October 30, 2013

Senior CLASS Award Candidates

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Heather Butler, a senior guard on the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team, has been selected as one of just 30 candidates for the 2013-14 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate basketball.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the 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.

“It is a great testament to Heather, not only as a player but as a person to be highlighted as one of the top seniors in the country,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “We all have seen how remarkable she is on the court over the past three years and this accomplishment shows the value she provides in the classroom and with her community service. She’s a great ambassador for our program, university and community.”

In the classroom, Butler has worked hard at maintaining a 3.83 GPA as a health and human performance major (K-12 licensure). A three-time OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll honoree, she is also a multi-year selection to the UT Martin Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Butler was also recently named as a prestigious Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete for the 2012-13 academic year, the league’s highest individual honor.

A Medina, Tenn. native, Butler is also a member of the College of Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences Student Ambassadors organization, the UT Martin Athletics Board and the UT Martin SHAPE Club. She is also active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Elementary School Reading Program and the Can Caravan Food Drive. She was chosen to be a DARE program graduation speaker in 2012 and 2013, speaking about making the right decisions to youth.

On the court is where Butler continues to shine, becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,111 career point after just three seasons. Along with garnering All-OVC first team accolades three times and being named the 2012 OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player, she has twice ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring.

Butler set a pair of NCAA records in 2012-13, making a three-pointer in 80 consecutive games and 34 games in a single season. Butler’s 37 points against Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, ranked as the highest individual output in the 2013 tournament and most point ever against Notre Dame in its tournament history.

The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four® and NCAA Women’s Final Four®.

Each of the 30 candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

Candidates include Gennifer Brandon (California), Heather Butler (UT Martin), Alyssa Charlston (Idaho), Hallie Christofferson (Iowa State), Jerica Coley (Florida International), Allyson DiMagno (Cornell), Alexis Dobbs (American), Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut), Jamierra Faulkner (Southern Miss), Ataira Franklin (Virginia), Chelsea Gray (Duke), Sarah Hansen (Florida Gulf Coast), Cassie Harberts (Southern California), Jordan Hooper (Nebraska), Natasha Howard (Florida State), Amanda Hyde (IPFW), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), Dequesha McClanahan (Winthrop), Sarah Nelson (Creighton), Eilise O’Connor (Missouri-Kansas City), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Haley Peters (Duke), Michelle Plouffe (Utah), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Alex Smith (Holy Cross), Kacie Sowell (Seattle), DeNesha Stallworth (Kentucky), Rachel Tecca (Akron) and Alli Williams (Saint Francis).