Feb. 15, 2012
Birmingham, Ala. -- Featuring former outstanding student-athletes from all 12 Southeastern Conference member institutions, the 2012 class of the SEC Greats program will be honored at the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament, March 1-4 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. This marks the 12th year of the the Greats program.
"The SEC Greats program showcases the extraordinary talent these women have brought to athletics in the Southeastern Conference," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "These women set the precedent for the athletes you see today. It is an honor for us to acknowledge their contributions both on and off the athletic field."
The 2012 class includes: Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (Basketball); Kelly Kretschman, Alabama (Softball); Sytia Messer, Arkansas (Basketball); Laticia Morris, Auburn (Basketball); Cassie Macia, Florida (Basketball); Camille Lowe, Georgia (Basketball); Valerie McGovern Young, Kentucky (Track); Yvette Girouard, LSU (Softball); Yolanda Moore, Ole Miss (Basketball); Iyhia McMichael, Mississippi State (Softball); Jocelyn Penn, South Carolina (Basketball) and Carolyn Peck, Vanderbilt (Basketball).
Each honoree will be honored during halftime of her team's first game of the tournament and all 12 individuals will be honored as a group between games of the second session on Friday, March 2. The Greats will then participate in an autograph session on the concourse before game eight. Complimentary posters of the Greats will be available at the session.
The previous Tennessee honorees were: Bridgette Gordon (2001), Daedra Charles (2002), Michelle Marciniak (2003), Jill Rankin Schneider (2004), Tamika Catchings (2005), Kara Lawson (2006), Holly Warlick (2007), Shelia Collins (2008), Dena Head (2009), Nikki McCray (2010)and Melissa McCray Dukes (2011).
Biographical sketches of the 2012 honorees follow:
Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (Basketball), 1995-99 The Naismith Player of the Century and four-time Kodak All-American, Holdsclaw led the Lady Bols to a 131-17 overall record and three consecutive national championships from 1996-98. She is the program's all-time leader in scoring (3,025 points) and rebounds (1,295). The NCAA Tournament most outstanding player in 1997 and 1998, she still holds the record for points (479 points, 21.8 ppg) and rebounds (198 rebounds, 9.0 rpg) accumulated in tournament games. The first two-time winner of the Associated Press Poalyer of the Year Award, Holdsclaw garnered 34 individual awards during her career, including 21 player of year honors from a variety of organizations. In 2006, she was named to the NCAA 25th Anniversary Team after being named to the Kodak 25th Anniversary Team in 1999.
Kelly Kretschman, Alabama (Softball), 1998-2001 One of the greatest players to ever put on a Crimson Tide uniform, Kelly Kretschman was the first four-time All-American in Alabama softball history. The three-time 1st Team All-SEC outfielder still holds the UA and SEC single season home run record with 25, doing so as a true freshman. In addition, she still holds 11 UA individual records and 13 UA career records - including slugging percentage, runs scored, most hits, most doubles, most triples and most home runs. Not only did Kretschman lead the Crimson Tide to its first ever Women's College World Series appearance in 2000, she led Team USA to Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008. Kretshman's love for the game of softball has led her into coaching. She is currently serving as the volunteer coach at the University of Maryland.
Sytia Messer, Arkansas (Basketball), 1995-1999 Messer had a decorated playing career at Arkansas where she played 128 games in four seasons for the Razorbacks. Messer led the team to a 22-11 record and an NCAA Final Four appearance in 1998 where she was named the Most Valuable Player for the West Regional. Messer and the Razorbacks followed up with a WNIT Championship in 1999. She was named to the WNIT All-Tournament team for her efforts. As a freshman, Messer earned freshman All-America honors from the Prime Network and was named to the All-SEC Freshman team. In her career, Messer tallied 1,379 points which ranks 14th on the all-time scorers list. Messer's prowess was not limited to scoring however, as she ranks 14th in career rebounding with 603, eighth in free throws made with 329, ninth in career 3-pointers with 112 and 21st in assists with 208. Messer now serves as the head women's basketball coach at Tennessee Tech University.
LaTicia Morris, Auburn (Basketball), 1995-97 LaTicia "Tisa" Morris, a native of Detroit, Mich., averaged 16.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in her two seasons as a Tiger. A two-time All-SEC selection, she was also named the MVP of the 1997 SEC Tournament, helping the Tigers win four games in four days to win the tournament title. Auburn is the one of only three teams in SEC history to accomplish the feat of four wins in four days. During her two seasons on The Plains, she helped Auburn to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1996. She led the Tigers to a 45-19 record in her two seasons and currently ranks 29th all-time in career scoring at Auburn with 971 points. A transfer from Odessa Junior College, she is one of only two two-year players on Auburn's top-30 scoring list. Currently, she owns a hair braiding salon in Little Rock, Ark.
