Matt Howard, Michele Nash Tabbed Butler’s Top Athletes

Matt Howard, Michele Nash Tabbed Butler’s Top Athletes

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Matt Howard, who ended his collegiate career in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball championship game, and Michele Nash, who helped the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship berth, have been named recipients of Butler’s Most Outstanding Athlete Award for 2010-11.  The two were among four student-athletes recognized by the Butler athletic department with year-ending awards.

Howard, named Butler’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete, was the leading scorer and rebounder for Butler’s 2010-11 men’s basketball team, which won Horizon League regular season and tournament championships, captured the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional title and advanced to the Division I national championship game.  The 6-8 forward from Connersville, Ind., averaged 16.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per contest, while shooting .471 (188-399) from the field, .398 (53-133) from the three-point arc and .792 (179-226) from the free throw line.

A four-time All-Horizon League pick, Howard was named the 2011 Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year, and he was selected to the 2011 Lou Henson All-America Team.  He was named Most Valuable Player of the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship for the second consecutive year, and he was picked to the League’s All-Tournament Team for a record fourth straight year.  He also won the Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award (given to the collegiate player who best exhibits the traits of tenacity and unselfishness), was named the Most Valuable Player at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii, was chosen to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team for the second time in three years, and was selected to the All-Tournament Teams at the Southeast Regional and at the 2011 NCAA Final Four.

Off the court, Howard was named to the Academic All-America Team for the third consecutive years and was chosen as the 2010-11 Men’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year.  He received the NCAA Elite 88 Award, given to the competing athlete with the highest grade point average at each of the NCAA’s 88 championships, for the second consecutive year, and he was awarded the Horizon League’s Coleman Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities.

Howard, who helped lead Butler to 117 victories, four Horizon League regular season championships, three Horizon League Tournament titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, finished his career as Butler’s third all-time leading scorer (1,939 points) and rebounder (884 rebounds), while setting a school record for career free throws made (669).  He became the first player in Butler basketball history to have both 1,500 career points and 800 career rebounds.

Nash, selected as Butler’s Most Outstanding Female Athlete, helped lead the Bulldogs to the team title at the 2011 Horizon League Women’s Golf Championship and Butler’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship.  She was the individual medalist at the Horizon League tournament with a 54-hole score of (+14) 233, and she led the Bulldogs in scoring at the NCAA Central Region with rounds of 72, 80 and 78.  The junior standout was named the 2010-11 Horizon League Women’s Golf Player of the Year, becoming just the third player in Butler history to earn that honor.

A former Cathedral High School golfer who hails from Indianapolis, Nash led the Bulldogs in scoring with a school-record 77.0 average.  She shot a team season-best 71 in the first round of the Chicago State Cougar Classic and in the second round of the Horizon League Championship.  The Butler junior was named first team All-Horizon League and was chosen to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team.

In addition to the Most Outstanding Athlete awards, Butler recognized a pair of first-year athletes with the Frank “Pop” Hedden Award, which honors the outstanding male and female freshman student-athletes.  Men’s cross country runner Ross Clarke was tabbed as the male recipient of the Pop Hedden Award, while women’s soccer player Jackie Hafele was named the female recipient.

Clarke was selected as the 2010 Horizon League Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year, after helping Butler to a 13th consecutive league title.  He placed runner-up at the 2010 Horizon League Men’s Cross Country Championship and then topped the Bulldogs with an 18th place finish at the 2010 NCAA Great Lakes Region Meet.  The first-year runner from Essex, England, was named first team All-Horizon League and was selected as the 2010 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year.

Hafele, a midfielder from Prospect, Ky., led the team in assists and finished as the second-leading scorer, while helping the Bulldogs to the 2010 Horizon League regular season co-championship.  She was selected as the 2010 Horizon League Women’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year, and she was the lone freshman named first team All-Horizon League.  A member of the Horizon League All-Newcomer squad, Hafele was tabbed Butler’s Most Valuable Player.