IRVING, Texas - East Carolina graduate Kimmy Cummings and rising junior Matt Milner have both been selected as the Conference USA Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year for their respective sports, according to an announcement Thursday by league commissioner Britton Banowsky.
The C-USA honor is presented to the top student-athlete in each conference-sponsored sport. The award is based on academic achievement (grade-point average), athletic success and service. Scholar-athletes were selected from Conference USA's 12 institutions and 20 sports (combining indoor and outdoor track & field).
Cummings is the second ECU women’s soccer athlete to take home the honor following Nicole Moore in 2009, while Milner is the first Pirate football player to earn the Scholar Athlete Award sharing honors this year with Houston’s Case Keenum.
Since the award first began during the 2005-06 academic year, 10 Pirates have been named C-USA Scholar Athletes-of-the-Year with former volleyball standout Heidi Krug becoming the only two-time winner (2006-07) for ECU. Other Pirates include: Sarah Virginia (’06), Michelle Williams (’07), Hannah Priest (’08), Kelley Wernert (’08), Abby Bools (’10) and Toni Paisley (’11).
Cummings, who earned team MVP and Most Valuable Offensive Player honors, became the first-ever Pirate to garner First-Team NSCAA All-Central Regional honors and closed out her four-year career leading theteam in goals (9) and points (22) on her way to First-Team All-Conference USA honors in 2011.
One of three team captains, she was named one of 20Players to Watch in C-USA by TopDrawerSoccer.com in 2011 and against Old Dominion posted the first of two multi-goal games when she became the firstPirate since Meghan McCallion (2004) to record a hat trick in the Pirates 4-1 victory over the Monarchs.
During her career with the Pirates, Cummings started 38 of 78 career games scoring 15 career goals, dishing out 11 assists and recording 41 points - all ranking among the Top 15 in school history.
A native of Mechanicsville, Va., Cummings graduated summa cum laude in May with a bachelor's of science in business management, marketing and management information systems. Her 3.921 GPA earned one of 12 C-USA Postgraduate Scholarships as well as honors on the Dean's List, the C-USA All-Academic women's soccer team, Capital One/Co-SIDA Academic All-DistrictTeam and NSCAA Academic All-America Team.
Milner became the first Academic All-America selection in the history of the Pirate football program when he was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second-Team back on Dec. 8, 2011.
He picked up his initial Capital One Academic All-District First Team selection and second C-USA All-Academic Team award last fall. The Raleigh native has earned three C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medals and been placed on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times. He was the football program’s Jerry T. Brooks Academic Achievement Award winner for the 2010 season and is a six-time ECU Chancellor’s List honoree.
Within the East Carolina chemistry department, Milner was one of the 2010 winners of the Merck General Chemistry Achievement Award, which is presented to the top students who have gone through the CHEM 1150/1160 General Chemistry Track. He was among six chosen from approximately 600 students based on grade-point average and results of the American Chemical Society's first semester general chemistry standardized exam.
On the field, Milner is a two-year starter who played in all 12 games during the 2011 campaign. He booked 37 tackles, the third mostamong Pirate linemen, including four stops for lost yardage and a half sack. During Conference USA action, he tallied 25 hits with eight solo tackles.
For his career, Milner has totaled 84 stops with 28 solo knockdowns. He has collected 11.0 TFL and 3.5 sacks in addition to six quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries and two pass breakups.
2011-12 SCHOLAR ATHLETE AWARD WINNERS
Baseball - Keith DePew, UAB
Men's Basketball - *Connor Frizzelle, Rice
Women's Basketball - Roxana Button, Houston; TaRonda Randall, UAB
Men's Cross Country - Bill Martin, Tulsa
Women's Cross Country - Rhiannon Johns, UAB
Football - Case Keenum, Houston; Matt Milner, East Carolina
Men's Golf - Jack Belote, Memphis
Women's Golf - Marissa Stein, Memphis
Women's Rowing - *Chelsey Lauzon, UCF
Men's Soccer - Adam Still, SMU
Women's Soccer - Kimmy Cummings, East Carolina
Softball - Natalie Land, UCF
Women's Swimming & Diving - Denise Smolenova, SMU
Men's Tennis - Sam Garforth-Bles, Rice; Clifford Marsland, Tulsa
Women's Tennis - Courtney Collins, Memphis
Men's Track and Field - Carl Stones, Tulsa
Women's Track and Field - Rebecca "Becky" Wade, Rice
Volleyball - Kelsey Seymour, Southern Miss
* Repeat winner