Martincich Receives Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year Award

Dec. 6, 2008


Kansas volleyball’s Katie Martincich, who was named the 2007-08 Female Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, received her award at a special luncheon Friday in Kansas City. Also recieving an award at the banquet was Baylor’s Mamadou Diene, the 2007-08 Male Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year. Martincich was a junior on the 2007 Jayhawk volleyball squad, while Diene completed his junior year on the Bears’ basketball team.

The Sportspersons of the Year Award was started in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service during the academic year. Martincich and Diene were selected by a media panel. The Big 12’s recipients are nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.

Martincich becomes the second KU student-athlete in as many years to receive the honor. The Jayhawks’ setter has been involved in KU student-athletes’ community outreach projects in her three years on campus including Habitat for Humanity, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and National Girls and Women in Sports Field Day celebration. She also assisted with providing and wrapping gifts for underprivileged children at Christmas.

“I’m honored to be selected and proud to represent Kansas as a Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year,” Martincich said. “This year, Jayhawk student-athletes completed the most community service in Kansas Athletics history. One of the biggest highlights was our inaugural bowling event with Special Olympics. We’re excited to build on our momentum and look forward to an outstanding year next year.”

The Shawnee, Kan., native was elected by her peers to be a member of the Jayhawk Executive Board. After learning of the Big 12’s initiative to grow its relationship with Special Olympics, Martincich organized a meeting with fellow student-athletes and Chris Hahn, the CEO of Special Olympics Kansas. This resulted in the inaugural Jayhawk SAAC sponsored Special Olympics Bowling Challenge, held on May 4 in Lawrence. Martincich met with the owners of a local bowling alley and convinced them to donate use of the entire facility and game room for the event. More than 100 Special Olympians and 100 KU student-athletes participated.

Since his arrival from the Senegal, Mamadou has been active in the Baylor community participating in service projects such as the Waco Independent School District’s Raise Your Game, South Bosque Elementary School and the Hillcrest Professional School Health Fair. He is a member of BU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council, has been selected as the 2008 Wilma Rudolph Award winner and participated in the 2006 NCAA Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla.

To help minimize his expenses, the 7-0 center does not own a car or cell phone so that he can send money back to the Senegal to help support his family. Both of his parents died prior to his 14th birthday, leaving his older sisters to raise him. He is the first member of his family to attend a university and is on track to graduate in August, just 3.5 years after arriving at Baylor.



2001 Kim Woodlee, Kansas State; basketball

2002 Natalie Ritchie, Texas Tech; basketball

2003 Laura Pilakowski, Nebraska; volleyball

2004 Jessika Stratton, Baylor; basketball

2005 Richelle Simpson, Nebraska; gymnastics

2006 Jodie Heinicka, Missouri; gymnastics

2007 Amanda Costner, Kansas; golf

2008 Katie Martincich, Kansas; volleyball


2001 Dan Alexander, Nebraska; football

2002 Cael Sanderson, Iowa State; wrestling

2003 Jeff Leise, Nebraska; baseball

2004 Mark Clayton and Lynn McGruder, Oklahoma; football

2005 Ahmard Hall, Texas; football

2006 Parker Dalton, Texas A&M; baseball

2007 Carl Pendleton, Oklahoma; football

2008 Mamadou Diene, Baylor, basketball