NCAA News Archive - 2000

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2001 Today's Top VIII reflect student-athlete leadership

Dec 18, 2000 4:46:41 PM

The NCAA News

Another stellar collection of student-athletes who have performed well on and off the fields and courts has been selected as winners of the NCAA's Today's Top VIII awards.

The group will be honored January 7 at the Honors Dinner during the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The Today's Top VIII, selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, recognizes distinguished student-athletes from the preceding calendar year for athletics, academic achievement, character and leadership.

This year's selections are Drew Brees, football, Purdue University; Matthew L. Busbee, swimming and diving, Auburn University; Alia Fischer, basketball, Washington University (Missouri); Andrea M. Garner, basketball, Pennsylvania State University; Kristy Kowal, swimming and diving, University of Georgia; Kevin M. Listerman, basketball; Northern Kentucky University; Amanda Scott, softball, California State University, Fresno; and Josh Sims, lacrosse, Princeton University.

Following are biographical sketches of Today's Top VIII:

Drew Brees
Purdue University

The recipient of the 2000 Maxwell Award as the nation's top player, Brees also finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and is a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback after leading the nation in total offense.

Brees also claimed numerous other national awards, including National Collegiate Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation, a College Football Hall of Fame postgraduate scholarship, first team all-American by Gannett News Service and Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year

Brees established Big Ten career records in passing attempts (1,639), passing completions (1,003), passing yards (11,517), passing touchdowns (88) and total offense (12,442). The school leader in career completion percentage (.612) ranks second in school history with a 132.4 passing efficiency and is the only quarterback in Big Ten history with two plus-500-yard passing games. He is on several NCAA career lists (not including bowl games), ranking fourth in attempts (1,525), fourth in completions (942), fourth in total offense (11,815) and ninth in passing yards (10,909).

As a junior, he was the first recipient of the Socrates Award recognizing the nation's finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service, and runner-up for the Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Awards. He finished fourth that year in the Heisman balloting.

Named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year by the media as a sophomore, Brees was also named second team all-conference by both coaches and media, and he finished 16th in the balloting for the Heisman while earning all-Big Ten academic honors.

Matthew L. Busbee
Auburn University
Swimming and Diving

A three-time Division I national champion in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Busbee helped set the world-best time in the 200-meter version of that event at the 2000 NCAA championships. He is one of 10 finalists for the Amateur Athletic Union's James E. Sullivan Award, which recognizes the top amateur athlete in the nation based on leadership, character, sportsmanship and ideals of amateurism.

A nine-time all-American, Busbee helped lead the Tigers to two team national championships (1999, 1997) and two runner-up finishes in 2000 and 1998. He also won six individual Southeastern Conference titles.

A USA team member at the 1999 Pan American Games; he competed in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and the 400-meter relay. He also was invited to participate in the 1996 Olympic Trials. Busbee also was a member of the world-best and U.S. Open 200-yard and 200-meter freestyle relay teams in 2000 and 1999, respectively, and he is ranked ninth in the world in the 50-meter freestyle.

Busbee was awarded a 2000 NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, and he is enrolled in medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A summa cum laude graduate in 1999, he was that year's recipient of the Auburn Cliff Hare Award, the highest honor an Auburn student-athlete can receive. A 1999 finalist for the H. Boyd McWhorter Award as SEC Athlete of the Year, Busbee was a first-team CoSIDA GTE Academic All-American in 2000 and second-team selection in 1999.

Busbee participates in the President's Student Leadership Program and is a member of Athletes in Action. He also has done volunteer work for East Alabama Medical Center, Camp Smile-A-Mile, the Dixie Wheelchair Games and Habitat for Humanity.

Alia Fischer
Washington University (Missouri)

A member of the only Division III women's basketball team to win three straight national titles (1998-00), the three-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III Women's Basketball Player of the Year is the only player to have won the award more than once and the first non-senior to have won it.

The 2000 Recipient of the Honda Award as the top female student-athlete in Division III, Fischer helped the Bears set the NCAA women's all-divisions record with 68 straight wins and a cumulative 107-9 record, earning national all-tournament honors three times.

The winner of the 1999-00 Josten's Trophy Award as Division III's outstanding female player, she was selected to play in the WBCA all-star game at the 2000 Women's Final Four in Philadelphia.

The only three-time University Athletic Association Player of the Year led the Bears to three straight UAA championships during her career. She held nine school records when she graduated, as well as the UAA record for most free throws made in a game, 15, set in 1999.

