Don Czyz Named NCBWA Stopper of the Year

June 8, 2006

DALLAS (NCBWA) – University of Kansas closer Don Czyz has been named the 2006 winner of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Thursday. The award honors the top relief pitcher in college baseball.

“I’d like to say congratulation to Don Czyz on phenomenal year,” head coach Ritch Price said. “In my 28 years of coaching, that is the most dominate performance by a single player and nobody in America deserved to win this award more than him.”

Czyz helped guide the Jayhawks (43-25) to their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1993, as well as their first ever Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship. The righty from Overland Park, Kansas was selected in the 7th round by the Florida Marlins earlier this week in the Major League Baseball draft.

Czyz leads the NCAA with 19 saves and finished the 2006 season with a 6-0 record and a 1.56 ERA while striking out 60 batters in 63.1 innings. Czyz is the highest Jayhawk taken in the draft since Brandon O’Neal was selected by the Anaheim Angels in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.

Czyz has also been named a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American, All-Big 12 First Team and to the 2006 College Baseball Foundation All-America Team.

Czyz holds the Big 12 record for appearances (128) while his 19 saves this season set a new KU record and was one shy of tying the Big 12 single season mark.

Czyz beat out the other four finalists for the award, which included Josh Fields from Georgia, Kevin Gunderson from Oregon State, Vinnie Pestano from Cal State Fullerton and Cole St. Clair from Rice.

This was the second annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award. The NCBWA, founded in 1962, also presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation’s top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.

Records held by Czyz include:
Big 12 Career Appearances: 128
Kansas Career Saves: 30
Kansas Single Season Saves: 19 (2006)
Kansas Career Appearances: 128
Kansas Single Season Appearances: 37 (2006)