BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern athletic department announced the winners of its awards and recognized the accomplishments of the student-athletes at its 2018 Athletic Awards Dinner Tuesday night in the Norton Great Hall on BSC's campus.
During the 2017-18 athletic year, Panthers received 97 all-conference honors, 12 all-region selections, 11 conference player of the year awards, two team championships, one coach of the year award, had 11 All-Americans, and one national champion. There are also 66 graduating seniors in the class of 2018 leaving BSC athletics that were recognized for their time on the Hilltop by their head coaches.
A full list of the big awards and their recipients are below.
Men's swimming and diving was named the BSC Team of the Year after being ranked nationally and putting together another record-breaking season. In a landslide, they won the SAA championship for the fourth-consecutive season, had over 11 all-conference selections, including the swimmer of the year, newcomer of the year, and the conference coach of the year in Toby Wilcox. The Panthers also sent five swimmers to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.
The Man and Woman of the Year award went to Brady Coleman from men's swimming and Carlee Petro from women's tennis. The honors were created by the Southern Athletic Association in 2013 to be the league's biggest and most prestigious awards. Nominees must be seniors with no remaining eligibility. BSC's selections will go on to be in the running for 2018 SAA Man and Woman of the Year.
Jamal Watkins of men's track and field and Karmin Shute of women's track and field were named the Larry D. Striplin Athletes of the Year. The awards were named in honor of late benefactor Larry D. Striplin, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. He was a 1952 graduate of Birmingham-Southern and is a member of the BSC Sports Hall of Fame. Striplin served for many years on the Birmingham-Southern Board of Trustees and was Chairman of the Athletic Affairs Committee of the Board. The BSC baseball field, Striplin Field, is named in his honor, as well as the Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Physical Fitness and Recreation Center on the BSC campus.
The Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Senior Student-Athlete award went to Kerrigan Pennington of football and Natalie Daniel of women's lacrosse. Johnny Johnson was one of the most beloved and dedicated administrators at Birmingham-Southern. Prior to his untimely death in November of 2001, Johnson served the college as vice president for business and financial affairs and was instrumental in helping the college develop a plan for moving its athletic program to the NCAA Division I level.
In honor of his behind-the-scenes work for two decades at Birmingham-Southern, the athletic department created an annual award honoring senior student-athletes who exemplify the qualities of scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and the selfless attitude in and out of the athletic arena, who inspires teammates, coaches, and fans.
Senior Ashley Shepherd of women's lacrosse and Lee Thompson of men's tennis were named the Ben Sinclair Teammates of the Year. This is the third year of the Sinclair Award. It is given annually to a student-athlete who enriches his or her program through their attitude, positivity, and by being their teammates' biggest fan and supporter every single day. They serve as a role model by the way they live their life and are considered the hardest working member of any team.
Newcomers of the Year, freshman Abby Kay Choate from women's soccer and Patrick Dunne from men's swimming and diving, were recognized for their extraordinary performances on the pitch and in the pool this year.
BSC also acknowledged the 6 newest members of Sigma Alpha Alpha, the new honors society formed by the SAA for graduating seniors. Inductees have achieved above a 3.5 cumulative grade point average over the course of their time at BSC, and have represented their programs on either the first or second all-conference teams.
2018 BSC Athletic Award Winners
BSC Team of the Year: Men's Swimming and Diving
BSC Man of the Year: Brady Coleman (Men's Swimming)
BSC Woman of the Year: Carlee Petro (Women's Tennis)
Larry D. Striplin Male Athlete of the Year: Jamal Watkins (Men's Track and Field)
Larry D. Striplin Female Athlete of the Year: Karmin Shute (Women's Track and Field)
Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Seniors: Natalie Daniel (Women's Lacrosse) and Kerrigan Pennington (Football)
The Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year: Ashley Shepherd (Women's Lacrosse) and Lee Thompson (Men's Tennis)
Male Newcomer of the Year: Patrick Dunne (Men's Swimming and Diving)
Female Newcomer of the Year: Abby Kay Choate (Women's Soccer)