Jan. 5, 2011
NASHVILLE - A quartet of current and former University of Tennessee standouts were among those honored by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as president Bill Emendorfer announced a group of seven individuals and three national championship teams which will be recognized at the organization's annual awards banquet and induction ceremony on Fri., Feb. 11, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.
In the Male and Female Professional Athlete categories, UT was represented by a pair of pitchers in R.A. Dickey and Monica Abbott, respectively. The Big Orange swept the amateur awards as well, with former Lady Vol track standout Phoebe Wright and current Vol tennis star John-Patrick Smith taking home the accolades.
One of the best stories in baseball this year, the 36-year old Dickey finished second in balloting for National League Comeback Player of the Year after solidifying himself as one of the top pitchers on the New York Mets' staff. The knuckleballer pitched 174.1 innings, going 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA in 26 starts. He will be awarded alongside fellow MLB hurlers David Price and Matt Cain, as all three were named Male Professional Athletes of the Year.
A standout on the U.S. Women's National Softball Team last summer, Abbott also won the championship at the 2010 ISF XII Women's World Championship in Caracas, Venezuela, and the KFC World Cup of Softball 5 in Oklahoma City, Okla. She played professional softball this past season for Toyota Motor Corporation of the Japan Pro League as well. During November, the 6-3 lefthander led her squad to its first JPL championship in 26 years by throwing a perfect game in the league final.
Wright finished her Tennessee career as a three-time NCAA distance medley relay champion, a two-time NCAA 800m champion, two-time SEC 800m champion, three-time SEC distance medley relay champion, nine-time All-American, 14-time SEC scorer, world record-holder with the indoor distance medley relay and outdoor 4x1500m, and American record-holder with the indoor distance medley relay and outdoor 4x800m and 4x1500m relays. She also holds five UT records on relays, ranks No. 1 outdoors and No. 2 indoors on UT's all-time 800m lists, is a two-time first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American and was the recipient of the SEC's 2010 H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The nation's No. 21-ranked men's tennis player, Smith is currently a senior at Tennessee. Last season, he was tabbed an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American in both singles and doubles for the third time. The Townsville, Australia, native posted a career-best 41-9 singles record to go along with a 46-9 worksheet in doubles en route to leading the Vols to their third NCAA team championship match. He also garnered ITA Scholar Athlete and SEC Player of the Year accolades and was named the ITA Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award winner.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will also present amateur athlete Kathleen Johnson with its Outstanding Achievement Award, in addition to recognizing the state's three national championship teams: Cumberland University baseball, Union University women's basketball and Lee University women's soccer.
Tickets for the awards banquet and induction ceremony are available from the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame for $125.00 each. For more information concerning the event, call the TSHF office at 615-242-4750.