A 2000 NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, Fischer was that year's GTE/CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American of the Year in the college division. She also was a finalist for the 2000 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The two-time team captain was an active participant in Mentor St. Louis, Catholic Student Center service trips and served as a Catholic Student Center greeter/usher and eucharistic minister. She also was a Thurtene Junior Honorary, Construction and Electrical co-chair and a participant in Urban Plunge, Into the Streets, and Leadership Through Service.

Andrea M. Garner
Pennsylvania State University

A member of the USA Women's Basketball Team that won the Silver medal at the 1999 World University Games, Garner helped lead the Nittany Lions to the 2000 Women's Final Four as that year's USA Today co-National Player of the Year.

Penn State also advanced to the second round of the 1999 NCAA tournament and won the 1998 Women's National Invitational Tournament championship during the two-time all-Big Ten Conference player's career. The Nittany Lions were Big Ten champions in 2000 and two-time Big Ten tournament runner-up.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2000 Women's National Basketball Association draft, Garner was selected by the Houston Comets and traded to the Seattle Storm during the season.

Garner ranked 16th in the nation her senior year with 2.2 blocks per game. She also led the Big Ten in blocks in 2000 and led the team in scoring and rebounding. Garner finished her collegiate career ranking in the top 10 of every Lions career chart. She is the third player at Penn State to reach 1,000 career rebounds.

A 2000 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner, Garner was a 2000 third-team GTE Academic All-American and a three-time all-Big Ten academic choice.

Garner was named to the Spiritus Leoninus athletics honor society and spoke at local high schools as part of Athletes Against Alcohol. She was a Champs for Life Program speaker and participated for three years in the Easter Seals Therapeutic Horse Riding program, teaching disabled children to ride horses.

Kristy Kowal
University of Georgia
Swimming and Diving

Kowal, who was honored as the 2000 NCAA Woman of the Year two months ago, was a silver medalist in the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney in the 200-meter breaststroke. She earned her place on the U.S. team by breaking an eight-year-old American record in the event by 0.60 seconds at the Olympic Trials.

Kowal holds one world record, eight American records and five U.S. Open records. She was the Pan Pacific Championships silver medalist in the 200-meter breaststroke and the bronze medalist in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1999 after becoming the first American to win a world title in the 100-meter breaststroke in the 1998 World Championships. Kowal finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke and was a member of the winning 400-meter medley relay team at the 1998 World Championships, where that team set an American record. She set the American record and was first the U.S. woman to break the one-minute mark in the 100-meter breaststroke that same year.

Kowal was a member of two national championship teams at Georgia, winning seven individual titles and earning all-America honors 22 times. In her 2000 college season, Kowal won the Division I championship in the 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter medley relay, where her relay team set a world record. She is a three-time Division I champion in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes, setting the U.S. record for each in 2000.

The 2000 Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year was a 13-time conference champion and the first woman in SEC history to win the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststrokes four straight years. She finished her college career with seven national titles, the most won by any student-athlete in school history.

A three-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America all-Academic Team member, she won status as a 2000 Ramsey Scholar as one of the top 10 scholar-athletes at Georgia, and was an NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient.

Kowal won the 2000 Peach of an Athlete Award from the Atlanta Boy Scouts for community service and was a member of the Kappa Delta Epsilon Education Honor Society, Palladia Leadership Society and Blue Key Leadership Society. Kowal also has been a volunteer for Safe Kids Project, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and elementary schools.

Kevin M. Listerman
Northern Kentucky University

The four-year starting point guard led Northern Kentucky to a 104-26 four-year record, two Division II national runner-up finishes (1996 and 1997) and two other national championship tournament appearances while earning various Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) honors.

A second-team all-conference performer in 1997-98, Listerman also was a four-time member of the conference's all-academic team.

The two-time conference leader in steals ranked among GLVC leaders in assists and free-throw percentage as a sophomore, junior and senior. After leading the Norse in assists, steals, rebounds and minutes played in 1999-00, Listerman was named team MVP. He holds the school records for career steals and games played, as well as single-season marks for steals, games played and games started.

Recipient of a 2000 NCAA postgraduate scholarship, Listerman is enrolled in graduate school for secondary education after graduating summa cum laude as a biology and secondary education major.

He has won the school's Paul J. Sipes Award for a student with honesty, character and industry who has actively participated in community affairs, and the GLVC Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award for academic excellence, athletics ability and achievement, character and leadership. He earned a perfect grade-point average five times and made the dean's list with a grade-point average of 3.660 or higher three other times.

