April 26, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind two school records, including the most wins in school history in a season with 47 (and counting), University of Kentucky men's tennis senior Eric Quigley has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by league coaches, the league office announced Thursday.
Quigley becomes only the second player in school history to earn the title of SEC Player of the Year, joining former UK All-American Jesse Witten, who earned the honor in 2005. On top of the player of the year award, Quigley was also named a first-team All-SEC performer for the third consecutive season.
"In spite of this being a very strong year in the SEC, this award was almost automatic due to Eric's 11-0 record at No. 1 singles and No. 3 ranking nationally," said UK head coach Dennis Emery, who was also named SEC Coach of the Year. "What this award should also reflect is Eric's character which plays a huge role in his success. He would also be a strong candidate for person of the year or competitor of the year if those awards were given. Eric along with fellow senior Alex Musialek, have changed the winning culture at Kentucky to a championship culture. This award is the result of all these factors and he is very deserving."
Quigley has had a sensational senior season for the Wildcats, posting a 47-6 record in singles action, including an 11-0 mark this spring against SEC foes and a 24-1 record in dual matches. The co-captain's 47 singles wins this season breaks the school record for most singles wins in a season, while earlier this year he became the winningest singles player in school history with career win No. 145.
The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., is currently ranked third in the nation in singles and has not fallen out of the top 10 in the nation in singles all season long. The senior has earned 18 wins over currently ranked foes this spring, including seven wins over players currently ranked in the top 15. Quigley has also been solid in doubles, currently sitting eighth in the nation with Jha as the duo has defeated nine ranked foes this season.
This is the third consecutive first-team selection for Quigley, who joins Witten and former UK stars Cedric Kauffmann and Greg Van Emburgh as the only players in school history to earn three first-team honors. Witten holds the school record after being selected to the first team all four years he played at UK. Kentucky has now had a first-team All-SEC performer every year but one since 2002.
Earlier this month, Quigley received another honor from the SEC as he became a member of the SEC Community Service Team. The honor looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. Quigley also won the highest honor a UK student-athlete can win at the 2012 CATPY Awards, being named Mr. Wildcat for the second straight year. The Mr. and Miss Wildcat Awards are given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service.
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