Finnell Named as NCEA Distinguished Alumni

MANHATTAN, Kan. – In an announcement by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), former Kansas State equestrian coach and student-athlete Casey Finnell was named as one of the NCEA Distinguished Alumni.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient for the inaugural NCEA Distinguished Alumni Awards in the Education category," said Finnell. "It was a privilege to not only be a student-athlete and ride for four years at K-State but also to coach for five years after graduation.  The NCEA and K-State have both truly shaped the path that has led me to where I am today.  I can’t stress enough the importance of the life skills I learned in my time with the equestrian team and the NCEA. From teamwork and communication across diverse groups to creative problem solving to simply being part of something bigger than oneself, I would not be where I am today without the opportunities given to me through K-State and the NCEA.  Not only did my time in athletics introduce me to my current career, but those skills have helped make it an easy transition from coaching to academic support services for student-athletes. I would like to thank Casie (Maxwell) for the nomination along with her help throughout my nine years as a Wildcat and would also like to thank all of my teammates and coaching pals for helping me get here as well."

The award recipients will be recognized at this year’s national championship event in Waco, Texas, on April 13. Nominees for the Class of 2016 NCEA Distinguished Alumni Awards must have earned a degree before/including 2010 and have a record of successful contributions in athletic, academic, service, and professional endeavors.

During Finnell’s time at Kansas State, she was a member of the Kansas State equestrian team from 2003-07 where she was a two-time letter winner. She served as team captain for two seasons, in which she was recognized as high point Hunt Seat Rider from Zone 7, Region 5 in 2006. Finnell was also acknowledged as the Kansas State University Hunt Seat MVP in 2006 and Outstanding Hunt Seat senior in 2007. Finnell was named to the Big 12 Commissioners Honor Roll every semester while a student at K-State, she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and received the K-State Athletic Department Counselor Recognition Award in 2007. 

Finnell graduated from Kansas State University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in a double major of Spanish and Journalism & Mass Communication and minor in Leadership Studies in 2007. She later went on and received her Master’s in College Student Development in 2010 where she finished with a 4.0 GPA.                                                                            

Finnell was an assistant Hunt Seat coach from 2008 to 2012. She guided Equitation on the Flat rider Meredith Finch to a NCEA Most Outstanding Player award in 2012 and was nominated as a NCEA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012. 

Finnell’s dedication to equestrian has continued after leaving K-State. She is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), a member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. She has been N4A Individually Certified since 2013 andgraduated from the N4A Professional Development Institute in June 2014. 

Currently, Finnell is the Director of Athletic Academic Success at Lindenwood University and currently oversees the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the Lions.