Coinciding with National Student-Athlete Day in April, the Southeastern Conference announced their annual H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar Athletes of the Year. The awards were formally presented at the SEC Awards Dinner on May 31 during SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida. Senior pitcher Michael Roth became just the fourth South Carolina student-athlete in school history to win the award, and the second-ever Gamecock baseball player honored (Trey Dyson, 2002). The award has been presented by the SEC since 1986 to the league's top male and female scholar-athletes and is considered one of the most prestigious honors given by the conference.
Dr. Harris Pastides, Patricia Moore Pastides, Deborah Roth and Michael Roth at the SEC Awards Dinner
Each year, all member schools nominate one male and one female student-athlete as finalists. Roth and Katie Burnett (women's golf) represented the Gamecocks this year, with Roth going on to win the overall award for male student-athletes. Georgia swimmer Wendy Trott won the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year honor. Roth & Trott will each receive a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by the SEC in conjunction with AT&T and the AllState Sugar Bowl. The other remaining finalists, including Burnett, will receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship.
With the then-unknown NCAA Regional schedule, Roth almost missed the chance to accept his award in person and even filmed an acceptance speech to be aired in case of his absence. Fortunately, plans came together at the last minute for him to fly to Destin for the Thursday awards dinner and return to Columbia in time for Regional play to start Friday.
Watch video of Roth's acceptance speech in Destin, introduced by Dr. Pastides, here (please excuse the sound of plates, it was dinner after all!):
The McWhorter Award is just one of the many accolades Roth has earned as a Gamecock. Check out some of Roth's other most impressive accomplishments:
- Two-time First Team Capital One Academic All-American (2011, 2012), just the third Gamecock baseball player ever to earn the honor twice
- Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidate (vote daily here!)
- 2012 President's Award winner, the highest honor given to a University of South Carolina student-athlete
- 2012 SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- 2012 SEC All-Defensive Team
- Graduated in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in international business and marketing
- 2011 consensus First Team All-American
- 2011 NCAA Elite 88 Award recipient, highest grade point average of all student-athletes competing at College World Series
- 2011 and 2012 Semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball to the top amateur player in the country.
- 2011 National Player of the Year by CollegeBaseballInsider.com
- 2011 First Team All-SEC
- In 2011, as a starting pitcher, finished with 14-3 record with a 1.06 earned run average
- Two-time Team Captain
- SEC Academic Honor Roll, Carolina's Dean's List and President's List
In addition to his athletic and academic achievements, Roth's community involvement also factored into winning the honor. Roth has visited children at various elementary schools and hospitals and took part in the "Light the Night" Walk, helping to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is also a member of Carolina's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
He has also used his academic interests in the business community. He created and executed a marketing plan to maximize textbook buybacks for Better World Books and consulted with Avwatch, a system integration company, helping it create an international market entry strategy, leading it into new markets in Canada, Chile and the United States. He spent most of summer 2011 in Alicante, Spain, for a study abroad trip, leaving the US almost immediately after the Gamecocks won their second consecutive National Championship in Omaha.
So far in the 2012 season, Roth holds a 6-1 record and a 2.68 ERA with over 107 innings pitched. He will lead the Gamecocks into the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament this weekend with the hopes of another return to Omaha for the College World Series.