Athletes with Degrees   /   Success
Our Company
Athletes with Degrees/Success Inc.(AWDS) is a non-profit organization through membership and sponsorship. AWDS current members are degreed, professional and successful former student athletes who are influencing our communities daily. AWDS's founder,  Kenny O'Banner is a former student athlete who did not get an opportunity to play for a professional team because of a career ending knee injury.

Serving our Communities by inspiring our students-athletes
Our Vision
Athletes with Degrees/Success (AWD) vision is to inspire and communicate to all student athletes how valuable it is to them and their community to complete their college education. Seminars, activities and forums for all students and athletes will be conducted by degreed athletes who are  members of this association.
How We're Different
We standout because we have been there. All AWD members are professional business women and men who have coached, played, is playing or have children who are professionals/student-athletes. We are here to influence education upon the student-athletes which will prepare them for their future endeavors. 

Members include, Anton V. Vincent; President at General Mills and Chief Advisor for AWD. Dr. Galen Duncan; Senior Director of Player Development for the Detroit Lions, NBA consultant and Christine Baker; Author and Middletown, Connecticut Sports Hall Of Fame inductee 2011.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts"    
Winston Churchill
C. Baker
​Interview with Kenny O’Banner MBA, CEO and Founder of

    ​​​​​​                         On Today’s show, Kenny O’Banner, Master of           Business Administration Graduate, former Navy officer and Fedex Executive is now the Founder and CEO He shares passion for Education and his work with Student Athletes. A fantastic interview, with a truly passionate leader and role model within our community.

    The theme of this interview is completing your education and becoming a stronger role model for future generations, while at the same time giving yourself a platform to create change and influence positivity upon retirement from your playing days.

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"I hope school systems throughtout the country reach out to AWDS & use their expertise to mentor aspiring student athletes with a serious dose of reality & responsibility".
​Rich Kosik​​-
seminar leader NYC  PSAL & Student - Athlete Advocate


"​Well, I didnt quite expect to be first on deck but when the coach asks you to play a play it. I will bring the ball up otherwise the game obviously wont get started. Although I don't have stats in front of me at this moment (nor do I have time to look for them), there has been a growing trend in professional sports to look much harder at athletes that have acquired degrees. The New England Patriots were the first to boast that the majority of their team (70% or more) had obtained a 4 year degree. This philosophy has trickled down and we now look much more closely at players who have a degree. Does having a degree make you a more complete football player? I would say no. However, it does tell us certain things about a person. In a nutshell, anyone who obtains a four year degree has had to exhibit some level of commitment, persistance, time/stress management and ability to retain and express key points". These qualities are directly related to success in all endeavors...questions or comments? The ball has been passed...

 Dr. Galen Duncan                                     

Dr. Rod Paige: Former US      Secretary of Ed., Current Interim President at JSU 
 No. 44 Basketball
      No. 43 Baseball
No. 35 Football
                         Anton V. Vincent
Kaven Bernard, a spring 2016 graduate and former men's basketball player
(photo courtesy JSU Sports Media)
JACKSON, Miss. - The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced its 2015-16 All-Academic Team and Jackson State University had 176 student-athletes to receive the honor. In order to qualify for the team, student-athletes must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.

The Tigers, for the third consecutive time, earned the institutional Academic Excellence Award for having the most honorees on the All-Academic team. JSU, which is considered a model institution concerning Academic Progress Rate (APR) by the NCAA, also led the SWAC in APR. Put into effect in 2003 as part of an ambitious academic reform effort in Division I, APR holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

Currently, teams must maintain a four-year average APR of 930 or a two-year APR of 940 to participate in NCAA championships. In 2015-16 and beyond, teams must keep a four-year average APR of 930 to compete in championships. While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams that under-perform academically over time.

JSU did not have any teams to fall into the APR penalty structure in the latest report. The All-Academic Team is representative of the SWAC's progress, with the increases in training and focus shift towards the academic success of its student-athletes.

   Denzel Washington with his wife. 
       Mr. Overton the oldest living WWII veteran with Whitney O'Banner
Rebels Strong Competitors in the Classroom during Fall 2016
Gabrielle Union got skills to go with her Degree. Click on her photo for more.