University of Kentucky Athletics presented 28 honors at the eighth-annual CATSPY Awards, held Monday at Memorial Coliseum to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2009-10 year. With co-winners in some categories, a total of four teams and 24 individuals were recognized.
“I think this is the finest college athletics banquet I have ever been a part of and I’ve been a part of many of them,” said Jay Crawford of ESPN and co-host of this year’s CATSPY Awards.
Men’s and women’s basketball won the Male and Female Team of the Year awards for their achievements. The men’s team was ranked as high as No. 1 and advanced to the Elite Eight, while also winning the school’s 44th Southeastern Conference Championship as well as the program’s 26th SEC Tournament Championship. The women’s team reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history, winning a school-record 28 games as well as 11 SEC games, also a program best.
“We’ve been doing this for eight years now and every year there are more and more athletes that deserve to win things and it becomes harder and harder to select those that do,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Last year I remember basketball got shut out completely and there wasn’t any awards. This year basketball walked out with a lot of hardware and that’s because they had an exceptional year. There is a lot of athletes that have done a lot of remarkable things.”
The Mr. and Miss Wildcat Awards are given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service. Molly Johnson of softball and Sarah Rumely of volleyball were named Miss Wildcat, while football’s Randall Cobb and Patrick Patterson of men’s basketball were co-winners of Mr. Wildcat.
“At Kentucky we came here eight years ago and said we were going to be a top-25 program,” Barnhart said. “We moved that up a little bit. We said we want to be a top-15 program. We have very good intentions to do that, but it means nothing unless our actions are very intentional in the way we do it in the way we take care of business. We can say we want to be that. At the end of the winter sports, our athletic department was ranked 13th in the country because of the efforts of (our student-athletes and coaches).”
The Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Victoria Dunlap, who was named SEC Player of the Year and received multiple All-America honors.
“I think the difference this year was just our mindset as a team,” Dunlap said. “We worked hard and the coaches did a great job and we got it done.”
The Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to freshman basketball player John Wall, who was named the Adolph Rupp National Player of the Year, as well as SEC Player of the Year.
“The fan support that we had and the coaching staff that we had, everybody in the Big Blue Nation supported us so much,” Wall said. “This means a lot. I’m going this a whole lot.”
The Female Performance of the Year Award went to A’dia Mathies of women’s basketball for her 32-point effort against Liberty in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Male Performance of the Year Award was received by Sam Maxwell of football for his two-interception, 11-tackle performance at Georgia.
The Academic Teams of the Year were men’s golf and women’s swimming. The Scholar-Athletes of the Year were Julie Hull (women’s soccer) and Chad Hagerty (men’s soccer).
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Russ Pear, Associate AD for Facilities and Operations.
“The one thing I’ve remembered about being here in my almost 32 years here is there is nobody bigger than this program,” Pear said. “This program will continue to grow and it’s all because of (our student-athletes).”
A complete list of awards is below:
Female Character Award Christine Johnson (Tennis)
Male Character Award Kwasi Obeng (Track and Field)
Female Community Service Award Andrea Halasek (Track and Field)
Male Community Service Award Josh Nadzam (Track and Field)
Female Supporting Role Natalie Smith (Softball)
Male Supporting Role John Conner (Football)
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year Julie Hull (Soccer)
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Chad Hagerty (Soccer)
Female Academic Team of the Year Women’s Swimming
Male Academic Team of the Year Men’s Golf
Female Rookie of the Year A’dia Mathies (Basketball)
Male Rookie of the Year DeMarcus Cousins (Basketball)
Mike Lyden Courage Award Lydia Watkins (Basketball)
Female Performance of the Year A’dia Mathies (Basketball)
Male Performance of the Year Sam Maxwell (Football)
Scratch Award Laura Stokowski (Volleyball)
Lifetime Achievement Award Russ Pear (Assoc. AD for Facilities & Operations)
One Shining Moment Men’s Basketball
Bill Keightley “Assist” Award Brigid Hamill (GA for Strength and Conditioning)
Blue Heart Award Derrick Locke (Football)
Female Team Coach of the Year Matthew Mitchell (Basketball)
Male Team Coach of the Year John Calipari (Basketball)
K-Association Female Athlete of the Year Victoria Dunlap (Basketball)
K-Association Male Athlete of the Year John Wall (Basketball)
Miss Wildcat Molly Johnson (Softball)
Sarah Rumely (Volleyball)
Mr. Wildcat Randall Cobb (Football)
Patrick Patterson (Basketball)
Men’s Team of the Year Men’s Basketball
Women’s Team of the Year Women’s Basketball