Hoffman’s legacy continues to grow with Bob James Award

NIU’s Lauren Wicinski, Kristin Hoffman, and Amber Walker celebrate after a kill in their game against Toledo Friday night.

By Mike Romor

Every university has athletes that come and go, leaving legacies along the way.

As the months pass since her graduation, former NIU volleyball player Kristin Hoffman has done more than enough to create her own lasting legacy.

She rivals the greatest of the greats to have donned a Huskies uniform.

After wrapping up a senior campaign that earned her MAC Setter of the Year, Capital One Academic All-American First Team and honorable mention All-American honors, Hoffman was named as the recipient of the Bob James Memorial Award.

The Bob James Memorial Award is a $5,000 scholarship for male and female MAC student-athletes who excel both in and out of the classroom. Hoffman is just the third Huskie to receive the award since it originated in 1989.

“It is an incredible honor to have won the Bob James Memorial Scholarship,” Hoffman said. “Not only will the scholarship be a tremendous help to me with my legal tuition, but it is a testament to the great support I have received within the NIU volleyball program, athletic department and the university. I was very grateful to be nominated initially, and I never imagined that I would have been selected as the female recipient.”

Hoffman, now enrolled in Marquette University’s law school, has amassed $12,500 in scholarships since March 2012 due to her academic diligence.

While at NIU, Hoffman earned a cumulative GPA of 3.975 while volunteering for Students in Service, an AmeriCorps program.

Through the service, she logged 300 hours of community service working at a day care, tutoring elementary students and visiting nursing homes.

“I was raised to believe that hard work pays off,” Hoffman said. “My parents instilled within my sister and me that if we wanted something to happen, we had to work hard and persist through the tribulations. This philosophy is how I have lived my life and will continue to do so. The time put in and the effort given will eventually benefit you in some way, often times in ways you could never have imagined, which has been the case for me.”

When it comes to her athletic success, Hoffman has always been quick to praise NIU volleyball coach Ray Gooden. In return, Gooden is grateful to have had the honor of coaching one of the NCAA’s most dedicated athletes.

“Kristin continues to do special things,” Gooden said. “We were fortunate to have her here and I was fortunate to be her coach during her time here. She now gets a chance to show even more people how special of a person she is. We are very thankful that she was a Huskie.”

The MAC and NCAA have already recognized Hoffman’s exemplary collegiate career and she is currently a strong candidate for arguably the most prestigious award for a collegiate athlete: NCAA Woman of the Year.

There are only 30 candidates left after a process that started at 430 nominees, and Hoffman is one of only 10 left in the running for Division I. The three finalists for Division I will be selected in September, and Hoffman has already been invited to an Oct. 14 ceremony in Indianapolis for making the top 30.