BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern athletics department announced the winners of its awards and recognized the accomplishments of the student-athletes at its 2019 Athletic Awards Dinner Monday night in the Norton Great Hall on BSC's campus.
During the 2018-19 athletic year, Panthers received 100 all-conference honors, six all-region selections, 12 conference player of the year awards, six team championships, two coach of the year awards and had nine All-Americans. There are also 91 graduating seniors in the class of 2019 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.
Softball was named the team of the year after being ranked nationally as high as No. 6 and putting together another incredible season. The Panthers cruised in the regular season with a 31-5 record and swept through the competition in the conference tournament to earn both SAA regular season and tournament titles and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Softball also had seven All-SAA selections, including Pitcher of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, while head coach Kimball Cassady was named the SAA Coach of the Year.
Man and Woman of the Year
The Man and Woman of the Year awards went to Sy Butler from football and Katie Gleeson from women's lacrosse. 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 2019 SAA Man and Woman of the Year.
Male and Female Athletes of the Year
Kameren Morgan of men's track and field and Becca Erwin of women's swimming and diving were named the Larry D. Striplin Male Athlete of the Year and the Ann Dielen Female Athlete of the Year, respectively.
The Male Athlete of the Year award was 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 Female Athlete of the Year honor was newly named for long-time tennis coach Ann Dielen, who coached for over 40 years on the Hilltop. She amassed over 700 wins coaching both the men's and women's tennis programs. Her success at Birmingham-Southern was highlighted by coaching up some of the best athletes Panther Athletics history and by serving as the Senior Woman Administrator. Dielen was instrumental in the advancement of women's sports at Birmingham-Southern.
Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Seniors
The Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Senior Student-Athlete awards went to John Oates of men's lacrosse and Kendall Hamm of softball. 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.
Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year
Senior Brett Feringa of men's soccer was named the Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year. This is the fourth 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.
Male and Female Newcomers of the Year
Newcomers of the Year, Bailey Murphy from softball and freshman Gentry Neese from football, were recognized for their extraordinary performances on the field this year.
Sigma Alpha Alpha
BSC also acknowledged the 9 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.
2019 BSC Athletic Award Winners
BSC Team of the Year: Softball
BSC Man of the Year: Sy Butler (Football)
BSC Woman of the Year: Katie Gleeson (Women's Lacrosse)
Larry D. Striplin Male Athlete of the Year: Kameren Morgan (Men's Track and Field)
Ann Dielen Female Athlete of the Year: Becca Erwin (Women's Swimming and Diving)
Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Seniors: John Oates (Men's Lacrosse) and Kendall Hamm (Softball)
The Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year: Brett Feringa (Men's Soccer)
Male Newcomer of the Year: Gentry Neese (Football)
Female Newcomer of the Year: Bailey Murphy (Softball)
Sigma Alpha Alpha Inductees: Taylor Andrews, Chelsea Chamblee, Jake Cook, Galen Curry, Katie Gleeson, Luke Hambleton, Rich Misischia, Marjorie Ward and Tyler Wise
05.13 BSC Athletic Awards Dinner