April 20, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- Craig Way, otherwise known as the "Voice of the Longhorns," may have said it best Monday night, as he presided over the 2010 Academic Awards Presentation at the Frank Erwin Center.
Another group of student-athletes had just been ushered to the stage, and they were cramming together for a group photo.
Way noted, "That's a lot of smarts right there."
UT student-athletes were required to make at least a 3.0 GPA in 2009 to earn an invitation to the banquet, and 273 were on hand Monday. It was an evening to celebrate academic accomplishments, and there were many.
In 2009, 16 of UT's 20 sports teams recorded a team GPA of at least 3.0, and 114 student-athletes were named to Academic All-Big 12 teams. More than 60 percent of UT student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA, and 36 student-athletes registered a perfect 4.0.
Soccer's Casey Mogk is one of them. She's a senior in the McCombs School of Business Professional Accounting Program, and she has never made a B at The University of Texas.
"I work really hard, never fall behind and just get things done. And I'm not the only one," Mogk said. "I feel so honored to be at an event like this. It's great to see athletes get recognition for all their hard work in the classroom."
Drew Kelson, a former Academic All-Big 12 selection for Football, was the night's featured speaker. After graduating in 2007, he is now working in commercial real estate in Houston.
"Surround yourself with people you look up to," Kelson told the audience, "because iron sharpens iron."
That is the general motivation behind Monday's event, because it provides a setting where all the men's and women's sports programs can gather and acknowledge the dedication required to also excel in the classroom.
"They are here to celebrate for a short moment their academic successes, and I think in a room like this they really shine. They really glow," said Dr. Randa Ryan, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student Services. "One of our primary roles is to provide the support structure so they can get done everything they need to. We try to help them with tutors or mentors to get through the day with the structure and support they need."
More than 50 members of the UT Football team were on hand and honored, and many acknowledged the role the academic support staff plays in their classroom performance.
"This is a night to celebrate all the work that's done in the classroom that isn't as visible as what they do on the field," said Brian Davis, Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services for Football. "It's become a goal to be (invited to the banquet). So many of them have their families here, and to them, this is as big as anything they do on the field."
Said running back Tre' Newton: "It's a great experience. We have a lot of pressure on us from both athletics and academics, so it's good to get honored for our academics. Academics are stressed very highly, because when you get done with football you need to be able to go out and get a job."
Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky opened the evening by reminding everyone that the courage and fortitude UT student-athletes display in their sports also helps them succeed academically, and Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds concluded the night with a similar message.
"This is a great night. This is one of the most important things we do," Dodds said.
2009-10 MEN'S AND WOMEN'S ACADEMIC AWARDS PRESENTATION HONOREES
Academic MVPs (women's teams)
Kathleen Nash (basketball), Lauren Salisbury (cross country), Alex Richards (golf), Colleen Irby (rowing), Casey Mogk (soccer), Erin Tresselt (softball), Adrienne Woods (swimming and diving), Sarah Lancaster (tennis), Betzy Jimenez (track), Chantel Malone (field), Heather Kisner (volleyball)
Lan Hewlett Award (highest GPA on men's teams)
Russell Moldenhauer (baseball), Damion James (basketball), Bradley Lowrey (cross country), Adam Ulatoski (football), Chris Causey (golf), Trey Hoover (swimming and diving), Jon Wiegand (tennis), Saviour Achilike (track), Brandon Drennon (field)
Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholars
Men's Basketball: Dogus Balbay, Damion James, Gary Johnson
Baseball: Austin Dicharry
Women's Basketball: Yvonne Anderson, Ashleigh Fontenette
Soccer: Alicia Ortiz
Football: Sam Acho, Emmanuel Acho, Tre' Newton, Fozzy Whittaker
Men's Golf: Dylan Frittelli, Julio Vegas
Women's Tennis: Caroline Larson, Carlene Layden
Men's Swimming and Diving: Andrew Wang, Brian Wilson
Men's Track and Field: Brandon Drenon, Saviour Achilike
Women's Track and Field: Kim Ikegbunam, Chantel Malone, Okwe Okolie, Beverly Owoyele, Amanda Van Dyke, Megan Vasquez
Rowing: Felicia Izaguirre Werner, Anna Thomson
Volleyball: Rachael Adams, Bailey Webster, Sydney Yogi
Lorene L. Rogers Scholar-Athlete Award
Casey Mogk (women's soccer), Trey Hoover (men's swimming)
Intercollegiate Athletics Council Academic Achievement Award
Justin Mason (men's basketball), Ishie Oduegwu (football)
Janet Hauber Academic Excellence Award
Erin Tresselt (softball)
Academic Excellence & Spirit Award
Ed Corrie (men's tennis)
The V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Academic Excellence Award
Karlee Bispo (women's swimming)
Big 12 Community Champion Award
Loryn Johnson (softball), Colt McCoy (football)
Big 12 Scholar-Athlete Award
Emily Anderson (women's soccer), Ricky Berens (men's swimming)
Texas Exes Leadership Award
Heather Kisner (volleyball), Sam Acho (football)