Oct. 29, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Former Lady Vol All-American diver Lauryn McCalley has been named the 2005 NCAA Woman of the Year, the NCAA announced at an awards dinner Saturday evening in Indianapolis, Ind. It is one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the NCAA, and it recognizes senior student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service. She is the second winner in school history, as swimmer Catherine Byrne was so honored in 1992.
"I am absolutely elated at this point, I could not be more proud of Lauryn's accomplishments," Lady Vol diving coach Dave Parrington said. "She was such a great role model and student-athlete while at the University of Tennessee. She is one of the finest individuals who I have ever worked with. This is just a great reward for her, and I could not be more proud for her."
A selection committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member schools chose 51 state winners representing the states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico from 352 nominees. The state of Arizona did not submit any nominees. Ten finalists were selected from the state winners. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics chose McCalley from the 10 finalists.
In June 2005, the Moultrie, Ga., native was recognized by the Southeastern Conference as one of the two recipients of the esteemed 2004-05 H. Boyd McWhorter Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award during the league's spring meetings. It is the highest award a student-athlete can receive from the conference, and McCalley was granted a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship as result.
At Tennessee, McCalley maintains a 3.95 grade point average in microbiology and is expected to graduate in May 2006. After graduating, she plans to attend the University of Georgia to become a compounding pharmacist.
In 2004, McCalley earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second Team honors as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She was a three-time College Swim Coaches Association of America Academic All-American as well. The Marine Corps also recognized her impact with the Marine Corps Collegiate Athletic Leadership Award. Additionally, she earned SEC Academic Honor Roll, Thornton Center Honor Roll and Lady Volunteer Honor Roll status.
The five-time All-American captured the NCAA Zone B Three-Meter Championship in 2004 and earned two All-America certificates at the NCAA Championships. Additionally, she claimed 10 individual event titles on the year.
McCalley was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine's Top 10 College Women in 2004. GLAMOUR's Top 10 College Women awards spotlights 10 college women from across the United States with an annual competition that recognizes leadership on campus, involvement in the community, excellence in their field of study as well as their unique, inspiring goals.
The daughter of William McCalley and Nancy Slocumb, McCalley was a member of UT's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served as its president in 2004-05. She was also active in Chi Omega Sorority, Athletes in Action and has also spoken at local elementary schools, served as a tutor for young girls and helped at the local Boys and Girls Club as well as serving meals to the homeless.
"My goals have not changed since I was young, but they have deepened," McCalley said in her personal statement on her nomination form. "Because of being a student-athlete, these dreams have now transformed into reality. The benefits of being a student-athlete have been manifold. First, the discipline that diving has taught me is invaluable and has helped me achieve my goals. Secondly, I have learned to focus under pressure, a much needed skill in life. Lastly, I have learned the hard way Winston Churchill's famous quote, `Never, never, never, never, never, never give up.' These three life lessons learned from being a student-athlete will travel with me and help me reach my goals as I go to the University of Georgia to be a compounding pharmacist."
In the 15-year history of the award, Tennessee has now had two winner and six finalists. McCalley joins Byrne, who won the honor in 1992. Track and field athlete Patty Wiegand was a finalist in 1991, golfer Katharina Larsson was one of the final 10 in 1994, diver Lizzy Flynt made the national cut in 2001 and Kira Lawson was so honored in 2003.
Earlier in the year, McCalley became the fourth diver under Parrington to be selected as the Tennessee Woman of the Year, as Flynt (2001), Kathy Pesek (1999) and Tracy Bonner (1997) were previously recognized.
The other finalists for the award were: Michelle Reeser (University of Alabama/Gymnastics), Alisha Williams (Western State College/Cross Country/Track & field), Leah Geib (University of Delaware/Field Hockey), Melissa Lehman (Barry University/Volleyball), Jennifer Skolaski (University of Iowa/Swimming and Diving.). Richelle Simpson (University of Nebraska/Gymnastics), Deirdre Dlugonski (Penn State University/Swimming and Diving), Janiva Willis (Winthrop University/Softball), Lindsay Hagerman (Washington and Lee University/ Tennis).