Volleyball top list of honorees in 2000 DC Awards
Ed De La Garza and
Crystal J. Doucette
Daily Cougar Staff
The final results of the 2000 DC Awards
were tabulated early Monday morning. There weren't any major surprises,
but this exercise proved one thing. Cougar fans are passionate about their
Coach of the Semester
As head coach of the UH women's volleyball
team, Bill Walton has guided the program to 11 NCAA tournament invitations,
a Northern Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference tournament championship
in 1990 and 320 wins since his first year in 1986. He recorded his 300th
career win at UH on Sept. 1 in the season-opener against Texas-Arlington
and ended the season with 530 career wins, 320 at UH.
An Illinois native, Walton played volleyball
at George Williams College, where he was a two-time National Association
of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American. He helped lead George Williams
to a national volleyball title in 1974 and gained spots on the 1976 and
1979 United States National Teams. Walton earned his first opportunity
as a head coach at Elmhurst in 1981. The team played in the 1982 NCAA Division
III regional finals and won the NCAA title in 1983 over UC San Diego, 3-1.
Walton has built the UH program to a .645
winning percentage (320-176), 13 seasons out of 15 with 20-plus wins and
10 consecutive NCAA tournament invitations, an honor which only 12 schools
Game of the Semester
Oct. 28. The football team took on then-No.
12 Southern Miss and held the Golden Eagles to just six points. Though
the Cougars lost the game, 6-3, senior quarterback Jason McKinley nearly
led the team to an upset win.
The Cougar defense held the Golden Eagles
throughout the game, until a crucial drive late in the third quarter. Southern
Miss drove close enough to kick the go-ahead field goal -- due in part
to questionable calls that kept its drive alive.
Having done nothing for three quarters,
McKinley finally jump-started the team and guided it all the way to USM's
17-yard line. But an untimely sack pushed the Cougars back to the 29.
A 46-yard attempt from kicker Mike Clark
sailed wide left, leaving the Cougars' chances of a winning season dangling
by a thread.
The game was marked by defense. It can
even be argued that Southern Miss' problems began with this game. It was
never able to regain the aura of invincibility it enjoyed early in the
season. The C-USA favorite was blown out by eventual conference champion
First year head coach Dana Dimel went through
some tough times, but his team never gave up. It was a loss, but it was
the Cougars' best game of the season.
Team of the Semester
The UH women's volleyball team took off
early this semester, taking advantage of a healthy Jennifer Wittenburg
and a starting recruit -- junior transfer Gabriela Carbone. With five seniors,
the Cougars went on a 10-match winning streak and were undefeated in Conference
USA play for eight matches. The team was No. 1 in the NCAA Midwest Region,
was tied for No. 1 in conference with Cincinnati and was No. 1 in the National
Senior Wittenburg was named C-USA Player
of the Week twice this season, two players (Michelle Frazier and Morgan
Wallen) had triple-double matches and each of the usual six starters (Carbone
and the seniors) broke or matched a career-high.
Despite a disappointing end to regular
season play, UH earned a No. 4 seed in the 2000 C-USA tournament. The Cougars
have made it to at least the semifinals in the conference tourney since
joining C-USA in 1996. They lost to South Florida in the semis Nov. 18.
UH received a spot in the 2000 NCAA tournament
to face No. 23 Texas A&M in the first round at Stockton, Calif. The
Cougars were knocked out, 3-0, but finished the season 21-11.
Most Valuable Player
Freshman soccer forward Nicole Aubuchon
was the breakout star of the year, but the award can go to only one player.
Senior football linebacker Wayne Rogers
seemingly willed the Cougars to give everything they had on every down.
His 26 tackles for a loss cemented his position in the UH history books.
Photo courtesy of Will Cordray
UH senior linebacker
Wayne Rogers won numerous awards for his aggressive play this season. He
was also recognized by The Daily Cougar as "Most Valuable Player of the
His hard work paid off -- individually.
Rogers earned the C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Year award and was named
to Football News' and Footballnews.com's Third Team All-America teams.
He also won the C-USA Defensive Player
of the Week award on two consecutive occasions, following the Memphis game
on Oct. 21 and the USM game on Oct. 28.
He was the first defensive player to win
a conference player of the year award since Wilson Whitley in 1976.
Rogers led the team through a transition
period. Hopefully, his hard work rubbed off on the younger players who
will be asked to step up now that he's moving beyond collegiate football.
Rogers' love for the game showed through and gave fans reason to cheer,
regardless of the team's record.
Rogers will forever be associated with
this era in Cougar football.