June 30, 2014
LOS ANGELES - A stunned Kim Jacob smiled brightly Monday night as she was presented the 40th annual Honda Cup as the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Athlete of the Year in Los Angeles during the live awards broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
Jacob, the 2014 NCAA All-Around Champion and the Honda Award winner for the sport of gymnastics, was one of 12 women from 12 different sports under consideration for the prestigious accolade that honors the best collegiate NCAA Division I female athlete in the nation over the past academic year.
“Kim Jacob deservedly was named the Collegiate Athlete of the Year and though diminutive in stature was gigantic in accomplishment as she raised the Honda Cup and became the 'best of the best' of the class of 2014, “ stated Chris Voelz, Executive Director of the CWSA.
The winner of Alabama's ninth Honda Award, Jacob is the first Crimson Tide student-athlete to be a top-three finalist and the first to win the Honda Cup.
"I am stunned," Jacob said after accepting the award on stage from Erik Wedin, manager, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "I never thought this was possible, but if there is a lesson in this, it's to always dare to dream big."
Jacob is just the third gymnast in the history of the award to win the Honda Cup, following Missy Marlowe (Utah, 1993) and Courtney Kupets (Georgia, 2009). Previous Honda Cup winners include basketball Cheryl Miller (1984), track and field superstar Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and swimming legend Tracy Caulkins (1982 and 1984).
A champion in the gym, the classroom and in the community, Jacob led Alabama to four consecutive top-four national finishes, including back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2011 and 2012. The 2014 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for the at-large team, Jacob is also a two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team.
"Kim is the epitome of what we look for in a student-athlete," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "She is selfless, giving and has the biggest heart. I am so excited and pleased that she earned this honor which truly represents the best of the best of collegiate athletics."
An 11-time All-American, she earned four first-team honors in 2014, the most of any gymnast at the national championships. She also led Alabama to SEC titles in 2011 and 2014.
"I am so proud to be a part of the University of Alabama's championship legacy and tradition of excellence," Jacob said. "I want to thank my family, my coaches and especially my teammates, whose support, love and constant encouragement provided the platform for all the success that I enjoyed."
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation's top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.8 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions.