The University of Alabama has a history of producing outstanding academic performers among along with excellence in athletics, and this year the Crimson Tide achieved unprecedented success.
Alabama swept the Academic All-American of the Year titles for the at-large team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) it was announced Thursday.
Crimson Tide swimmer Anton McKee and Bama gymnast Lauren Beers were selected as the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans of the Year for the Division I Men’s and Women’s At-Large programs, respectively.
The at-large teams include the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis and water polo for both men and women, as well as beach volleyball, bowling, crew and field hockey for women, and volleyball and wrestling for men.
“This is an amazing honor for Anton and Lauren, their teams and the Crimson Tide nation as a whole,” UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. “To have both Academic All-Americans of the Year for the at-large teams come from The University of Alabama is a direct result of the drive and dedication that our student-athletes put into the pursuit of academic excellence.”
Alabama also became the first school to have three Academic All-Americans of the Year in the same academic year, with Beers and McKee joining Haylie McCleney, who earned the softball honor for the second year in a row.
“These honors speak to the hard work of our student-athletes and the continued pursuit of our mission by our coaches and support staff,” Battle said. “Special recognition must be given to the efforts of Jon Dever and Jessie Gardner and their staff within our Center for Athletic Student Services.”
McKee is the first Alabama student-athlete to be named Academic All-American of the Year for the men’s at-large team while Beers is the fifth Tide woman to earn the honor for the at-large team, the most in the history of the award. Tide gymnasts have earned the honor four times (Beers 2016, Kim Jacob 2014, Kayla Hoffman 2011, Stephanie Kite 2005), while golfer Brooke Pancake earned the honor in 2012.
Tide student-athletes have now earned Academic All-American of the Year for their respective sport 10 times, making Alabama one of just five schools to total double digits. Over the last six years, Alabama has had nine student-athletes earn Academic All-American of the Year accolades, the most by any school over that span and four more than second-place Stanford.
Alabama had five student-athletes, three men and two women, earn a place on the 2016 Academic All-America At-Large Teams, making the Tide one of just three schools to have more than three student-athletes earn the honor this year. Alabama is one of two schools (Navy) to have three student-athletes earn a place on the men’s at-large team while Crimson Tide swimming and diving is the only team to have three honorees.
McKee and fellow junior Connor Oslin both earned Academic All-America honors for the second year in a row, earning first-team recognition in 2016, while classmate Pavel Romanov earned second-team honors. The Crimson Tide swimming and diving program has now earned 15 Academic All-America honors since 2005. McKee and Oslin's honors also mark the fifth time since 2005 that two or more members of the swimming and diving team have earned the honor in the same year.
Beers earned her third Academic All-America nod and second consecutive first-team honor while junior Mackenzie Brannan earned second-team honors.