April 23, 2010
Jordan Christian, Texas Media Relations
Destinee Hooker has taken her talent to the professional volleyball ranks, but her legacy will always be remembered here at The University of Texas.
During the 2009 Volleyball season, Hooker led her team to the NCAA National Championship game. Despite falling to Penn State in five sets, Hooker was still named the 2009 NCAA Championship’s Most Outstanding player.
Hooker ranked second in the Big 12 with her.358 hitting percentage, and the Big 12 recognized her talent by naming her the 2009 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. She also earned her fourth career All-Big 12 First Team selection.
The volleyball season was a prime way to cap another remarkable year for Hooker. During the 2009 track and field season, she won the NCAA Outdoor High Jump title, becoming just the second female in NCAA history to three-peat in the outdoor event. She also became first athlete to sweep the NCAA indoor and outdoor high jump titles in the same year since 2004 along with sweeping both the Big 12 indoor and outdoor crowns as well.
Those milestones led to Hooker being named the 2008-09 Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
"It was such a blessing to be named Big 12 Athlete of the Year. It was a little bit of a shock because of the other females in the league that were also nominated and are equally deserving of the honor," Hooker said. "I couldn't have done it without both of my coaching staffs, my parents and my teammates."
For Hooker, the accolades are not the only important part about influencing the volleyball and track and field programs at UT.
“I think whenever you come in as a freshman you don't really want to say too much. You just want to watch everything,” Hooker said. “Then when you're a senior, you've been through it all. When a freshman makes a mistake and they look at you, you're like, `You've got it! I've been there.' I guess when you're older, you want to be able to take someone under your wing, rather than having someone younger than you, telling you, `It's ok, keep going.' You have to be the one that's centered and mentally stronger.”
Hooker has without a doubt garnered her own page in the UT record books. She ranks third all-time at Texas in kills (1,821) and points (2,180), while ranking fourth in block solos (132) and fifth in hitting percentage (.326). She also holds the UT record in the indoor and outdoor high jump along with setting the NCAA indoor record with her clearance of 6-6 (1.98m).
Hooker passed up her last year of track eligibility to pursue professional volleyball opportunities in Korea and now Puerto Rico.
"Destinee is a tremendous athlete and she has put a lot of hard work into what she has accomplished in volleyball and track," Texas Volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "She is one of the premiere female athletes in the country, and she is one of the best female athletes ever at Texas."