Ahmard Hall named Big 12 Conference Sportsperson of the Year
DALLAS -- University of Texas senior fullback Ahmard Hall has been named a 2005 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, along with Nebraska gymnast Richelle Simpson, the conference office announced Tuesday.
The Big 12 annually recognizes its top male and female sportsperson. The Sportspersons of the Year Award was started prior to the 2000-01 academic year to recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service from within the conference. A media panel selected Hall and Simpson.
Hall is a dedicated husband and father, an unselfish and caring teammate, a proud military veteran, hard-working student and community volunteer. He set a tremendous example when, after finishing a standout high school career, he elected to join the Marines. He served four years, including tours in Kosovo and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and yet never relinquished his dream of playing college football.
"For me, this is all a dream come true," Hall said. "Everything that's already happened to me throughout the season and the past year would have been enough, but to be named the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, I couldn't be happier. It puts me at a loss for words. I just wanted to come back and finish out my career. I thought I had a chance to make the team and contribute, but to be in a position to be the starting fullback and receive an award like this and the other accolades from last season, I couldn't have dreamed it would happen this way."
After his tour in the military, the inactive reserve, who had rapidly risen to the rank of Sergeant, enrolled at Texas and joined the team as a walk-on in 2003.
"I can't think of an individual who is more appropriate for an award that recognizes sportsmanship than Ahmard," Mack Brown said. "He epitomizes everything you want in a student-athlete. Ahmard is a great leader, hard-working and determined teammate, a dedicated father and husband and a guy who proudly serves our country. He's certainly a person we are extremely honored to have in our football program and at our University."
Hall could still be called to active duty at any time, and despite not playing football for four years, it took only one season on the scout team for him to become one of the Longhorns' special teams standouts and a backup fullback. His continued hard work has paid off and he enters 2005 as the starting fullback.
Hall played in every game last season for fourth-ranked Texas (11-1), while recording 10 special teams tackles, second-best on the squad.
His teammates not only rely on him for his physical ability, but also his leadership and sportsmanship. Hall is known for treating opponents with dignity and respect. On the anniversary of Sept. 11 last year, the coaches and team selected the Marine Sergeant to carry the American flag onto the field before the Texas-Arkansas game. The Angleton, Texas native was also one of the two players chosen to attend a ceremony at the Texas State Capitol when the Longhorns Rose Bowl Championship team was honored with a resolution.
Off the field, Hall balances the responsibilities of being a husband, father and student-athlete along with his work in the community. He assists military veterans in Austin and is part of the Longhorn community service program. Last fall, Hall organized a care package drive for soldiers overseas in combat and local veterans in the area. The items were presented to the commandant for the Central Texas Detachment of the Marine Corps League on Veterans Day in association with the Momma Bear Cares program.
UT honored Hall with the inaugural Pat Tillman Award at the 2004 football banquet. That night, his unselfish nature continued to shine. He was unable to attend the event because he was taking care of his two-year-old son, Mason, while his wife Joanna, a fellow Marine, worked overtime to earn time off to attend the Rose Bowl.
Hall is finishing his college degree on the G.I. bill and has two years of active duty awaiting him when he finishes his studies.
As the Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, Hall and Simpson are eligible for the 2005 NCAA Sportsmanship award.
The conference will recognize the pair on Dec. 3 during the first half of the 2005 Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.