Cassie Macias, Florida (Basketball), 1974-75 In this 40th anniversary of Title IX, Cassie Macias is the perfect representative for the Florida women's basketball program. When Cassie arrived at UF her freshman year, there wasn't even a women's basketball club team. She approached the director of UF's sports and recreation department and was instrumental in having it added to the list of activities for UF female students. As a club team, the group schedule games against other school's varsity teams, driving themselves to games and playing school's that had scholarship-level members. The next step was having the program elevated to varsity status, which it achieved for the 1974-75 season - Cassie's senior year - when she was named the first-ever team captain. Dr. Paula Welch, the first-ever coach of the Gators, called Cassie, "the sparkplug" of the team, sharing that she had "enthusiasm, energy and brought the feeling to everyone that we could win every game."
Camille Lowe, Georgia (Basketball), 1989-93 Camille Lowe was a four-year starter and was twice the Lady Bulldogs' leading scorer during her stellar playing career in Athens from 1989-93. As a sophomore, Lowe averaged a team-best 15.1 points per game and connected on a school-record 48.6 percent of her three-point attempts in leading Georgia to a 28-4 finish and an undefeated run to the SEC Championship. She poured in 26 points in the No. 3 Lady Bulldogs' 70-66 win over No. 5 Auburn to clinch the 1991 SEC title. Lowe also helped Georgia reach the championship games of the 1992 and 1993 SEC Tournament. Lowe was named first-team All-SEC in 1991 and earned second-team honors in 1993. She finished her career with 1,396 points, which ranked No. 9 in UGA annals at that point.
Dr. Valeria McGovern Young, Kentucky (Track), 1988-1991 Valerie competed in Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track at UK from 1988-91. She won three individual national championships in the 5,000 meter run and led the 1988 UK cross country team that won the NCAA Championship. She was an eight-time All-American in cross country and track. She won eight individual SEC Championships and continues to hold five UK track records. While at UK, Valerie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics, a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Biochemistry, and a Doctorate degree in Nutritional Sciences.
Yvette Girouard, LSU (Softball - Coach), 2001-2010 A pioneer of the game, the 2005 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame inductee amassed 1,285 career victories, 526 of them coming at LSU, to rank second in the NCAA history. Girouard's legacy is steeped in championship tradition as the four-time SEC Coach of the Year guided the Tigers to a pair of Women's College World Series appearances (2001 and 2004), three SEC Regular Season championships (2001, 2002 and 2004) and four SEC Tournament titles (2001, 2002, 2004 and 2007). She coached nine different players to 14 All-American selections during her 11 seasons at LSU. The Broussard, La., native played an instrumental role to the opening of the new Tiger Park, the single largest monetary investment LSU has made exclusively to any women's sport.
Yolanda Moore, Ole Miss (Basketball), 1992-96 While at Ole Miss, Moore was a three-time All-SEC honoree (two first-team selection, one time second-team selection) and was an AP Honorable Mention All-American as a senior. She served as a team captain as a senior and led the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances. Moore is fourth all-time at Ole Miss in free throws made (336) and is ninth in scoring (1,485). She played professionally in the WNBA and in Europe and won two WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. Moore was inducted into the University of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Iyhia McMichael, Mississippi State (Softball), 2001-04 Arguably one of the most-heralded players in Mississippi State softball history, McMichael earned a pair of first team all-America accolades while helping the Bulldogs to three-straight NCAA Regionals from 2002-04. McMichael still hails as the only player to earn consecutive SEC Player of the Year accolades and she was named one of three finalists for USA Softball Player of the Year in 2004, a year after making the top 10. McMichael holds the single-season and career records for runs scored, and her 18 home runs in 2003 still rank as the most in a season.
Jocelyn Penn, South Carolina (Basketball), 1998-2002 Jocelyn Penn was a second-team All-American in 2002-03 and a two-time first-team All-SEC selection (2002 and 2003). She was the South Carolina Female Amateur Athlete of the Year (2002) after helping the team to second place in the SEC and the 2002 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, the farthest into the NCAA Tournament any South Carolina basketball team has advanced (men or women).
Carolyn Peck, Vanderbilt (Basketball), 1985-88 Peck finished her career with 1,240 points, which was sixth in program history at the time of her graduation and now ranks 21st. She helped Vanderbilt to its first NCAA Tournament bid in 1986, averaging 9.9 points and 5.6 rebounds during her sophomore campaign. She served as head coach at Purdue for two seasons, winning the 1999 NCAA Championship, becoming the only African-American coach to win an NCAA Division I women's basketball title. She was given USBWA Coach of the Year honors that year for her efforts. She also spent three seasons as head coach and general manager of the WNBA's Orlando Miracle, followed by five seasons as head coach at University of Florida. She is currently a women's basketball analyst for ESPN.