Via Major League Lacrosse and UVa Sports Information

Former UVa men’s lacrosse defenseman Michael Culver, currently with the Chicago Machine of Major League Lacrosse, has been honored as the recipient of the New Balance Sportsman of the Year award. The award was based on votes submitted by the General Manger and the Head Coach of each of the 10 MLL teams. Culver, along with other MLL honorees, will be acknowledged at the Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Aug. 26, during New Balance Championship Weekend.

The New Balance Sportsman of the Year recognizes a player who has consistently demonstrated sportsmanship through tenacity, determination and fair play on the field over the course of the regular season.

Tired of losing during the season, Culver made a guarantee that his winless Chicago team would defeat the Los Angeles Riptide on July 29, and as incentive, he promised to donate half of his season’s salary to charity if proven wrong. Even if Chicago had won, he made a promise to donate a game check.

After the Machine fell to the Riptide 14-8, Culver made good on his promise and donated half his season’s paycheck to the Children’s Heart Foundation, a charity founded and committed to the funding of research “to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects.” Culver’s donation created a ripple effect, as the Riptide decided to match his donation, and other teams and individuals contributed as well.

Culver was a captain of this season’s NCAA Championship Virginia squad that became the first in Division I history to finish with a 17-0 record. As senior year this spring, he was named first-team All-American, the ACC Tournament MVP, and the national Defenseman of the Year. For the Machine, Culver made his biggest impact felt when he held San Francisco attackman Ryan Powell to one assist in season finale.

Culver is the fourth recipient of the New Balance Sportsman of the Year, joining Long Island defenseman Pat McCabe, his current Head Coach Kevin Finneran and former New Jersey Pride attackman Jon Hess.