Aug. 1, 2012
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina's Ashton Bennett has been voted the Big South Conference Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year for the 2011-12 season by the league's athletics directors, senior woman administrators and sports information directors. Gabrielle Houston of Charleston Southern was named the Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Bennett, a rising senior, was a MAC Hermann Trophy Award semifinalist in 2011 after leading the nation in goals scored (23), points (53) and points per game (2.41), while ranking second in goals per game with 1.05. He helped Coastal Carolina earn an at-large NCAA Tournament bid as well as to lead the nation in scoring offense with 3.0 goals per game and 66 total goals. Bennett tallied nine game-winning goals in 2011 -- including one that gave Coastal a 4-3 win over Elon to advance to the NCAA Second Round. A 2011 First-Team All-America selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) -- the Big South's first First-Team honoree since 2003 -- Bennett was also named Second-Team All-America by College Soccer News, was a three-time TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week honoree and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week twice in 2011. Also during the 2011 campaign, Bennett strung together a six-game consecutive goal-scoring streak in which he tallied nine scores and two assists for 20 points in that span. Among his seven multi-goal games was a hat trick against Richmond, and his 23 goals were the second-highest in a single-season in school history. Bennett's 53 points last season rank third in the Coastal Carolina record books.
In addition to his numerous national honors, Bennett was named the 2011 Big South Attacking Player of the Year, first team All-Big South and he received the conference's Attacking Player of the Week honor on three occasions. He was also voted to the Coastal Carolina Male Athlete of the Year by the Chants' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Bennett is the fourth Chanticleer to be named the Big South Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year and the first since baseball's Mike Costanzo did so following the 2004-05 season. In addition, Bennett is Coastal's second men's soccer player to garner the plaudit joining fellow first team All-American Joseph Ngwenya, who captured the award for both the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
In March 2000, the Big South Conference Executive Committee voted to create an annual Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year award and to name the male award in honor of former Charleston Southern Athletic Director Howard Bagwell, who was one of the founders of the Big South Conference. The annual nominees are the Players of the Year from each sport for the regular season most recently completed.
HOWARD BAGWELL MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS
1999-00 -- Keith Butler, Liberty (baseball)
2000-01 -- Jason Colson, Winthrop (baseball)
2001-02 -- Justin Owens, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2002-03 -- Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2003-04 -- Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2004-05 -- Mike Costanzo, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2005-06 -- Josh McDougal, Liberty (cross country/track)
2006-07 -- Josh McDougal, Liberty (cross country/track)
2007-08 -- Josh McDougal, Liberty (cross country/track)
2008-09 -- Sam Chelanga, Liberty (cross country/track)
2009-10 -- Sam Chelanga, Liberty (cross country/track)
2010-11 -- Sam Chelanga, Liberty (cross country/track)
2011-12 -- Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina (men's soccer)
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS
1999-00 -- Anthonia Akpama, Liberty (volleyball)
2000-01 -- Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)
2001-02 -- Heather Sagan, Liberty (track & field)
2002-03 -- Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)
2003-04 -- Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)
2004-05 -- Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)
2005-06 -- Tiffany Evans, Radford (track & field)
2006-07 -- Aruka Felgueroso, Coastal Carolina (golf)
2007-08 -- Megan Frazee, Liberty (basketball)
2008-09 -- Megan Frazee, Liberty (basketball)
2009-10 -- Kristen Shifflett, Radford (softball)
2010-11 -- Natalie Pearson, UNC Asheville (track & field)
2011-12 -- Gabrielle Houston, Charleston Southern (track & field)