After an incredible career both on and off the tennis courts, University of Kentucky men’s tennis senior Eric Quigley has received a high honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association being named one of two national recipients of the ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award, it was announced Tuesday.
Quigley is one of two players nationally to earn the Osuna Sportsmanship Award with Daniel Nguyen of Southern California being the other recipient.
“The Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award is one of the most prestigious awards you can win in college tennis,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “Rafael Osuna was truly one of the great champions and sportsmen to come out of college tennis. He was such a great ambassador for our game. For Eric to win one of the national awards is such an honor for him. I am so proud of everything he has accomplished and what all he has meant to our program.”
The ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award is the ITA's longest-running award and goes to a Division I men's player who displays sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and has had outstanding tennis playing accomplishments. The award was established in 1969 in memory of Rafael Osuna, who was killed in a plane accident at the age of 30. Osuna is one of the all-time great collegiate tennis players, winning three NCAA doubles titles (1961-63) and the 1962 NCAA singles title.
“Eric Quigley has been a model student-athlete during his four years at Kentucky,” UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said. “The highest award we give are the Mr. and Miss Wildcat Awards, which are given for athletic, academic and personal excellence. Eric has won that award each of the last two years and that speaks to how highly we think about him and his character.”
The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., was recently named the Ohio Valley honoree for the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and the Ohio Valley Senior Player of the Year. The Arthur Ashe Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. The award, which dates back to 1982, goes to a student-athlete that has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. The Senior Player of the Year Award looks to honor a senior student-athlete who is having an exceptional season. Quigley was also named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year this season.
Quigley has had a sensational senior season for the Wildcats, posting a 48-7 record in singles action, including an 11-0 mark this spring against SEC foes and a 25-2 record in dual matches. The co-captain's 48 singles wins this season breaks the school record for most singles wins in a season, while earlier this year he became the winningest singles player in school history with career win No. 145. Quigley is currently ranked third in the nation in singles and has not fallen out of the top 10 in the nation in singles all season long. The senior has earned 19 wins over currently ranked foes this spring, including seven wins over players currently ranked in the top 15. Quigley is a five-time All-American during his career with three singles All-America honors and two doubles All-America honors. The senior is a singles and doubles All-America honoree this season.
With the honor, Quigley becomes the third player in school history to win an ITA National Award, joining former stars Jesse Witten and Cedric Kauffmann. Witten was named the national Rookie Player of the Year in 2002, while Kauffmann was the national Player to Watch in 1996.