Celebrate #CougarChoice22 Awards in Style
HOUSTON– University of Houston student-athletes, coaches and staff gathered to celebrate the department’s historic year while honoring a host of personalities at the annual Cougar Choice Awards, held Monday evening from the Fertitta Center.
Cougar Choice Awards winners include:
Champion for life – Awarded to an exceptionally well-rounded student-athlete based on the following criteria: academics, athletics, civic/community service, and career development
WINNER – Katie Power has served as SAAC President for the past two years, as well as Vice President for one year. She has served on the American Athletic Conference SAAC Board of Directors for the past two years.
Power earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and will be attending medical school in the fall. Power helped the Cougars win their sixth consecutive American Athletic Conference title in February, marking his fifth title with Houston.
DJ Hayden Award – Student-athlete who has overcome significant obstacles in lift, has a positive attitude and pursues excellence despite obstacles
WINNER – Becca Schulte is one of the best stories in sports. The seventh-year senior has been a college student-athlete since 2015, attended three different schools, performed on the biggest stages, overcame injuries and more. Schulte is working on her second master’s degree and competing at the Division I level in softball, while raising a one-year-old. The Cougars second baseman leads the team in the field in average, slugging, home runs, doubles, RBIs and walks.
Female Cougar of the Year – Awarded to the top female student-athlete in Houston
WINNER – Chase Farris won his third straight American Athletic Conference championship and qualified for his second straight appearance at the NCAA championships.
At the US Championships, Farris won first place in the 3 meter diving event and placed third in the 1 meter and platform diving events.
Male Cougar of the Year – Awarded to the top male student-athlete in Houston
WINNER – At the end of a career full of victories, graduate men’s basketball forward Fabian White Jr. was named Cougar of the Year.
In 2021-22, White averaged 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with a team-high 1.5 blocked shots per game to lead the Cougars to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.
Starting all 38 games to set a school record in one season, White was honored as the All-American Championship’s Most Outstanding Player and was selected by league head coaches to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team. .
Female Academic Cougar of the Year – A leader in the class
WINNER – Majoring in industrial engineering, Elizabeth Richardson was named the 2022 Academic Female Cougar of the Year at the Cougar Choice Awards. Richardson won his third straight American Athletic Conference title with the Cougars in February.
Male Academic Cougar of the Year – A leader in the class
WINNER – Houston Football’s Kyle Ramsey excelled academically at the University of Houston while earning his degree in electrical engineering. Ramsey, who has a GPA of 3.882, spent time working on a special project at the University of Houston’s Swarm Robotics Lab, where he helped build a robot that tracked and filmed runners in races. long distance, like a 5k or a marathon. He is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society and was invited to join Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society) for being in the top 1/8 of his class.
Female Rookie of the Year – First-year student-athlete who made significant contributions
WINNER – Henrietta Fangli was named Female Rookie of the Year after an impressive first season with the Cougars. At the American Athletic Conference Championships, Fangli won an individual title in the 100-yard breaststroke, as well as a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.
Male Rookie of the Year – First-year student-athlete who made significant contributions
WINNER – A true freshman in the 2020-21 track and field season, Shaun Maswanganyi is a four-time All-American in track and field. The sprinter was the NCAA national finalist in the 100 meters in 2021 and the third winner in the 200 meters. He also anchored the men’s 4×100 meters relay team at an 8and-final place in the NCAA last year.
Head Coach of the Year – Based on record, historical significance, respect for student-athletes, and impact in the community
WINNER – Men’s Basketball Head Coach Kelvin Samson added another award to his 2021-22 season trophy with his selection as Coach of the Year.
Sampson led the Cougars to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second straight season and won the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles for only the fourth time in school history.
The Cougars recorded their second 30-win season under his leadership and the program’s seventh consecutive 20-win season, extending the school record.
For his and his team’s impressive performances, Sampson was also named National Coach of the Year by CBS Sports and received the Ben Jobe Award, given annually to the top minority coach in the country.
Sampson was also named Coach of the Year by the American Athletic Conference, NABC District 24 and was honored as Texas Coach of the Year by Dave Campbell. Texas Basketball Magazine.
Game of the Year – Based on crowd, opponent, intensity and historical significance
WINNER – Men’s basketball’s 72-60 win over No. 2/2 Arizona in the NCAA Tournament Southern Region Semifinals was selected as the Game of the Year.
Behind a game-high 21 points and six rebounds from second-year point guard Jamal Shead and 19 points and five 3-pointers from senior guard Kyler Edwards, the Cougars knocked out the No. 1 seed in the South Region and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.
The Cougars took a 2-0 lead 34 seconds into the game off the bucket by graduate forward Fabian White Jr. and were never tied or trailed against the Wildcats.
Game of the Year – Best game in 2021-22
WINNER – Houston Football’s Marcus Jones used a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown in the final minute of the game to lead the Cougars to a 44-37 win over No. 19/16 SMU on Oct. 30, 2021, at inside the TDECU stadium. The 100-yard kickoff return touchdown was only the second kickoff return touchdown in the final 30 seconds of an FBS game in the last 15 years.
With the victory, Houston moved to 5-0 in conference for the sixth time in program history and the first since 2015. The Cougars have won 11 straight en route to an American Athletic Conference championship appearance and a Birmingham Bowl win over Auburn. .
Spirit Award – Someone who is proud to be a Cougar, who supports other teams, who has a passion for the city, the school and the program
WINNER – The 2021-22 reunion king, Jordan Booker has been an outstanding part of the athletics program. An NCAA All-American Booker goes out of his way to support his fellow Cougars in any way he can. A member of the SAAC, the sprinter embodies what it means to be a true Cougar fan.
Staff Member of the Year – A person who has had a significant impact on student-athletes
WINNER – Financial Aid Coordinator Karma Meck, who recently retired, joined the University of Houston’s athletics department in November 2013. In her role, she coordinates college and athletic scholarship programs for nearly 400 Houston student-athletes. Additionally, she works with Houston Athletics compliance officers to ensure student financial aid complies with NCAA regulations and regularly advises students and parents on scholarship opportunities, application processes and the rules.
Ken Baxter Award – Person whose volunteering had a positive impact on Houston Athletics in 2021-22
WINNER – Ashley Whitworth Beecher holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Houston. She has spent the better part of a decade leading youth-focused philanthropic efforts. Ashley served as co-chair of the University of Houston Athletics Hall of Houston’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Gala in September. This event raised over $550,000 for student-athlete scholarships.
The Beechers’ support and love for UH runs in the family. Ashley’s husband, Clark, serves on the UH Board of Visitors. Ashley, Clark and their four children attend all UH football games in their suite at TDECU Stadium. They are members of the Corbin J. Robertson Society, which provides full tuition and fees for one academic year to a student-athlete.
Besides her involvement at UH, Ashley serves on several other boards and has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, National Public Radio, PaperCity Magazine, and the Seaside Times for her philanthropic efforts. She is the managing partner and owner of the Dawson Group, which owns 5 restaurants and dessert concepts in Seaside, Florida.
Team of the Year – Based on GPA, community service and global record
WINNER – Men’s basketball was recognized as the team of the year after posting a 32-6 record, sweeping the regular season and American Athletic Conference tournament titles and advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second consecutive season despite the unexpected loss of guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark to season-ending surgeries in December 2021.
The Cougars were ranked in both national polls for the fifth consecutive season, setting a school record, and ranked No. 7 in the latest Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll, the second straight year in which Houston finished among the Top 10.