May 1, 2014 6:54 PM by UL Sports Information
Senior Matt Hicks joined nine other NCAA baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the diamond that were selected as finalists on Wednesday for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate baseball. 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.
"I really like this award because it doesn't just praise the player for what he does in the athletic arena. This award epitomizes who you are and not only what kind of baseball player you are," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "Matt has taken what he has and competes with every fiber in his body. That's why I think he has been successful. He has not only been a good player, but he is also a leader in the locker room and with academics.
"We have a question on the questionnaire that we give to players in the fall that asks who best represents the team off of the field, and Matt ‘s name constantly comes up on all of them. That's not an easy honor to get when you are talking about college life in a college town."
Hicks is 5-0 on the year with a 1.64 ERA in 20 appearances. A native of Bridge City, Texas, Hicks has one save and has struck out 28 in 33 innings. He has walked only six batters this season and is holding opponents to a .231 batting average.
"Matt not only has the ability to pitch and help us there, but he has helped us behind the scenes in the bullpen with the guys who aren't throwing," Robichaux added. "He helps with all the pitcher's day-to-day protocol. He knows so much of our system that he is almost a coach in the bullpen. Not many people want to do that. Most players are focused on themselves. Matt worries about the team. That just shows what kind of leader he is."
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.
Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 candidates announced in March. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through June 9. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 College World Series® in June. For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.