A member of the NCAA Division II and GLVC Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) from 1997-00, he chaired both groups in 1999-00. He assisted with creation of the GLVC SAAC, including writing the bylaws. Listerman developed, organized and led the 2000 GLVC Leadership Summit. A three-time NCAA Leadership Conference participant, he led a roundtable discussion at the 2000 NACDA convention on the SAAC.

Amanda Scott
California State University, Fresno

The Women's Professional Softball League's No. 1 draft pick, Scott was an alternate for the 2000 USA Olympic Softball Team and was a member of the USA National B Team in 1999. She also played on the 1998 International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship, the 1997 USA Pan Am Qualifier, and the 1995 ISF Junior World Championship teams, each of which won a gold medal.

Scott, a four-time first-team all-American pitcher, led Fresno State to the Women's College World Series (WCWS) championship in 1998. The Bulldogs also participated in the WCWS in 1997 and 1999. Scott is ranked in the top 10 in three NCAA career categories.

Scott made the all-WCWS team in 1999 and was the WCWS Most Outstanding Player the previous year. A two-time softball finalist for the Honda Award, Scott was the 1997 NCAA all-Regional MVP.

Fresno State won three Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championships during the two-time WAC Female Athlete of the Year's career, as she claimed conference Pitcher of the Year honors three times. She holds six WAC career pitching and hitting records, posting a 44-1 career conference record with 27 shutouts, 296 strikeouts, 292.2 innings and an 0.38 ERA. Scott holds four school career pitching records and seven single-season marks.

An NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, Scott is a two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American. Scott also was a four-time WAC all-academic team member.

Scott volunteered for a public service announcement for Proposition 99, The Tobacco Tax Initiative, for Big Hero-Little Hero and was a volunteer at a local children's hospital. She also was a Special Olympics volunteer and participated in a Kid's Day fund-raiser for a local children's hospital.

Josh Sims
Princeton University

A three-time first-team all-American, Sims led Princeton to two NCAA national championships, one runner-up showing and another tournament berth during his career. The two-time NCAA all-tournament team member and 2000 Ivy Group player of the year also was a two-time winner of the Donald McLaughlin Award as the nation's outstanding midfielder.

A member of the Washington Power of the National Indoor Lacrosse League, he played in the inaugural Major League Lacrosse Showcase and was a member of the U.S. Under-19 Team that won the World Championship in Tokyo in 1996.

Sims helped lead Princeton to four Ivy Group championships and a 24-0 all-time league record during his four-year career. His 103 career goals ranks fifth on the Tigers' all-time list.

The winner of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's 2000 scholar-athlete award graduated from Princeton with honors in economics. Sims also was selected as a first-team 2000 GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Active in the team's work with the Central Jersey Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Sims visited children in the pediatric AIDS unit at Robert Wood Johnson hospital and played with the team in the Infiniti Lacrosse Invitational, an annual tournament to raise funds for the AIDS foundation. A Special Olympics volunteer, he also has worked at several lacrosse camps and clinics.

Trio honored with valor award

Three Appalachian State University assistant football coaches will share the 2001 NCAA Award of Valor, which will be presented January 7 at the Honors Dinner during the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The coaches -- Rob Best, Shawn Elliot and Stacy Searels -- helped save the lives of Tony Barnett, the school's athletic trainer and driver of the van, and student assistant coach Jonathan Taylor after the vehicle crashed on a return trip from a September 30 victory over East Tennessee State University. Moments after they rescued Barnett, the van erupted in flames.

The NCAA Award of Valor is presented to a coach or administrator currently associated with intercollegiate athletics, or to a current or former varsity letter-winner at an NCAA institution who, when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action or noteworthy bravery. The award is presented only in years when there is a deserving individual.

The team bus came upon the two-car accident at about 12:22 a.m. October 1. Eleven of the 13 passengers already had escaped the van but Barnett and Taylor were still trapped inside by the tangles of an air bag and seat belts. With total disregard for their own safety, Best, Elliot and Searels climbed in the side door of the van. They broke Barnett's seat and unbuckled his seat belt before pulling him and Taylor out as the flames from the other vehicle advanced.

Nothing could be done to rescue the driver of the other car, which was engulfed in flames with the driver trapped inside when the bus arrived. Police reports stated that the driver had died on impact.

Although the entire travel squad of players, coaches and support staff who were not on board the van contributed to the rescue by providing first aid, evaluation of injuries and moving other accident victims away from the van, Best, Elliot and Searels helped save the two lives.

Best, the team's offensive coordinator, is a 1972 graduate of Texas Tech University. Elliot, who is 1996 Appalachian State graduate, serves as the tight ends coach. Searels, the offensive line coach, is a 1960 graduate of Auburn.

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