Feb. 1, 2001
HOUSTON, Texas - Santa Clara University sophomore Jack Headley has been named to the preliminary watch list of Division 1 college baseball players who are under consideration to become the winner of the 14th annual Rotary Smith Award.
Headley (Gilroy, Calif.) was the team leader in batting last season and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and third-team freshman All-America. He has moved to centerfield this season and is mentioned as a top candidate for WCC Player of the Year honors during the preseason. Headley was named the Cape Cod League Championship MVP last summer.
The 2001 Rotary Smith committee released a preliminary watch list of over 160 Division 1 college baseball players who are under consideration to become the winner of the 14th annual Rotary Smith Award, which will be handed out in Houston, TX on June 28. The preliminary watch list was compiled after submissions by the sports information personnel at all of the Division 1 baseball schools in the country. Additional nominations will be added to the list until the first round of voting begins in May.
2000 winner Kip Bouknight is back for his senior season at South Carolina and will make a bid to become the first two-time winner of the Rotary Smith Award. Not only has no indivdual player won more than one Smith Award, the honor has gone to 13 different schools in its 13-year history. This will mark the third time a Smith winner has returned to college after capturing the award. Mike Kelly of Arizona State won as a sophomore in 1990 but was not a finalist in 1991. Mark Kotsay of Cal State Fullerton won as a sophomore in 1995 and was a finalist for the award the following year, which was captured by Kris Benson of Clemson.
Voting to determine the list of 12 semifinalists will begin near the end of April and the list will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season. Three finalists will be announced prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional Action, the week of June 1-3.
Now in its 14th year, the Rotary Smith Award is awarded each summer to the nation's top college baseball player. Once again this year, the gala Award Dinner will be held at the Doubletree-Post Oak Hotel in Houston. The Award, a national project of the Rotary Club of Houston, raises money for Rotary national charities, Texas Children's Hospital and the Karl Young League. Seven previous winners of the were active in major league baseball during the 2000 campaign 1988 winner Andy Benes of Evansville (St. Louis Cardinals), 1991 winner Bobby Jones of Fresno State (New York Mets), 1993 winner Darren Dreifort of Wichita State (Los Angeles Dodgers), 1994 winner Jason Varitek of Georgia Tech (Boston Red Sox), 1995 winner Mark Kotsay of Cal.-State Fullerton (Florida Marlins), 1996 winner Kris Benson of Clemson (Pittsburgh) and 1997 winner Tim Hudson of Auburn (Oakland Athletics).