April 9, 2012
The Sixth Annual Volscars took place on Monday night at the Knoxville Convention Center. Volleyball swept the top awards on the Lady Vols side while men's tennis took home men's team of the year.
Here's a look at the award winners
Best Female Supporting Role - Briana Bass
From the moment she stepped on campus as a freshman in 2008-09, this diminutive Lady Vol has been both a team and a crowd favorite... the game hasn't been about "her" but how could she help her team... She took on whatever role she was chosen for - cheerleader from the bench or starter... What mattered most to her was how she could best support the success of the Tennessee Lady Vol basketball team each and every day.
Best Male Supporting Role - Edward Jones
As the only returning starter from the 2011 SEC championship tennis team, Ed Jones has taken on the role of the Vols' veteran in 2012. On a team that features three freshmen at the top of the lineup, Ed Jones has been the Vols' most consistent performer in the outdoor season with a 6-2 record in singles and 5-2 record in doubles.
Joe Hendee Best Supporting Staff Member - Holly Warlick
Throughout our athletic careers, how many times have we all heard coaches say, "always be ready `cause you never know when you number is going to be called." Probably thousands right? This Tennessee All-American and 27-year member of the Lady Vol basketball coaching staff had her number called last August when her head coach was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's Type. She stepped up in a big way and helped to lead the Lady Vol basketball team to the NCAA Elite 8, an SEC Tournament title and a 27-9 overall record.
Outstanding Faculty/Staff Involvement - Dr. Joe Whitney
Motivation drives Dr. Joe Whitney toward perfection. One of his roles as UT's Director of Mental Training is helping Tennessee's more than 500 student-athletes learn to motivate themselves in competitive athletic environments, yet Whitney often is pleasantly surprised when he ends up being the one inspired by youthful exuberance.
Co-Female Rookie of the Year - Mary Pollmiller
Named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, volleyball setter Mary Pollmiller established herself as a premier setter after ranking fourth in the nation and first in the SEC in assists per set. Her average of 11.94 assists per set was the best among NCAA freshmen and is also a Lady Vol record during the rally-scoring era.
Female Rookie of the Year - Ellen Renfroe
Softball's Jackson, Tenn., native wasted no time making her presence felt nationally as a freshman, posting a 26-7 overall record from the pitching circle with a 1.50 ERA and 259 strikeouts on her way to Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American accolades.
Male Rookie of the Year - A.J. Johnson
A consensus First-Team Freshman All-American in 2011, A.J. Johnson made a major impact in his first season as a starting linebacker with the football team. Johnson set a program record by being named to five Freshman All-American First Teams as he posted 80 tackles.
Rocky Top Moment - Softball Walk-Off Homerun for SEC Championship
Shelby Burchell hit one of the biggest home runs in UT softball history on May 14 in Oxford, Miss., as her solo shot to center field in the bottom of the eighth completed #7 Tennessee's comeback from a 4-0, first-inning deficit and granted the Big Orange its second SEC Tournament title with a 6-5 (8 inn.) win over #8 Georgia
Howard Aldmon Female Volunteer Award - Chelsea Knotts
Recognized recently in the UT Chancellor's Report for a running ministry this track & field standout created to reach Knoxville's homeless population, Chelsea is UT's female nominee for the SEC's 2012 Brad Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and VolScholar Honor Roll and a two-time recipient of the Lady Vol Academic Achievement Award, this member of the inaugural class of Haslam Scholars at UT has been involved in numerous service opportunities, providing an especially-significant impact with Redeeming Hope Ministries.
Dr. Todd A. Diacon Male Volunteer Award - Skylar McBee
The men's basketball sharpshooter has led the charge for exemplary community outreach efforts by men's student-athletes. He willingly took part in several projects and events, including helping to build a home for a Knoxville family through Habitat for Humanity, assisting with the Hopes for Hope basketball tournament and visiting with patients at St. Jude's, UT Medical Center and the Patricia Neal Rehab Center.
Female Big Orange Heart Award - Natalie Pluskota
Intent on playing at Tennessee since the age of nine, Natalie Pluskota represents everything a Lady Vol should be, leading the tennis team on the court, and leading athletes in her passion for Tennessee off of it.
Male Big Orange Heart Award - Skylar McBee
East Tennessee born and bred, Skylar McBee is living a dream by suiting up for the Big Orange. That pride is showcased through his effort on the hardwood, as the Rutledge native attacks every loose ball as if it's his birthright.
Lady Vol Community Outreach Team of the Year - Soccer
In a season that saw the Lady Vol soccer program post 15 wins and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history, the Big Orange also found time to undertake many community projects including visits to Knoxville Children's Hospital, helping wrap and distribute toys with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes "Toys for Tots" program and showing tremendous public support for Lady Vol staff member Kristen Martin's daughter Anna in her battle against leukemia.
Vol Community Outreach Team of the Year - Men's Basketball
Heavily involved in community service around the Knoxville area and the state of Tennessee, the men's basketball team spent more time among the male teams working to better the community under Cuonzo Martin's leadership.
