Big 12 Announces 2010-11 Sportspersons of the Year
Melissa Jones (Baylor) and Sam Acho (Texas) have been named the 2010-11 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Jones was a senior on the BU women’s basketball squad while Acho completed his eligibility with the UT football program.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards were started in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service during the academic year. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel. The Big 12’s recipients are also nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
Jones became the first Baylor women’s basketball player that did not earn All-America honors on the court to have her jersey retired, an honor that had more to do with her leadership and action away from basketball. An active leader in Baylor’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, Jones has been part of two different mission trips to Kenya, Africa. During her time in Waco, she has also worked in soup kitchens, volunteered with the Salvation Army and visited area hospitals.
The native of Thornton, Colo. also fought through a difficult injury during her senior campaign. After losing sight in one eye after a hard hit to the floor, Jones missed just one game. She donned a pair of sunglasses and returned to help Baylor to the Big 12 Championship title and a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship.
Acho has been the Longhorns’ leader on and off the field while also treating his competitors with the utmost respect. He is known as the first player to offer encouragement to his teammates and to his opponents following the conclusion of games. The Dallas, Texas-native also performed extremely well on the field, leading UT in sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (17.0),
Each summer, Acho has participated in medical mission trips with his family to his parents’ native country of Nigeria to assist those less fortunate with medical care. He has also organized and participated in various community efforts in Texas, speaking at area schools to promote education and physical activity while also teaching English as a second language. In July, he helped build a home in Dallas through Habitat for Humanity.
Acho is also a strong performer in the classroom as an honors business major with a 3.55 GPA that has earned him Academic All-Big 12 recognition three times. His on the field efforts led to him being chosen in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.