FORT MYLERS, Fla. – After a year in which FGCU was represented in the NCAA Tournament or Championship by six different programs in its first year of Division I postseason eligibility, the Athletic Department named baseball sophomore pitcher Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) and women’s basketball redshirt sophomore Sarah Hansen (McKean, Pa./General McLane HS) its recipients of the 2011-12 Most Outstanding Male & Female Student-Athlete Awards on Saturday.
Hansen is the fifth different women’s basketball player to win or share the female award, while Knapp is the sixth baseball student-athlete to take the male honor. A women’s basketball player has been named the Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete three straight years, while a baseball player has claimed the men’s award in four of the last five years. The FGCU women’s basketball and baseball programs have a combined six Atlantic Sun regular season titles in five years with the women taking the 2012 A-Sun Tournament title in the school’s first year of Division I postseason eligibility.
The Most Outstanding Male & Female Student-Athlete Awards have been handed out since 2002-03.
“We congratulate Sarah and Ricky for their terrific seasons, and for being chosen from an overall outstanding group of finalists,” said Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “Equally as important, they not only demonstrated significant results on the court and mound respectively, they are also tremendous leaders by example in their daily lives, as recognized by their coaches, teammates, opponents, and all who have followed their programs.”
Hansen helped lead the Eagles to their most historic season in their Division I history in 2011-12, advancing to the NCAA Tournament and earning a No. 12 seed in the Raleigh Region. FGCU finished the campaign with a 29-3 overall record that included a league-first 18-0 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles verified the conference’s third-ever unbeaten regular season by cruising through the Atlantic Sun Tournament, taking the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with a convincing 67-39 win over second-seeded and 20-game winner Stetson.
On an individual note, Hansen excelled both athletically and academically, earning Full Court Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention honors, the A-Sun and DI-AAA ADA Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, the A-Sun Tournament MVP, a Capital 1 Academic All-District 4 first team selection and FGCU’s first unanimous A-Sun All-Conference first team selection in program history. She finished the season averaging a team-best 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranked second on the team in steals (2.0) and blocks (23). Hansen, who holds a 3.95 GPA in chemistry and sits seventh all-time in scoring in program history with 884 points after just two seasons, wrapped up the year ranked in the top-15 in the A-Sun in six categories (points, rebounds, FG Pct., FT Pct., steals, blocks) and 18th in the nation in field goal percentage (.524). The redshirt-sophomore scored in double figures 25 times last season, leading the Eagles in scoring in 15 contests, including eight of the last 10 games.
Less than 24 hours removed from landing on the loaded ABCA All-South Region second team, Knapp’s record breaking sophomore campaign saw the right-hander break several records held by 2010 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and current Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale. Knapp became the third FGCU pitcher in just its fifth season as a member of the A-Sun to earn Pitcher of the Year honors, joining 2008 honoree Richard Bleier and Sale (2010).
Comparing sophomore seasons between Knapp and Sale, Knapp finished with an 9-4 record over 15 appearances, including 14 starts, owning a 2.34 ERA in a school record 111.1 innings of work with a .246 opponent batting average. On the flip side, Sale finished with a 7-4 record through 14 appearances, including 12 starts, holding a 2.72 ERA with a .246 opponent batting average. Additionally, Knapp passed Sale’s single-season record for innings pitched (103.0) which he set in the 2010 campaign.
Like Hansen, Knapp earned unanimous A-Sun All-Conference first team status and was the 13th FGCU selection all-time to earn a first team nod. The two-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week tied for the A-Sun lead with nine wins and finished second in overall ERA and innings pitched. Also among the league’s top 10 in opponent batting average, Knapp has started the first game of all nine A-Sun regular season series, and also set an FGCU single-season record with three shutouts and a D-1 program record with four complete games.
FGCU OUTSTANDING ATHLETE AWARD WINNERS
2011-12 – Ricky Knapp (Baseball) & Sarah Hansen (W. Basketball)
2010-11 – Adam Glick (M. Soccer) & Shannon Murphy (W. Basketball)/Courtney Platt (Softball)
2009-10 – Chris Sale (Baseball) & Chelsea Lyles (W. Basketball)
2008-09 – Josh Upchurch (Baseball) & Cheyenne Jenks (Softball)
2007-08 – Jason Peacock (Baseball) & Carmen Paez (Softball)
2006-07 – Beau Bauer (M. Basketball) & Kate Schrader (W. Basketball)
2005-06 – Juan Carlos Osorio (Men’s Tennis)/Jason Louwsma (Baseball) & Kate Schrader (W. Basketball)
2004-05 – Bryan Crislip (M. Basketball)/Richard Stempnowski (M. Tennis) & Kelly Powe (Softball)
2003-04 – Leighton Bowie (M. Basketball) & Kelly Powe (Softball)
2002-03 – Chris Brown (Baseball) & Trish Fleming (W. Basketball)