Jan. 5, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS - Greg McElroy, the quarterback of Alabama's 2009 national champion football team and the 2010 ESPN/CoSIDA Football Academic All-American of the Year, earned the prestigious Today's Top VIII Award, the NCAA announced this week.
"This is certainly a great honor, and I'm very proud to be able to represent the University in this manner," McElroy said. "I'm appreciative to the NCAA for the opportunity to play football and be a student-athlete over the last five years. The NCAA Top VIII award means so much to me because it not only represents what I was able to accomplish on the field, but what I accomplished in the classroom and the community as well. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at The University of Alabama who helped me achieve my goals."
The Today's Top VIII award recognizes current student-athletes, who have completed their athletic eligibility, for their success on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients will be honored later this month at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration at the 2011 NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. McElory is the ninth University of Alabama athlete to earn the award and the sixth in the past decade.
"Greg has been a tremendous ambassador for the University of Alabama throughout his career, excelling at the highest levels both as a player and a student, and this latest honor is certainly indicative of that success," UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore said. "The University of Alabama has a long and proud association with the NCAA Top VIII program, which represents the very best in collegiate athletics and Greg is a worthy addition to that legacy."
McElroy is joined by Amy Backel (Oklahoma/track and field), Zach Carr (Stevens Institute of Technology/soccer), Casie Hanson (North Dakota/ice hockey and softball), Dan Laurent (Wisconsin-La Crosse/wrestling), Marcia Newby (Georgia/gymnastics), Jessica Pixler (Seattle Pacific/cross country and track and field) and Jeff Spear (Columbia/fencing). The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.
"Greg McElroy has performed at an extraordinary level as both an athlete and a scholar, and we are extremely proud of all he has accomplished," UA President Dr. Robert E. Witt said. "From his quest for a Rhodes Scholarship to leading his team to the national championship, Greg's drive to excel is the embodiment of the NCAA Top VIII Award and a source of tremendous pride for The University of Alabama."
On the field, McElroy led Alabama to a 14-0 record, a Southeastern Conference and national championship in his first year as a starter as a junior in 2009. This season he led Alabama to a 10-3 mark, including a win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, where he set the UA single-season passing record with 2,987 yards on the year. He was voted the MVP of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Florida, and is the SEC career leader in ratio of attempts to interceptions, averaging one pick every 65.8 pass attempts during his career.
In the classroom, he was named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and earned an $18,000 scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's National Scholar-Athlete Award. A finalist for the Campbell Trophy, McElroy was named one of Sporting News' 20 Smartest Athletes. He graduated from Alabama in three years with a bachelor's degree in business marketing and earned a master's degree in sports administration in December.
In the community, McElroy participated in Alabama's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Project Angel Tree, Read Across America, Hospice of West Alabama, Impact Alabama's "Focus First" Child Vision Screening, Habitat for Humanity, West Alabama Food Bank and has volunteered numerous hours to speak to local school children about the importance of a quality education.
Alabama's previous NCAA Top VIII recipients include: Randy Hall (football/1975), Steadman Shealy (football/1980), Meredith Willard (gymnastics/1997), Andreé Pickens (gymnastics/2002), Kristin Sterner (gymnastics/2003), DeMeco Ryans (football/2006), Beth Mallory (track and field/2007) and Brittany Rogers (softball/2009).