BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - Former University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball standout Heather Butler has been selected as one of two Ohio Valley Conference nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. Joining Butler is Tennessee Tech's Meghan O'Donoghue. The award will be announced at the Woman of the Year Awards dinner in Indianapolis on October 19.
Each conference nominates up to two women and from that group the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) narrows it down to the top 10 per division which will be announced in August. From those 30 candidates, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. Student-athletes are nominated only once in their career by their institution.
The NCAA CWA manages the nomination process and selections. In the past five years, 676 student-athletes were nominated by their conference or independent institutions, representing multiple ethnicities and all NCAA-sponsored sports within Divisions I, II and III. In 2013 alone, 455 student-athletes were nominated by their institutions. From 1998 through 2005, an average of 410 female student-athletes per year were nominated for the award; and since the program's inception in 1991, 2629 women have been recognized as state or conference honorees.
Butler posted a 3.87 GPA as a health and human performance major. She was named to the UT Martin Chancellor's Honor Roll and the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll each of her four years. Last year, Butler was one of three female student-athletes to earn the OVC Scholar Athlete Award. She has volunteered with the reading program at local elementary schools as well as being an elementary and middle school DARE program graduation speaker. She has helped with women's basketball summer camps and the SAAC Can Caravan as well as being a youth basketball coach.
Butler was a four-year team captain for the Skyhawks and led the team to four straight OVC Tournament titles and NCAA appearances. She was an All-OVC first team selection all four years of her career along with being named the OVC Freshman of the Year in 2010-10 and the Player of the Year last season. She became the league's all-time leading scorer with 2,865 career points which also ranks 16th in the NCAA. Butler reached double figures in all 129 games of her career, ranking as the second longest streak in the nation. The mark also ranks fifth all-time in the NCAA. The Medina, Tenn., native was also recently named the OVC Female Athlete of the Year. She is currently a member of the San Antonio Stars WNBA team.
O'Donoghue was a member of the Tennessee Tech Cross Country team 2010-13 while also running track for the Golden Eagles. She earned the team's Most Dedicated Runner Award and the team's Most Improved Award.