March 21, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Although her collegiate volleyball career has come to an end, former University of Tennessee standout Nikki Fowler's academic career continues to take off as she has been awarded a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The awards valued at $7,500 have been granted by the NCAA to 29 male and 29 female student-athletes who participated in football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, equestrian, field hockey, volleyball and water polo.
To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. The chosen student-athletes demonstrated dedication and effort, while performing both on and off the field at a high level, bringing credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics.
"I could not be more proud of Nikki for what she has accomplished over the last four years here at Tennessee, both on the volleyball court and in the classroom," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "We constantly stress the importance of academics with our team and Nikki has taken that to heart. Her work ethic and the example that she provides has set the bar extremely high for others to strive for within our program.
"She has been the consummate student-athlete and I am extremely excited that she has been awarded this scholarship. I am confident that she will be highly successful in whatever career she chooses to pursue."
Set to graduate in May with a degree in marketing and a minor in international business, Fowler currently sports a 3.8 GPA and became just the second Lady Vol volleyball player in school history to be named a Capital One/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American this fall. The Dallas, Texas, native was also tabbed the 2010 SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Fowler is the fourth Lady Vol to be awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in the last two years, as softball's Lillian Hammond and Tiffany Huff and track and field's Phoebe Wright did so in 2010. No other Southeastern Conference school has had more than two women's athletes earn the same scholarship during that time frame.
A three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American and All-SEC First Team selection on the court, Fowler is the most decorated volleyball player in Lady Vol history. Her name can be found all over the Tennessee record book as she finished her time as a Lady Vol ranked in the top 10 in seven career categories. A native of Dallas, Texas, she stands first all-time in total attacks (4,426), third in attacks per set (9.54), fourth in kills (1,649), sixth in kills per set (3.55), sixth in digs (1,281), seventh in digs per set (2.76) and eighth in blocks (344).
Over the course of her four-year career at Rocky Top, Fowler notched a double-double in 41.9 percent of her collegiate contests, accomplishing the feat 52 times in 124 career matches. In 2010, she led the Lady Vols with 393 kills (3.51/set) and 938 attacks (8.38/set), ranked second with 324 digs (2.89/set), third with a career-best .306 hitting percentage and fifth with 61 blocks (0.54/set).
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated. An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.