Alabama’s Haylie McCleney Earns NCAA Top 10 Award
Former University of Alabama softball player Haylie McCleney earned the prestigious NCAA Top 10 Award, the NCAA announced Friday.
The NCAA Top 10 Award recognizes student-athletes who have completed their athletic eligibility for their success in competition, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients will be honored in January at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration at the 2016 NCAA Convention in the Nashville, Tenn., area.
“What a tremendous way to finish an incredible career at Alabama - with the highest honor a student-athlete can receive from the NCAA,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “All of us realized we had something special in Haylie the athlete when she initially said yes to us. We just didn’t know Haylie the young woman was going to be just as special or better. She’s made me a better person in the four years I got to spend with her. She made us all better.”
McCleney is the second Alabama softball player to earn NCAA Top 10 recognition, joining Brittany Rogers, who earned the honor in 2009.
“This is another extraordinary honor for an extraordinary career,” UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. “It has been a privilege to watch as Haylie piled up honor after honor, on the diamond and in the classroom, during her amazing career. She is a testament to what can be accomplished when the pursuit of excellence is your everyday focus.”
A four-year All-American, McCleney earned first-team honors in three of her four seasons. She completed her senior season in 2016 with four school career records, including a .447 career batting average. McCleney is just the fifth player in program history and the 21st in NCAA history to total 300 hits, 200 runs and 100 stolen bases. She is a four-time All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive team honoree.
She is a three-time First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American and a two-time Softball Academic All-American of the Year selection, just the third two-time winner for the sport of softball since the yearly award was introduced in 1988.
McCleney is just the second UA softball player to earn First Team honors as an All-American and Academic All-American in the same season, doing so three times over her career. She was named the 2016 H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was the 2015 SEC's Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2016, McCleney graduated with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in exercise science and won the Senior CLASS Award, which celebrates senior student-athletes who use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as community leaders, and was a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year honors.
The 14th Alabama athlete to receive the prestigious honor, McCleney’s selection marks the ninth time in 11 years an Alabama student-athlete has received the award, joining Kim Jacob (gymnastics/2014), Barrett Jones (football/2013), Brooke Pancake (women's golf/2012), Kayla Hoffman (gymnastics/2011), Greg McElroy (football/2010), Rogers, Beth Mallory (track and field/2007) and DeMeco Ryans (football/2006).
"To have a Crimson Tide student-athlete earn this prestigious honor nine times in a span of just over a decade is an amazing accomplishment and a great point of pride for our Athletics Department and the University as a whole," Battle said.
Alabama's previous NCAA Top 10 (formerly Top VIII) recipients include: Randy Hall (football/1975), Steadman Shealy (football/1980), Meredith Willard (gymnastics/1997), Andreé Pickens (gymnastics/2002), Sterner (gymnastics/2003), Rogers, McElroy, Hoffman, Pancake, Jones and Jacob.