IRVING, Texas – Toni Paisley, an East Carolina graduate who completed her eligibility with the Pirate softball team in May, has been selected as the Conference USA Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year for softball, according to an announcement Tuesday 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.
The distinction is the latest for Paisley, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in social work in May 2010. The Lakewood, Calif., native’s 2011 academic honors include a repeat selection to the Conference USA Softball All-Academic Team and a first-time choice to the Capital One Academic All-District 3 Second Team. She also received the C-USA Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship Award.
In February, Paisley was named a top-30 candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Paisley was the only student-athlete selected from the league.
The three-time Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Year and five-time member of the Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll plans to attend Long Beach State and earn a master's degree in criminal justice.
On the field, Paisley capped her career in 2011 by becoming C-USA’s all-time leader in victories (118), strikeouts (1,290), shutouts (57), innings pitched (1,088.0) and appearances (183). She ranks 17th on the NCAA Division I all-time whiff list and 18th on the career wins chart.
Paisley helped ECU to its second-straight league tournament title and NCAA Regional final appearance after going 32-13 with a 1.03 earned run average and Pirate single-season record 396 strikeouts. She finished the season ranked fourth in the NCAA in earned run average, fifth in strikeouts, sixth in victories, 15th in hits allowed per seven innings (4.2), 19th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.27) and 25th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.8). At the end of the campaign, she earned her third career selections to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region Team, First-Team All-Conference USA and North Carolina College Sports Information Association All-State Team.
2010-11 Scholar Athlete Award Winners
Baseball Marc Bourgeois, Southern Miss
Men’s Basketball Connor Frizzelle, Rice
Women’s Basketball *Amanda Peterson, UAB
Men’s Cross Country Matt Carey, Rice
Women’s Cross Country Risper Kimaiyo, UTEP
Football Austin Davis, Southern Miss
Men’s Golf Erik Mayer, Rice
Women’s Golf Carolyn Cochran, UAB
Women’s Rowing Chelsey Lauzon, UCF
Men’s Soccer Zach Nulisch, Tulsa
Women’s Soccer Vendula Strnadova, Memphis
Softball Toni Paisley, East Carolina
Women’s Swimming & Diving Audra Egenolf, SMU
Men’s Tennis Oscar Podlewski, Rice
Women’s Tennis Rebekka Hanle, Rice
Men’s Track & Field **Philip Adam, Rice
Women’s Track & Field Allison Pye, Rice
Volleyball *Tracey Lam, Rice
* Repeat winner