Best Comeback of the Year - Men's Basketball Overtime Win vs. LSU
Having struggled to find success on the road for much of the season, Tennessee traveled to LSU on Feb. 29 - Senior Day - to take on a Tigers squad that had won 11 of 14 games at home and boasted a pair of future pros in its frontcourt. Tennessee freshman Jarnell Stokes poured in a career-high 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and Jeronne Maymon added 14 points as the Volunteers erased a 15-poiunt deficit, forced overtime and fought their way to a thrilling 74-69 win. The Vols never led until senior Cameron Tatum drained a 3-pointer to open the overtime period. The triumph kept UT within striking distance of Florida and Vanderbilt in the league-standings, and Tennessee eventually went on to catch them and tie for second place.
Female Inspirational Award - Erica Popson
Lady Vol golf's Erica Popson had a tremendous spring season in 2011. Battling a thumb injury, Popson captured first place in four spring tournaments, including the SEC Individual Championship and the NCAA West Regional title, en route to a 14th place finish at the NCAA Championship in May.
Male Inspirational Award - Ben Martin
Battled back from tearing both Achilles in less than 12-month span to play in 12 games as a senior and made 18 tackles. Started eight games in 2011. Showed amazing perseverance in facing injuries throughout his college career.
Helen B. Watson Female Co-Scholar of the Year - Evelyn Gaddis
Maryville, Tenn., native Evelyn Gaddis is a sophomore on the Lady Vol rowing team. The nursing major was named to the SEC Honor Roll as a freshman and was recognized by the UT Athletics Board for achieving a superior GPA among student-athletes. Evelyn was recently award the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for achieving a 3.75 or better GPA. Evelyn competed last season as a novice and led her boat to a win over Louisville.
Helen B. Watson Female Scholar of the Year - Linda Hadfield
Linda has excelled in the classroom and in competition during her young track & field career, achieving a 4.0 grade point average as a freshman and continuing to maintain that perfect mark into her sophomore year. A member of the 2011 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team and SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll, she also made the 2011 SEC Outdoor All-Freshman Team with a sixth-place finish and career-best clearance of 13 feet, 1 ¾ inches in the pole vault at the league outdoor meet.
Male Scholar of the Year - Brent Sterling
Junior diver Brent Sterling excelled in the classroom while also enjoying the best season of his career on the springboards. A biochemistry and molecular biology major, Sterling earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award by being the competitor with the highest GPA at the national meet. He placed 17th at the NCAAs in 3-meter diving.
Lady Vol Big Orange Cup Award - Women's Tennis
The Lady Vol tennis team is extremely active in the community taking part in events such as Feed The Need, Toys for Tots and the grand opening of a tennis club in Pigeon Forge. Among many other efforts to give back, the tennis team surprised a less fortunate family with a Thanksgiving basket in November.
Vol Big Orange Cup Award - Men's Basketball
Again, the men's basketball team took home the honor for being involved in the community statewide.
Lady Vol Team of the Year - Volleyball
Team of the Year - Despite being without the services of Kayla Jeter, a preseason All-SEC selection who tore her ACL before the start of the season, a young but talented volleyball team won the program's first outright conference championship in 2011. The squad finished 19-1 in league play, it's 28 wins were the most since 2004 and concluded the year ranked 19th nationally.
Vol Team of the Year - Men's Tennis
The men's tennis team made history in 2011 by capturing back-to-back SEC regular-season titles for the first time. During the season, the Vols held the No. 1 national team ranking while also having the top-ranked players in singles and doubles. A program-record four Vols earned All-America honors.
Lady Vol Coach of the Year - Rob Patrick
For the third time in his career, Rob Patrick was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Lady Vols to a conference championship after a 19-1 mark against the league. Youth wasn't a problem, as UT was never swept in the season despite starting three freshmen and two sophomores started in almost every match.
Vol Coach of the Year - Cuonzo Martin
The basketball Vols were picked in the preseason to finish 11th in the always-grueling Southeastern Conference in 2012, but first-year head coach Cuonzo Martin implemented a hard-nosed, defensive-minded style of play to take the conference by storm, log 10 league wins, tie for second place in the final standings and earn the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. In addition to several former role players enjoying breakthrough seasons under Martin's tutelage, the Vols also posted triumphs over defending national champion UConn, Vanderbilt and Florida (twice).
Female Athlete of the Year - Kelsey Robinson
Robinson became the first Lady Vol ever to be named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year after her breakout sophomore season. Also named a second team All-American, Robinson was the SEC leader in double-doubles, kills per set and points, along with being named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 11.
Male Athlete of the Year - J.P. Smith
Last summer, John-Patrick Smith became the first Vol since Peyton Manning to be voted the SEC Male Athlete of the Year. He concluded his record-breaking career at Tennessee by becoming the second player in college tennis history to earn All-America honors in singles and doubles all four years.
Mr. Tennessee Award - Ryan Helms
Senior diver Ryan Helms saved his best for last in his Tennessee career. He won the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard titles at the SEC Championships and was voted the SEC Diver of the Year. He was also named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and finished fourth at the NCAA meet on the 3 meter.
Ms. Tennessee Award - Glory Johnson
This Lady Vol student-athlete has been an ambassador for the University of Tennessee and is a shining example of both an All-American and an Academic All-American. She completed her degree in just three years, graduated cum laude, and completed her eligibility in grad school. Next week, she is expected to be one of the top picks in the WNBA draft.