In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of NCAA Division II, former Western Washington University men's basketball player Grant Dykstra has been named one of 48 former NCAA II student-athletes who will be honored by the NCAA throughout 2013.
Developed through a partnership with the Division II Conference Commissioners Association, one male and one female student-athlete from each of the division's 23 current conferences, plus two at-large nominees, were selected to the NCAA II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team.
Dykstra and Central Washington softball player Mallory Holtman-Fletcher (2005-08) were chosen from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
"This group of former student-athletes is meant to reflect the core values of Division II athletics," said Josh Looney, Associate Director of Division II. "Commissioners have helped identify a diverse group of championship individuals from Division II's 40-year history. Not only did these former student-athletes act as champions in athletics and in the classroom, they've gone on to live championship lives as well.
"This group is a true representation of Division II's commitment to providing its student-athletes a 'Life in the Balance' that extends beyond athletics."
Dykstra was named winner of the 2006 V Foundation Comeback Award, the first non-Division I student-athlete to earn the honor, the 2005 United States Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award, and set the school's career scoring record. He survived a life-threatening childhood accident that nearly cost him his right arm.
A 6-foot-4 forward from Everson, Wash., and a graduate of Lynden Christian High School, Dykstra finished as WWU's career scoring leader with 1,844 points, and was a consensus NCAA II All-American as a senior in 2005-06.
That season, Dykstra averaged 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals, setting a school record for 3-point makes with 101 as the Vikings went 23-7 and reached the West Regional final of the NCAA II National Tournament.
Dykstra's right arm was mangled in a grain auger when he was 2 and required 16 surgeries over the next 10 years and countless hours of physical therapy to regain strength and movement in the arm, which is 5 inches shorter than his left. He taught himself to shoot a basketball left-handed and learned to dribble with either hand.
After earning a bachelor's degree in business administration and finance at WWU in 2006, Dykstra is now in his seventh year as a Commercial Loan Officer at Whatcom Educational Credit Union in Bellingham. He also is a youth league coach. He and wife, Tara, have four children: sons Griffin 8, Gannon 6, Gunnar 4, and daughter Tyra 2.
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