one of nine “Fall in Spring Winners for Life” recipients. The award is given to one student-athlete from each conference school who best demonstrates the ASUN’s core values of education, honesty, student-athlete experience, fairness, health, ambition, respect, diversity, inclusion, leadership, responsibility and sportsmanship.

“It’s definitely an honor to be named because this award is not just what you do on the court, but what you do outside of it,” VanLiew said. “So that is one of things I find the most honor is because they don’t just see us as athletes and how we play. They look at us as whole people.”

In addition to being FGCU’s Eagles Council president the past two years, VanLiew has been involved with different service projects, including a canned food drive, Project Life Movement, Read Across America, Naples Humane Society and beach clean-up near the Fort Myers, Florida-based FCGU campus. She also is involved in a mentorship group for girls in southwest Florida called LEAD Like a Girl SWFL.

In May, VanLiew earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting, graduating Cum Laude from FGCU’s Lutgert Business School honors program with a 3.678 GPA. She was a four-time ASUN Honor Roll student and a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-Academic honoree and was one of 10 students recently inducted into FGCU’s Hall of Fame.

“Cortney demonstrates on a daily basis the core values that make up the ASUN ‘Winner for Life’ award,” FGCU volleyball coach Matt Botsford said in a news release. “To be recognized for qualities that define a person outside of just their athletic abilities is always special, and in this case, very deserving.”

The week after graduation, VanLiew started her master’s program in business administration with a concentration in data analytics. She plans to earn that degree next May and hopes to become a college accounting professor.

With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the fall volleyball season in 2020, and FGCU playing only a limited schedule this spring, VanLiew decided to take advantage of the NCAA’s decision to give this year’s athletes and extra year of eligibility and return for a fifth year this fall.

“There were a lot of different things that factored into that decision,” VanLiew said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a complete season (this spring). I wanted to have another season. I also knew I wanted to get my master’s degree, so that was a big driving force.”

VanLiew also plays beach volleyball in the spring, but was unable to this season because it overlapped with the indoor season. She plans to return to beach volleyball next spring.

This spring, VanLiew recorded 221 kills, 140 digs, 22 blocks and nine aces and was twice selected ASUN Player of the Week. She now has been Player of the Week seven times in her career, which is third-most in ASUN history.

Going into the fall season, VanLiew is just 50 kills away from setting FGCU’s all-time record. But she is focused more on leading the team to an ASUN title.

“I always have goals, but the biggest one would be our team success and how we finish,” VanLiew said. “We definitely want to be able to win the conference championship in my last year and then just see how far we can make it in the NCAA Tournament.”