Reprinted from The Sun Belt Conference Official Site
Two years ago this September, Becky Paull was in a Denver, Colorado, hospital with her life hanging on the surgery doctors were about to perform.
What makes this story different from many is the University of Idaho assistant athletic director for media relations was in the hospital because she chose to donate a major portion of her liver to her brother-in-law Tom Fitzpatrick. Not her brother or close blood relative, but her sister's husband.
Without a living donor, Fitzpatrick's days were numbered as he battled hepatitis C. Several of Tom's family members went through tests to see if they were compatible donors, but the first to show up as a good match was Paull.
For her unselfish decision to donate 60 percent of her liver to Fitzpatrick and subsequent support of the organ donors program, Paull has been named the 2002 recipient of the Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award, sponsored annually by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Paull will receive the award July 3 at the annual CoSIDA Workshop held this year in Rochester, New York.
The award is given annually to a CoSIDA member for civic involvement and accomplishments outside the sports information office.
Kenworthy, the first recipient of the award in 1993, served as the sports information director at Gettysburg College for more than 35 years. In addition to being active in CoSIDA, Kenworthy actively participated in community and campus affairs, worked with local middle and high school groups and held several local township positions, including auditor.
The surgery was performed at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver Sept. 26, 2000, just days after Paull worked the Idaho at Washington State football game.
Originally, doctors thought Paull would only have to donate about 40 percent of her liver, but they adjusted their figures just before surgery, taking 60 percent.
Paull's recovery period was about six weeks, but it was three months after the surgery before Fitzpatrick returned to his home in Lewiston, Idaho, the day after Thanksgiving.
"I thought of it as an adventure," Paull told Vandal Sports after the surgery. "I wasn't afraid. I knew it was for the best."
"Tom had been a part of my sister's life for many years and therefore a part of our family," Paull offered. "I had seen him suffer for so long - I am just happy I could make this happen for him."
Paull, a 1979 Idaho graduate who grew up in Moscow before finishing high school in Lewiston, Idaho, started her career as a sportswriter for the Idaho Statesman in Boise. Joining the paper's staff shortly after graduation, Paull spent nearly 17 years covering sports in her home state.
During her newspaper career, she was Idaho sportswriter of the year awards three times. She also won awards from the Idaho Press Club, including a first place award in 1992 for sports writing.
Then, in 1996, Paull made a career move, returned to the University of Idaho and took a graduate assistant position with the Vandal sports information office. She spent most of the 1996-97 school year as interim SID, then was named the school's permanent sports information director in March of 1997.
NCAA News & Features
Ex-Kaua'i High athlete reaps tennis awards at Idaho
By Dennis Anderson
The Honololulu Advertiser Staff Writer
University of Idaho Photo
|Brad Lum-Tucker, 6-2, So|
Verizon Academic All-District VIII Team
Lum-Tucker, a sophomore, won the Idaho men's tennis co-Most Outstanding Singles player award, the Most Outstanding Doubles player award and the Most Valuable Player award.
"I don't think he has a big enough suitcase to bring all that hardware home to Hawai'i," coach Greg South said.
He was right.
"I left it up there," Lum-Tucker said Monday, joking, "It would have set off the airport metal detector."
The honors didn't end at the banquet. On Monday, Lum-Tucker was named to the Verizon Academic all-district second team for his 4.0 grade point average through last fall.
He was one of two Idaho athletes to earn Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete recognition.
"I messed it up this semester," Lum-Tucker said. "I don't have all my grades yet, but I'm pretty sure I got a B in Health and Wellness."
Health and Wellness? "Yeah," he answered sheepishly, "I was concentrating too much on the harder classes."
Full concentration was no problem on the tennis court for Lum-Tucker, who was Hawai'i's 2000 high school boys singles champion.
He led Idaho in both singles and doubles victories. His won-lost record was 21-12 in singles, mostly at No. 3, and 11-7 at No. 2 doubles with Hector Mucharraz of Mexico City.
