BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern athletics department announced the winners of its big awards and recognized the accomplishments of the student-athletes at its 2017 Athletic Awards Dinner Monday night in the Norton Great Hall on BSC's campus.
Honored guests at the event were Dr. Richard Morgan, who was a member of BSC's inaugural baseball team, and Tiarra Goode, the school's first individual national title holder.
During the course of the athletic year to date, Panthers have received 113 all-conference honors, 14 all-region selections, eight conference player of the year awards, five team championships, four coach of the year awards, had three All-Americans, and one national champion. There are also 89 graduating seniors in the class of 2017 leaving BSC athletics that were recognized for their time on the Hilltop by their head coaches.
A full list of the big awards and their recipients are below.
Baseball was named the team of the year after being ranked as high as No. 2 in the country. The Panthers are beginning a dynasty. They won the SAA regular season title, are the No. 1 team in their NCAA regional bracket, had over 10 all-conference selections, including the pitcher of the year, and the conference coach of the year in Jan Weisberg.
The Man and Woman of the Year awards went to David Scott from baseball, and Jothani Dixon from women's basketball. The honors were created by the Southern Athletic Association in 2013 to be the league's biggest and most prestigious awards. Nominees must be seniors with no remaining eligibility. BSC's selections will go on to be in the running for 2017 SAA Man and Woman of the Year.
Jamal Watkins of football and men's track and field, and Carlee Petro of women's tennis were named the Larry D. Striplin Athletes of the Year. The awards were named in honor of late benefactor Larry D. Striplin, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. He was a 1952 graduate of Birmingham-Southern and is a member of the BSC Sports Hall of Fame. Striplin served for many years on the Birmingham-Southern Board of Trustees and was Chairman of the Athletic Affairs Committee of the Board. The BSC baseball field, Striplin Field, is named in his honor, as well as the Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Physical Fitness and Recreation Center on the BSC campus.
The Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Senior Student-Athlete award went to Jameice Holmes of women's basketball and Evan Lewis of men's basketball. Johnny Johnson was one of the most beloved and dedicated administrators at Birmingham-Southern. Prior to his untimely death in November of 2001, Johnson served the college as vice president for business and financial affairs and was instrumental in helping the college develop a plan for moving its athletic program to the NCAA Division I level.
In honor of his behind-the-scenes work for two decades at Birmingham-Southern, the athletic department created an annual award honoring senior student-athletes who exemplify the qualities of scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and the selfless attitude in and out of the athletic arena, who inspires teammates, coaches, and fans.
Senior Laura Van Peursem of women's basketball and women's volleyball was named the Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year. This is the second year of the Sinclair Award. It is given annually to a student-athlete who enriches his or her program through their attitude, positivity, and by being their teammates' biggest fan and supporter every single day. They serve as a role model by the way they live their life and are considered the hardest working member of any team.
Both newcomers of the year came from swimming and diving. Freshmen All-Americans Becca Erwin and Noah Young were recognized for their extraordinary performances in the pool this season.
BSC also acknowledged the 10 newest members of Sigma Alpha Alpha, the new honors society formed by the SAA for graduating seniors. Inductees have achieved above a 3.5 cumulative grade point average over the course of their time at BSC, and have represented their programs on either the first or second all-conference teams.
2017 BSC Athletic Award Winners
BSC Team of the Year: Baseball
BSC Man of the Year: David Scott (Baseball)
BSC Woman of the Year: Jothani Dixon (Women's Basketball and Track and Field)
Larry D. Striplin Male Athlete of the Year: Jamal Watkins (Football and Men's Track and Field)
Larry D. Striplin Female Athlete of the Year: Carlee Petro (Women's Tennis)
Johnny Johnson Most Inspirational Seniors: Jameice Holmes (Women's Basketball) and Evan Lewis (Men's Basketball)
The Ben Sinclair Teammate of the Year: Laura Van Peursem (Women's Basketball and Women's Volleyball)
Male Newcomer of the Year: Noah Young (Men's Swimming and Diving)
Female Newcomer of the Year: Becca Erwin (Women's Swimming and Diving)
Sigma Alpha Alpha Inductees: Harper DeWine, Jothani Dixon, Easton Fuller, Ryan Gaines, Bethany Kuerten, Chris Roberts, Sam Roberts, McHale Schneider, Scott Taylor, and Laura Van Peursem.