By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University men's swimmer Jason Bayang (Sr., Wahiawa, HI/Hoala School) has been chosen as a Play It Forward honoree for the 2017 spring season at the collegiate level as selected by the Oregon Sports Awards. Bayang earned the award for his exceptional volunteer service to Special Olympics Swimming of Marion and Polk Counties.
Bayang is eligible for the 2017 Play It Forward Athlete of the Year Award, which will be presented during the Oregon Sports Awards Show on June 18 in the Stanford Theater at the Tiger Woods Center located at Nike's World Headquarters in Portland.
"As a coaching staff, we are proud of Jason for winning the Nike spring Play it Forward Award," Willamette Head Swimming Coach Leslie Shevlin said. "More than that, we are so proud of the person that Jason is."
During his four years at Willamette, Bayang was a coach for Special Olympics swimming team that represented Marion and Polk Counties. For the first three years, he was an assistant coach, working iwth a specific group and attending the Special Olympics Regional Meet. As a senior this past season, Bayang was the head coach with duties that included planning the workouts, arranging the practice schedule, leading the coaching staff and managing the group of athlete at the Regional Meet.
Bayang, who recently received the Men's Student-Athlete Service Award from Willamette Athletics at the Bearcat Awards Show, also provided community service at home in Hawaii during the summer breaks in 2012 and 2014. He volunteered 600 hours of service with two non-profit groups through the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps.
"Jason understands the importance of giving back to his community and being consistent with his support of Marion County Special Olympics," Shevlin said. "He was honored to coach the Special Olympic swimmers for four years, and I know that they were able to count on Jason as their coach."
The Play It Forward Award is presented to student-athletes who provide significant community service in Oregon that results in youngsters being active and encourages a healthy lifestyle.