Academy Board of Trustees Chairman Robert C. Campbell, left, gives the 2009 Alumnus of the Year medallion to James Vilade.

A devotion to charitable causes is one of the many reasons why University of Texas at Tyler baseball coach and athletic director James Vilade was honored as the 2009 United States Sports Academy Alumnus of the Year.

One of Vilade’s favorite charities is the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas. During the last two months, the Tyler baseball team and area students collected 1,700 books in two book drives. The books will be used to open a library for the Boys & Girls Club and be distributed free to children at a “Day for Kids” event.

“I’ve always recognized (community works) as part of the educational process. It’s essential,” Vilade told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “In our community, we have to take care of each other and we have to come up with ideas to support the needs. Literacy is a big thing. We need all kids to read and need all kids to have books.”

Vilade is a 2003 master’s graduate in sports management. He recently announced his resignation at Tyler effective in June, when he will accept a position as vice president with the Premier Baseball Academy in Plano, Texas, and serve as an associate scout with the Florida Marlins.