Rodgers, Silva named GAC Athletes of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY - Henderson State sophomore football player Kevin Rodgers and Arkansas Tech senior basketball player Rosie Silva claimed the 2012-13 Great American Conference Athletes of the Year, announced Monday at the second annual GAC Night of Champions from the Bricktown Event Center.

The league's sports information directors voted on the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards; they were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.

In his first full season as the Reddies' starting quarterback, Rodgers led Henderson State to its first unbeaten and untied regular season in school history. He opened the season by winning the GAC's Offensive Player of the Week award in each of the first three weeks. In total, he won six GAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

His week two performance against McKendree - 442 passing yards and seven touchdowns - resulted in Rodgers earning National Player of the Week honors from, and the Beyond College Sports Network. He picked up a second National Player of the Week award from Beyond College Sports Network after he threw for 466 yards and five touchdowns at Harding in a clash featuring two national ranked teams. Rodgers unanimously captured the 2012 GAC Offensive Player of the Year award. He threw for 4,002 yards and 41 touchdowns. He ranked second in the country in passing efficiency, third in passing yards and fourth in passing touchdowns. The Reddies became the first school since Abilene Christian, in 2008, to average more than 50.0 points per game. In addition to All-American and All-Region selections, Rodgers became the GAC's first finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy - the award given out to NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. He became just the fourth sophomore since 2006 named as a finalist. Other nominees for the 2012-13 GAC Male Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas-Monticello senior Kori Forge (basketball), Arkansas Tech senior Cesar Abreu (baseball), East Central junior Cale Eidson (cross country), Harding senior Zach Roddenberry (basketball), Northwestern Oklahoma State Jonathan Freemyer (baseball/basketball) Ouachita Baptist junior Davis Ward (baseball), Southeastern Oklahoma State senior Chris Roussell (basketball), Southern Arkansas junior James Baune (baseball), Southern Nazarene senior Michael Hearne (golf) and Southwestern Oklahoma State senior Shane Martin (baseball). Former Arkansas Tech basketball player Johnnie Davis won the inaugural GAC Male Athlete of the Year.

Through the first two years of the Great American Conference, no woman's basketball has scored most points, dished out more assists or accumulated more steals than Arkansas Tech's Rosie Silva. She led the Golden Suns to GAC regular-season and tournament titles as she won both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. She garnered the Defensive Player of the Year honor for a second straight year. She lived up to the hype of the preseason All-America status she earned following a junior campaign where Silva averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists and a Division II-leading 4.8 steals per game. Following the 2011-12 season, she earned First Team All-GAC and Second Team All-South Central Region honors. This year, she averaged 15.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 5.1 steals. She finished second in the nation in steals per game. She earned a Second Team All-Region honor and became the 28th player in Golden Suns history to receive an All-America honor, a Third-Team selection from Women's Division II Bulletin. She owns both the GAC and the Arkansas Tech single-game, single-season and career records for steals. Her 280 thefts over the past two years are 37 more than combined totals of the next three most prolific stealers in the GAC.

Other nominees for the 2012-13 GAC Female Athlete of the Year award included Arkansas-Monticello senior Maggie Sands (softball), East Central senior Shelby Simmons (softball), Harding junior Mollie Arnold (volleyball), Henderson State junior Kendall Earp (golf), Northwestern Oklahoma State senior Taylor Marsh (soccer) Ouachita Baptist senior Monica Williams (basketball), Southeastern Oklahoma State sophomore Jacee Bennett (softball), Southern Arkansas sophomore Hanna Gill (softball), Southern Nazarene Oumoul Thiam (basketball) and Southwestern Oklahoma State senior Josie Price (soccer. Former Arkansas-Monticello softball player Kayla Jackson won the inaugural GAC Female Athlete of the Year.