BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Alabama men's golfer Cory Whitsett, who graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Commerce and Business Administration this past Saturday with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, has been voted the 2014 Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Tuesday. Georgia swimmer Shannon Vreeland earned the award on the women's side.
"Cory and Shannon demonstrate a commitment to excellence that makes them the ideal choices for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award," Slive said. "This is the SEC's most prestigious award and they deserve this honor because of their hard work that allows them to excel at the highest level in their sport and in the classroom. I congratulate them as outstanding representatives of their respective institutions and the SEC."
Whitsett's accomplishments both on and off the course are virtually unmatched in collegiate golf. The 2013 SEC Golfer of the Year and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he is a two-time NCAA Elite 89 Award winner as the golfer with the highest GPA (4.0) at the NCAA Championships.
"Winning this award means a lot," Whitsett said. "Obviously, coming to school you don't think about winning these kinds of awards. You just want to come in and perform well in school and your sport. One of our biggest goals as a team is trying to win the GPA award every year. I've always worked hard to try and make that happen. This is a byproduct of the drive and the importance of academics that coach (Jay) Seawell has instilled in us as a team."
This season, he led Alabama to its third consecutive SEC Championship and the No. 1 national ranking going into next week's regional play. In 2013 he helped lead Alabama to the NCAA Championship and spent time as the world's No. 1 amateur while helping lead the United States to victory at the 2013 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup.
"I am very happy for Cory," UA head coach Jay Seawellsaid. "This award really highlights his dedication in the classroom, on the course and in the community. I am proud of him to represent our team and the University of Alabama by being the winner of this prestigious award."
An at-large member of the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America team and a Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar, he is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and was named to the SEC Newcomer Academic Honor Roll in 2011.
A four-year starter at Alabama, Whitsett earned consensus first team All-America honors in 2013 while gaining a second-team selection in 2011 and 2012. He was a member of the 2013 All-Nicklaus Team and the 2011 All-Mickelson Team, and he owns five career individual medalist honors, second most at Alabama and is third in school history in scoring average (71.45). He has also earned first team All-SEC in each of his first three years.
The 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year, he has 16 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in his career and has won three individual titles at the Linger Longer Invitational as well as the 2011 Western Refining All-American Classic and the 2013 Aggie Invitational.
The ninth Alabama student-athlete to earn the prestigious honor since its inception 1986, Whitsett follows Crimson Tide offensive lineman Barrett Jones, who earned the accolade in 2013. The award comes with a $15,000 postgraduate scholarship. Gymnast Kim Jacob was a finalist for the 2014 honor, earning a $7,500 scholarship in the process.
Whitsett and his teammates begin play in the NCAA Auburn Regional Championships, which will be held May 15-17 in Auburn, Ala.