Lee Receives NCAA Scholar-Athlete Award

Conor Lee is a true success story for the Pitt football team, a local player who walked on to the Panthers, eventually earned a scholarship and became a record-setting place-kicker during his third season as a starter this past fall.

Conor Lee, a graduate of Upper St. Clair High School in suburban Pittsburgh, was named the Big East Conference's Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

"We try to recruit athletes to fit our football team, but also ones who will be great representatives of our university,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "And Conor Lee is one of many who completed their degrees with honors long before their athletic careers ended. We're very proud of his accomplishments.''

Lee, who also spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy, graduated magna cum laude from Pitt last April with a dual bachelor's degree in economics and business, earning a 3.715 grade-point average. He is pursuing an MBA at the University's prestigious Katz Graduate School of Business.

As the league's Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Lee will receive a $2,000 scholarship, which may be applied to graduate or professional studies.

Lee was named first team All-Big East this past year and additionally was a second team Academic All-American. He finished his career as the most accurate kicker in Pitt history, converting 83.3 percent of his field goals. Lee never missed an extra point during his collegiate career, converting a school-record 113 consecutive.

In addition to Lee's honor, the Panthers had 13 players named to the Big East Football All-Academic Team, which recognizes letterwinners who have posted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Student-athletes who have completed a minimum of two semesters of academic work and earned a letter are eligible.

Long-snapper Mark Estermyer (Chippewa, Pa./Blackhawk High School) was honored for the fourth consecutive year, while Lee was honored for the third time. Three of Pitt's other honorees were repeat selections from last year, including tight end John Pelusi (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic), linebacker Austin Ransom (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville East) and defensive end Tyler Tkach (Slatington/Northern Lehigh).

The Panthers' additional honorees included quarterback Pat Bostick (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Twp.), place-kicker Luke Briggs (Midland, Mich./Herbert Henry Dow), defensive lineman Myles Caragein (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks), linebacker Max Gruder (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day School), fullback Henry Hynoski (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia), quarterback Andrew Janocko (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area), offensive lineman John Malecki (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) and linebacker Tristan Roberts (Perkasie, Pa./Pennridge).

Former Pitt defensive tackle Vince Crochunis, a two-time NCAA Academic All-American, was the 2004 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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