Management professor Angela Casler still remembers the first time she met Tyler Stofiel.
“He walked up to me and told me all about himself—that he was from Portland and he knew nothing about Chico—but he was proud to be here,” Casler recalls. “You could see right away that he was thirsty, passionate about learning.”
“He’s so brilliant,” she continued. “He digs deep. His critical thinking is way above the caliber of most of his peers. He really stands out.”
Stofiel made more than just a good first impression at Chico State. He made a lasting impression. This week, Stofiel was announced as the University’s second-ever winner of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
To be nominated for the CCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, individuals must have a 3.5 grade-point average or higher at a Conference institution, completed their final season of eligibility, and participated in a CCAA-sponsored sport. The award is voted on and selected by the Faculty Athletic Representatives (FARs) from the Conference’s 13-member institutions.
“The competition for this award is always phenomenal and it was this year as well,” said Chico State Faculty Athletic Representative and management professor Jim Morgan. “This is an outstanding accomplishment for Tyler. He should be very proud. I know we are all very proud of him.”
Like opposing base stealers and so many group projects, the criteria were no match for Stofiel, who graduated in May with an accounting degree and will begin a job with KPMG back home in Portland this fall.
He recently earned Academic All-America honors thanks in part to a 3.94 grade point average, which was the highest among any Division II catcher in the nation. Stofiel was also selected as Chico State’s Senior Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2020 CCAA Baseball Championship Scholar Award winner for boasting the highest GPA among baseball players in the CCAA.
Stofiel was also a leader among Chico State’s student-athlete community, representing the baseball team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for four years. In that role, Stofiel helped organize community service events and was actively involved in fundraising for needy families and youth.
Following the Camp Fire that devastated the nearby communities of Paradise and Concow, Stofiel aided in the baseball team’s efforts to raise money and donations for affected little leagues.
“The moment Tyler joined our program he added immediate value to everything we do,” Chico State head baseball coach Dave Taylor said. “His work ethic on the field is only rivaled by his work ethic in the classroom. Being a student-athlete takes a great amount of dedication, hard work, and commitment, and I’ve never seen anyone do it better than Ty.
“Ty is the only player in our program to have been voted team captain three consecutive years,” Taylor continued. “That’s leadership.”
On the field, Stofiel established himself as one of the top defensive catchers in Chico State history. A two-time Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Gold Glove nominee, he committed just five errors in 145 career games behind the plate and handled his pitching staffs with aplomb. Stofiel earned two CCAA All-Honorable Mention awards in the process.
“Ty will go down as one of the best defensive catchers in Chico State history,” Taylor said.
Even so, Stofiel may have made his greatest impression on his professors.
“Tyler is the kind of student every professor wants to have in class,” said Gary Braun, who taught Stofiel in an entry-level accounting class and then later in advanced courses. “He stood out to me during that very first class and made a very positive impression.”
“Tyler was a very serious student,” he continued. “And yet he always had a smile on his face. He was focused, disciplined, and very smart. He was humble and had a good sense of humor. He asked good questions and he did the work.”
Casler is confident that Stofiel’s legacy will only grow in his professional pursuits.
“The thing that impresses me most about Tyler is his emotional intelligence,” Casler said. “During group projects, he listens to his teammates and gives them positive encouragement. He brings out the best in people. He can take charge but often times he’s that silent leader who throws out a good idea and lets other people thrive. I can see how he was chosen to be team captain, because he has the admiration of everyone he meets. He has a great road ahead of him and I can’t wait to see his success.”