FLORENCE – When the University of North Alabama Department of Athletics began recognizing UNA Male and Female Athletes of the Year 20 years ago, the creators of the awards knew selecting recipients would not be an easy task. With the vast success that the Lions have enjoyed in numerous sports over the past two decades, finding worthy recipients has never been a problem. Narrowing down the field to the final honorees has been a tough call, however, in many years. And never has that been magnified more so than for the 2009- 10 athletic seasons when UNA saw 47 of its student-athletes chosen All-Gulf South Conference and 13 were All-American picks. UNA had five GSC Player of the Year award recipients, three GSC Freshman of the Year picks, numerous national award winners and finalists for other national honors.
From that field of award recipients, women's soccer standout and Academic All-America pick Tassia Augusto, football All-American and National Defensive Player of the Year Mike Johnson and men's golf All-American and Jack Nicklaus Award recipient Brett Munson have been named the University of North Alabama Student- Athletes of the Year for 2009-10. UNA Director of Athletics Mark Linder announced the honorees Tuesday.
Augusto was named UNA's Female Athlete of the Year, while Johnson and Munson are co-recipients of the UNA Male Athlete of the Year award.
Augusto, a senior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is the leading scorer in North Alabama soccer history with 64 goals and 20 assists. Augusto scored 29 goals with six assists in 2009 while leading the Lions to the best season in school history. UNA finished the year with a 19-4-1 record and earned its first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament appearance. Augusto was a two-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Week this season.
She also earned All-GSC Tournament honors, as well second-team All-South Region acclaim. Academically, she was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas Senior College Women's Scholar All-America Team. A Health, Physical Education and Recreation major, Augusto had a cumulative
3.67 grade point average and was also selected for first-team honors on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. With her 64 career goals, Augusto also closed her career as the second leading scorer in Gulf South Conference history.
Johnson, a senior from Panama City, Fla., was a four-year starter for the Lions at linebacker. He played on teams that compiled a 44-7 record, won two Gulf South Conference championships (2006, 2009), made four straight NCAA Division II playoff appearances, had four straight seasons with 10 or more wins, had a 24-3 record at home at Braly Stadium and held a Top 11 national ranking every week of his entire career. Johnson led the team in tackles for the fourth straight season with 113 this fall. He had 17 tackles for loss, five quarterback sacks, four fumbles caused and two fumble recoveries. He also had two interceptions for 23 yards. He was selected All-Gulf South Conference for the fourth straight season and was the GSC Defensive Player of the Year. He was a first-team All-Super Regional 2 selection by both Footballl Gazette and Daktronics, was the Daktronics Super Regional 2 Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus first- team All-America pick by Daktronics, D2Football.com, Football Gazette and the Associated Press. He was also chosen National Defensive Player of the Year by both Daktronics and D2Footballl.com. He led 2009 Lions to an 11-2 record, a GSC championship and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs.
Munson, a senior from Louisville, Ky., was selected as the 2010 winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II Golfer of the Year. He was also one of just nine players nationally selected for the first-team of the 2010 PING Division II All-America squad. As part of a stellar 2010 campaign, Munson was also selected first-team All-Gulf South Conference, won medalist honors at the GSC Tournament with the lowest 54-hole individual score in the tournament's history and was selected All-South region by Ping and the Golf Coaches Association of America. He ranked No. 2 nationally in Division II on GolfState's rankings. Munson became UNA's 20th all-time All-American selection in golf and joined Al Hay and Daniel Creel as the Lions'
only first-team All-Americans. Munson helped lead UNA to back-to-back Gulf South Conference golf championships in 2009 and 2010, which were also the first GSC golf titles in UNA history.
The UNA Athlete of the Year awards were created in 1991 and the winner is chosen annually by athletic department personnel.
Previous male winners have been James Davis (football, 1991), Rusty Smith (baseball, 1992), Harvey Summerhill (football, 1993), and Brian Satterfield (football, 1994). Kin Taylor (football) and Jeff Foote (baseball) shared the honor in 1995, as did Cody Gross (football) and Ronald McKinnon (football) in 1996. George Mianowski (baseball) was the 1997 recipient, followed by football standouts Reginald Ruffin in 1998, Tony Faggioni in 1999, Josh Willingham (baseball) in 2000 , Douglas Hargett (baseball) in 2001, Hargett and Paul Bradley (basketball) in 2002, Jason Vaughn (golf) in 2003 , Will Hall (football) in 2004, Mike Klug (baseball) in
2005 , James Barksdale (baseball) and Blake Farris (football) in 2006, Wes Smith (golf) in 2007 and Kenny Johnson (basketball) in 2008.
Previous female winners include Tracy McCall (basketball, 1991), Kisha Love (volleyball, 1992), Kristy Holdbrooks (softball, 1993), Kindra Moore (basketball, 1994), Lesley Westmoreland (softball, 1995), Leslie Simpson (cross country, 1996), Toby Wysocki (volleyball, 1997) Ronda Price (volleyball) in 1998, Mariela Fasce (volleyball) in 1999 and Rachel, Ronda Price (volleyball) in 2000, Jill James (softball) and Shelly White
(soccer) in 2001, Nesrin Seckin (volleyball) in 2002, Amber Deline (basketball) in 2003, Ashley Moffitt and Yana Ninova (volleyball) in 2004, Vanessa Ferretti (volleyball) and Emry McKay (cross country) in 2005 and 2006, Laura Bellinger (basketball) and McKay in 2007, Amber Rutherford and Danielle Palasak (volleyball) in
2008 and Wes Smith (golf) and Rutherford in 2009.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH ALABAMA ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Male Athlete of the Year Female Athlete of the Year
1990-91 James Davis, football Tracy McCall, basketball
1991-92 Rusty Smith, baseball Kisha Love, volleyball
1992-93 Harvey Summerhill, football Kristy Holdbrooks, softball
1993-94 Brian Satterfield, football Kindra Moore, basketball
1994-95 Kin Taylor, football Lesley Westmoreland, softball
Jeff Foote, baseball
1995-96 Cody Gross, football Leslie Simpson, cross country
Ronald McKinnon, football
1996-97 George Mianowski, baseball Toby Wysocki, volleyball
1997-98 Reginald Ruffin, football Ronda Price, volleyball
1998-99 Tony Faggioni, football Mariela Fasce, volleyball
Steve Kosa, baseball
1999-00 Josh Willingham, baseball Ronda Price, volleyball
Rachel Price, volleyball
2000-01 Douglas Hargett, baseball Jill James, softball
Shelly White, soccer
2001-02 Douglas Hargett, baseball Nesrin Seckin, volleyball
Paul Bradley, basketball
2002-03 Jason Vaughn, golf Amber Deline, basketball
2003-04 Will Hall, football Ashley Moffitt, volleyball
Yana Ninova, volleyball
2004-05 Mike Klug, baseball Vanessa Ferretti, volleyball
Emry McKay, cross country
2005-06 Blake Farris, football Vanessa Ferretti, volleyball
James Barksdale, baseball Emry McKay, cross country
2006-07 Wes Smith, golf Laura Bellinger, volleyball
Emry McKay, cross country
2007-08 Kenny Johnson, basketball Danielle Palasak, volleyball
Amber Rutherford, basketball
2008-09 Wes Smith, golf Amber Rutherford, basketball
2009-10 Mike Johnson, football Tassia Augusto, women's soccer
Brett Munson, golf