WACO – Her playing career has been over for 25 days, but the accolades continue to roll in. Baylor University’s Whitney Canion earned the Big 12 Conference’s female Sportsperson of the Year Thursday for her performance on an off the softball field.
Canion completed a six-year career in June with BU’s softball team that included two Women’s College World Series appearances and two all-America honors. She became Baylor’s first, first-team all-American in 2014, posting a 31-12 record and helping the Lady Bears to their third WCWS appearance in school history.
However, her elite status on the softball field is not the only thing that helped her earn Thursday’s award. The Big 12 began recognizing the Sportsperson of the Year for the 2000-01 season, and it annually recognizes student-athletes who displayed excellent sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement.
“Whitney is the standard for Baylor University student-athletes,” said Baylor head softball coach Glenn Moore.
“Not only is she one of the better players to ever come through our program or conference, but she also is a great, serving person and consistently excelled in the classroom. I’m proud for her to be honored in this way because it recognizes that she was more than just a ball player.”
An active member of the Central Texas community, Canion was a semifinalist for the 2014 Wooden Citizenship Cup Award. She served as a past president of the Baylor Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has been a member of the Baylor Sports Management Association the past two years. Her community projects include Harvest Howedown, Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, Mission Waco Walk for the Homeless, Baylor Athletics Canned Food Drive and Panama Mission Trip. Canion has also served with Team USA Softball Camps, Feed My Starving Children, Food for Families and Operation Christmas Child.
The Aledo, Texas native received her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management & Marketing. She is scheduled to complete her master’s in Sport Management in August 2014. Canion received the 2014 Big 12 Gerald Lage Award and was a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team selection. She was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll 12 times, was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a six-time Baylor Dean’s List member.
On the field, Canion was a second-team NFCA all-American in 2011, a first-team honoree in 2014 and left BU as the all-time school leader in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, shutouts and complete games. She left the Big 12 conference as the league’s third all-time wins leader with 121.
Prior Baylor honorees of the Big 12 Sportsperson of the year award are as follows: Jessika Stratton (women’s basketball, 2003-04), Mamdou DIene (men’s basketball, 2007-08), Mellissa Jones (women’s basketball, 2010-11), and Robert Griffin III (football, 2011-12).
Canion shared the 2013-14 honor with her male counterpart, Gabe Ikard of the University of Oklahoma’s football program.
Sportspersons of the Year
2013-14 Whitney Canion, Baylor Softball (Female)
Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma Football (Male)
2012-13 Whitney Pyle, Kansas State Golf (Female)
Nate Boyer, Texas Football (Male)
2011-12 Kylie Doniak, Texas Soccer (Female)
Robert Griffin III, Baylor Football (Male)
2010-11 Melissa Jones, Baylor Basketball (Female)
Sam Acho, Texas Football (Male)
2008-09 Hollie Vise, Oklahoma Gymnastics (Female)
Darrell Stuckey, Kansas Football (Male)
2008-09 Ashley Paris, Oklahoma Basketball (Female)
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma Basketball (Male)
2007-08 Katie Martincich, Kansas Volleyball (Female)
Mamadou Diene, Baylor Basketball (Male)
2006-07 Amanda Costner, Kansas Golf (Female)
Carl Pendleton, Oklahoma Football (Male)
2005-06 Jodie Heinicka, Missouri Gymnastics (Female)
Parker Dalton, Texas A&M Baseball (Male)
2004-05 Richelle Simpson, Nebraska Gymnastics (Female)
Ahmard Hall, Texas Football (Male)
2003-04 Jessika Stratton, Baylor Basketball (Female)
Mark Clayton, Lynn McGruder, Oklahoma Football (Male)
2002-03 Laura Pilakowski, Nebraska Volleyball (Female)
Jeff Leise, Nebraska Baseball (Male)
2001-02 Natalie Ritchie, Texas Tech Basketball (Female)
Cael Sanderson, Iowa State Wrestling (Male)
2000-01 Kim Woodlee, Kansas State Basketball (Female)
Dan Alexander, Nebraska Football (Male)