Big South Announces 2012-13 Scholar-Athletes of the Year


CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – Radford women’s soccer player Megan Rhodes (Blacksburg, Va.) and Liberty football player Pat Kelly (New Orleans, La.) have been voted the 2012-13 Big South Conference Female and Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, respectively, it was announced today by the League office.  The Scholar-Athletes of the Year are voted on by the Big South Sports Information Directors from a pool of each sport’s Scholar-Athlete winner.

Rhodes is the second Radford female athlete in three years to be honored, as well as the first women’s soccer player to win the award.  This past season she was a recipient of the George A. Christenberry Award -- the Big South’s highest academic honor as she maintained a cumulative 4.0 grade point average during her career.  The elementary education and Spanish major was a national semifinalist for the 2012-13 John Wooden Citizen Cup award, in addition to being the 2012-13 Radford Athletics Senior Excellence Award recipient and Radford’s Most Outstanding student in 2012 and 2013.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude and has been accepted into Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School of Education.  A University Presidential Scholar, Rhodes was a student representative on the University Board of Visitors in 2011-12 and was a certified academic coach where she tutored students and student-athletes in various subjects, including those preparing to take the Praxis I exam.  Rhodes, a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection her junior year, was voted the Big South Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior.  She appeared in 62 career games and tallied seven goals and two assists for 16 points, and was a two-year starter and captain for the two-time defending Big South champion Highlanders.  Rhodes scored the game-winning goal in the 2011 Big South championship match.

Kelly is the second Liberty student-athlete to win the award and the first since Flames’ cross country runner Bruce Kite in 2001.  Also honored as a Christenberry Award winner this past spring, Kelly was named one of two national Scholar-Athletes of the Year by the FCS Athletics Directors Association (ADA), which includes a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship.  Kelly is a two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First-Team honoree and has been named to the FCS ADA national Academic All-Star team twice.  A Big South Presidential Honor Roll member every year at Liberty, Kelly graduated with a 4.0 in exercise science.  He became the fourth player in school history and seventh in Big South history with 2,000 career receiving yards (2,140) and ranked No. 11 in the country with 7.27 receptions per game in 2012.  Kelly led the Big South last season with 80 receptions and was second with 857 receiving yards.  He set the Big South single-game record with 16 receptions against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 27, and concluded his career with 162 receptions (sixth in League history) for 2,107 receiving yards (seventh all-time).

The Big South Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year are selected from a pool of each sport’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year winner announced during the regular season.  In the voting, Rhodes finished with 38 points, ahead of Coastal Carolina women’s golfer Brittany Henderson (34 points).  Winthrop women’s track & field athlete Jeanne Stroud finished third with 30 points.  On the men’s side, Kelly finished first in the voting with 42 points, followed by High Point men’s soccer player Shawn Sloan (38 points) and Coastal Carolina baseball player Justin Creel, who was third with 28 points.