Olivet Announces Watson Ambassador Award

Seniors Sarah Buffum and Nic Reed recognized for athletic accomplishments.

Lauren Beatty

May 6, 2020 Athletics

Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to announce the 2020 Watson Ambassador Award recipients, seniors Sarah Buffum and Nic Reed!


Named in honor of Larry Watson, director of athletics from 1985 to 2001, the Larry D. Watson Ambassador Award is the highest honor an ONU athlete can receive. Nominations are given by Olivet head coaches and the awards go to the senior female athlete and the male athlete who exemplify Christian character and witness on and off the playing field. 

Sarah Buffum, a nursing major from Byron Center, Michigan, played four years of varsity soccer for ONU.


Her career honors include: CCAC Freshman of the Year (2016); First Team All-Conference (2016-2019); CCAC Player of the Year (2019); NAIA Honorable Mention All-American (2019). She was recognized as the team MVP during her junior and senior years.

In addition to her accolades on the soccer field, Sarah also earned recognition on the University dean’s list all four years; traveled on a mission trip to Costa Rica and led prayer and Bible studies for the team; volunteered with the children’s ministry team at River Valley Church; and helped at the pregnancy resource center in Kankakee. She plans to continue playing soccer at the professional level and to pursue a career in nursing.

Coach Bill Bahr said in his nomination, “Sarah has been a model Christian student-athlete. She is the fifth all-time scorer in ONU Women’s soccer history and has been our leading scorer for her entire career at Olivet. Her work ethic is extraordinary and she has been a model for the entire team to emulate. There have been moments in which Sarah has carried our team to victory. She has been a joy to coach!”

Nicholas ‘Nic’ Reed, a marketing and finance double major from New Albany, Indiana, played four years of varsity basketball for the University.


His career honors include: CCAC Freshman of the Year (2017); First Team All-Conference (2017-2020); CCAC Player of the Year (2019-2020); CCAC Player of the Week (18 times); NAIA First Team All-American (2019-2020); NAIA Honorable Mention All-American (2017-2018); CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America and All-District (2019, 2020); Small College Basketball Bevo Francis Award Top-50 Watch List (2019, 2020); and Small College Basketball Bevo Francis Award Top-100 Watch List (2018). He broke multiple school records including total points (2,953); field goals attempted (1,870), free-throws made (712), and free-throws attempted 848.

As a student, Nic also stayed busy off the court as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the investment club. He also earned recognition on the University dean’s list for the duration of his time at Olivet. He plans to pursue a career in financial planning and to get married in the fall.

Head coach Nick Birkey said in his nomination, “Nic has contributed positively in every way possible during his four years as a Tiger; including physically, mentally, socially and most importantly, spiritually. He has been everything and more in regards to what we ask of our student athletes. He has been such an example of what it looks like to consistently put the work in and reap the benefits. I cannot remember a day that Nic didn’t come in and go 100% the entire time, no matter the circumstance. The best thing about his mentality was he was working not just to better himself but to better his team in every way possible. He is the most focused and determined player I have been around in 17 years of coaching. Nic is a winner, not just in the win column, but a champion in how he prepared and performed. There is no mystery why he will go down in history as the most consistent and accomplished player in ONU history!”

Sarah and Nic will each receive a cash award to applaud their extraordinary accomplishments. Both awardees epitomize the department of athletic mission statement, which is based on Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

For more information about ONU athletics, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463. For ONU Athletic news, visit www.onutigers.com.

Published 5/6/2020

Lauren Beatty

Lauren Beatty ’13 is a freelance writer, author, editor, artist and an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at Olivet. She earned a Master of Arts degree in cross-cultural and sustainable business management from the American University of Paris in 2014. Her thesis explored the evolution of socially responsible business practices in America.

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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