Denny hurls strikes on diamond, hits home runs in classroom
Meagan Denny, junior pitcher on the Texas Softball team, found herself reading in amazement when she received an email from Dr. Randa Ryan, senior associate athletics director for student services, that told Denny she was the Female Student-Athlete of the Month.
"I was saying, 'What? Not me!'" Denny said. "I just said to myself, 'Me? No way.'"
Denny, who was listed as "The Next, Next Big Thing" in the Sports Illustrated On Campus April 2004 edition, was overwhelmed by the recognition.
"You get your picture up in Belmont Hall," she continued, her genuine enthusiasm with receiving the honor evident in every word she spoke. "There are so many great student-athletes at this school, so to be chosen is just incredible.
"It came as a complete surprise. Like I said, 'Me? No way!'"
A member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in Spring 2006, Denny, a liberal arts major, is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was awarded the Betty Himmelblau Endowed Scholarship for Women's Athletics in the 2004-05 season. Denny also was the recipient of the 2006 Big 12 Community Champion Award for outstanding community service.
This kind of recognition to the Crowley native is nothing new, considering she was a three-time Academic All-District performer during high school.
Ryan leaves little doubt about her feelings for the standout hurler, who was ranked 18th nationally in strikeouts per seven innings a year ago and who has ably stepped in as the ace of the staff with the graduation of Cat Osterman.
"Meagan is one of my favorite students and has been since she walked on campus as one of the most wide-eyed freshmen you could ever imagine," Ryan said. "What struck me most about Meagan from the beginning was her integrity as a person and her complete commitment to always do her best.
"And what is actually amazing is that those qualities have been a steadfast part of her character from the start. Meagan is always positive and is never afraid to face challenges and work through them. It has been a gift to have Meagan here.
"Meagan Denny is a source of pride for her family, her team and for The University of Texas."
Denny, a member of the 2003 U.S. Junior National Team that captured a silver medal in the 2003 Junior Worlds, said her feelings are indescribable when it comes to the Student-Athlete of the Month award.
"It's a huge blessing, of course," she said. "It's rewarding because there are challenges to being a student-athlete at a place like Texas. There are many demands on your time. That's where Randa and the academic support staff are so great. They are there not only to help you from when you walk on campus, but more importantly, they are there to help you learn ways to help yourself.
"They are a blessing. I sort of call them our moms away from home. They are there for you, but they give you space because they know you have to grow during this time. Randa's group is so great for all of Texas' student-athletes."
And Denny can't imagine being anywhere else but Texas.
"Being a student-athlete at Texas," she says, "is most fulfilling."