Former women’s basketball combo guard Whitney Knight and former baseball second baseman Jake Noll were named FGCU’s Most Outstanding Female and Male Athlete respectively for 2015- 16.
The titles culminate exceptional final seasons by both athletes. Knight is the fifth athlete in FGCU Athletics history to receive the award twice, after being awarded co-winner last year, following suit with men’s tennis’ Jordi Vives (2014-15). Women’s basketball’s Sarah Hansen (2012- 13), Kate Schrader (2006-07) and softball’s Kelly Powe (2004-05) were also awarded twice in the past.
“I am honored and happy to have been selected as the Most Outstanding Female Athlete,” Knight said. “There are so many talented athletes at FGCU, and it’s an honor to be recognized among them for my abilities. FGCU helped me grow tremendously as an athlete, and I’m so grateful for this honor.”
Meanwhile, Noll is the third baseball player in the last three years to win the award, including Nick Rivera (2015) and Mike Murray (2014). Noll and Knight bring their respective teams nine wins each — tied for the most in the award’s history.
“I grew a lot both as a player and a person during my time at FGCU, and I’m thankful for every opportunity I was given,” Noll said. “This award is special to me as it comes from the administration and coaches, and it’s a great way to cap off my career.”
The award has been handed to the best FGCU male and female athlete of the previous year since the 2002-03 season. This was the first year FGCU was an NCAA member (Division I since the 2007-08 season). The award is presented annually at the Welcome Back Picnic, a sort of homecoming event for former and current athletes, which will be held this year on Aug. 22. All nominees of this award have either earned all-conference first team honors or better and been named as a league player of the year in their respective sport.
The Los Angeles Sparks selected Knight as 15th overall pick in the WNBA Draft in April while the Washington Nationals picked Noll as the seventh-round pick in the MLB Draft in June.