Big 12 Announces 2012-13 Sportspersons of the Year
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 06/17/2013
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Whitney Pyle (K-State) and Nate Boyer (Texas) have been selected the 2012-13 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Pyle was a senior on the K-State women’s golf squad, while Boyer was in his junior year of eligibility with the Texas football team.

The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began 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.

Pyle has been an active participant and leader in student and team-led service initiatives throughout her four-year career at K-State. During the 2012-13 academic year, she served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was a member of the Adopt-A-Family subcommittee that was responsible for organizing and executing SAAC’s promise to fulfill the Christmas wish list for 14 individuals.

The Blue Mound, Kan. - native also helped raise almost $11,000 in donations and 5,000 pounds of food for "Cats for Cans" that benefits the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Other philanthropic projects included "Tipoff for TP," an initiative that collected paper products and monetary donations for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter and a "Docs vs. Jocks" kickball game with proceeds benefitting the Flint Hills Community Clinic. Pyle has also been active at local elementary schools and with Special Olympics. She was a May graduate at K-State with a degree in accounting.

Her outstanding character was never more evident than on the evening of February 24, 2013. The women’s golf team had just completed 36 holes of play at the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Ariz. While back in her hotel room checking scores on GolfStat.com, Pyle realized her second round score was incorrect by one stroke with the wrong score entered on hole 9. She sent a text message to head coach Kristi Knight informing her of the incorrect score online. The next morning, Coach Knight notified the host institution’s coach and it was discovered a birdie had been written in on the physical score card instead of a par. Pyle had signed the incorrect score card, resulting in a violation that disqualified her for the round. Had she not taken action when noticing the error, the mistake would have gone unnoticed.

Boyer is a constant inspiration to his Texas teammates and others while sharing lessons he has learned as an active member of the military. He has exposed the squad to military personnel’s experiences by bringing in numerous guest speakers to address the student-athletes on the importance of team work.

The Dublin, Calif.-native earned a Bronze Star for his service with the U.S. Army Special Forces Unit and has previously provided assistance to autistic children and Darfur refugees the Sudan. He was named the 2012 Disney Spirit Award winner at ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards Show where he used his allotment of guest tickets to bring two Wounded Warriors to the event. Boyer was also selected as the Armed Forces Merit Award recipient presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He still makes himself available for active duty during the summers and began another tour of duty with his military teammates in May of 2013.

Boyer competed in basketball and baseball in high school as the school did not field a football team. Looking for a new challenge, he decided to try out for a college football program. While in the Middle East, he often watched the Longhorns and subsequently set his sights on playing for Texas.

Without ever playing football, the then 29-year-old walked on at UT. He began his football career as a defensive back, but saw his best path to the field as learning to fill a need at snapper. Boyer worked his way to the team’s primary snapper for place kicks last season and was one of two walk-ons to earn a scholarship. He is affectionately referred to by teammates as "Army" and "America" and proudly carries the American flag onto the field before games.

In 2012, Boyer earned the Distinguished Young American Award from the National Football Foundation and was named a member of the DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium Veterans Committee. He was an Academic All-Big 12 first team selection and a member of the Athletics Director’s Honor Roll with a 4.0 grade point average. Boyer earned a bachelor’s degree in physical culture and sports in May, however missed commencement while on active duty.

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