"Brad is an athlete who is playing tennis rather than someone who grew up playing tennis," coach South said. "He didn't play tennis full-time until a year ago because in high school he also did track, volleyball and basketball in season, and only practiced tennis three months a year. Brad came here largely undeveloped, but very talented.
"In our tennis team fitness testing, he has done a 36-inch vertical jump, run a sub-4:50 mile, a 48-second 400, and run 2 miles below 11 minutes.
"With all that, his athleticism pales in comparison to his intellect and academic accomplishments," South said.
"I've been a head coach for 16 years and Brad is the most extraordinary young man I've ever coached," South said. "I've had better players, some who are out on tour, and some better athletes. But he has the entire package
"He is something special. You have to be around him to see that. He gives his all and the other kids follow him."
Lum-Tucker returns the praise: "The coaches here helped me develop my game a lot and deserve a lot of credit," he said.
In addition to South, Lum-Tucker is coached by Kula Oda, a Lahainaluna High and University of Hawai'i ('97) graduate who previously coached at Hawai'i-Hilo. Oda was a state high school doubles champion in 1991.
When Lum-Tucker passed up scholarship offers to walk on at Idaho in 2000, he said he did it because, "I want to see what it's like to go skiing."
"I've seen a lot of snow, but sad to say I still haven't gone skiing," Lum-Tucker said Monday. "Tennis is a lot more time-consuming than I expected, and I never met the right girl to teach me how to ski ... nobody. But I have gone snow-sledding on pizza boxes on campus."
And he has a tennis scholarship now.
The highlight of the past season, Lum-Tucker says, was playing every college team in Hawai'i on Idaho's biennial trip here. "I won 4 and lost 2 and I got to see my teammates wipe out on the waves trying to surf," he said. He stayed on the beach.
This summer, Lum-Tucker will teach at the Hyatt Regency at Po'ipu, and play in some tournaments on O'ahu.
He figures to play No. 1 for Idaho next season as the Nos. 1 and 2 players finished their eligibility. "My goal is to go for a national ranking, to get closer to that," Lum-Tucker said.
Odds & Ends
Idaho Women's Basketball coach Mike Divilbiss signed a large recruiting class that includes 6 freshmen and a four-year transfer. Spring signees in the freshman class include Sabra Dunn (6-2 Post, Gresham, OR), Emily Beers (5-11, Wing, Port Moody, B.C.) and Toni Kinsey (5-4 Guard, Florence, Colo.). Emily Faurholt (5-11 Post, Kennewick, WA) also joined the Vandals this spring, signing a financial aid agreement to transfer from Seattle Pacific. Incoming freshmen Autumn Fielding (5-7 Wing, Kennewick, WA), Michelle Mickle (5-11 Wing, Ephrata, WA) and Breann Sitton (6-4 Post, Brush Prairie, WA) signed in the November period. The Vandals return just two players and three redshirts from last season's squad which finished 11-17 and sixth in the Big West Conference........The University of Idaho Women's Soccer Team signed one more student-athlete to its list of 2002 recruits. Blair Marsden (Durham, OR) was a first team all-league selection in 1999, as well as in 2000 when she was also a third team All-State selection. In 2000 and 2001, Marsden was team captain for the Tigers and was awarded MVP honors. Named to her school's honor roll as well as a member of the National Honors Society, Marsden was also recruited by Iowa State, Portland State and Claremont.........University of Idaho Volleyball returns only seven players this fall, but Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan has signed 4 freshmen for the 2002-2003 season. Kati Tikker (6-0 Middle Blocker, Nine Mile Falls, WA) and Meghan Brown (6-1 Middle Blocker, Nanaimo, B.C.) join November signees Amanda Bowman (5-10 Outside Hitter, Anaheim, CA) and Erin Curtis (6-1 Middle Blocker, Sacramento, CA) to round out what should be another strong recruiting class at Idaho.