NORTON, Mass. - Recipient of the NCAA Inspiration Award, former Wheaton College men's indoor and outdoor track & field great Merzudin Ibric '10 (Revere, MA/Phillips Academy) is scheduled to appear on ESPN2 on Valentine's Day at 1:00 p.m. as part of a rebroadcast of the NCAA Honors Celebration that took place on January 14 in San Antonio.
In addition to Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody receiving the NCAA's highest individual recognition, among those honored were Yankees manager Joe Girardi, former NFL and MLB player Bo Jackson, five-time Olympic basketball medalist Teresa Edwards and PGA Tour member Scott Verplank.
The NCAA Inspiration Award is presented to a current coach or administrator or to a current or former varsity student-athlete who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others.
A Bosnian refugee, Ibric fled his war-torn native land with his family and arrived in the United States in 1998. His journey since—filled with challenges and triumphs—is an inspiring lesson in courage, perseverance and unending hope.
Ibric was six years old when war broke out in Bosnia in 1992. Ibric and his family fled Srebrenica shortly before more than 8,000 people were massacred there. After the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats fell into a war that lasted nearly four years. The conflict claimed more than 100,000 lives and uprooted more than two million people.
Also a recipient of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Award of Valor, one of Ibric's goals is to ensure other children will not suffer through genocide.
"What's happening in Darfur is something that I went through," Ibric said. "If there's a way I can make a child's life better by speaking about it, I'm more than glad to help out. I don't want young children seeing the things I saw and living in fear for their lives."
Ibric, a two-year team captain at Wheaton, two-time national champion and five-time All-American in track, also holds four school records. He majored in international relations with a minor in Russian. He now works for the federal government.