Tennessee senior catcher/first baseman Tiffany Huff has been selected as one of 30 Division I candidates for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Softball Award. The trophy will be presented to a D-I softball athlete that excels on as well as off the field of play. The Saugus, Calif., native joins former Lady Vols Lindsay Schutzler (2007), Megan Rhodes (2008) and Lillian Hammond (2009) as past nominees for the national honor. Each of the previous UT trio survived the midseason cut to 10 finalists.
A member of the 2010 Watch List for the prestigious USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, Huff enters her final campaign in the Orange & White fresh off a year in which she set single-season career highs for batting average (.399 on 63-of-158), runs scored (48), hits (63), home runs (eight), RBIs (67), total bases (102), slugging (.646) and on-base percentage (.522) and stolen bases (11), while adding 13 doubles, a triple and 43 walks. Her 67 total RBIs rated her fourth in the SEC and a 1.14 RBI-per-game average placed her fifth in NCAA Division I in that category.
A 2009 second-team Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, NFCA All-Southeast Region and second-team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, Huff started all 59 games for the Big Orange at either first base or behind the plate. She tallied 14 multi-hit and 14 multi-RBI games and recorded a career-long 17-game hitting streak from Feb. 20 through March 21, during which she .556 with four HRs and 27 RBIs.
Among her stellar individual performances in 2009 were a 3-for-4, career-high six-RBI effort with a double and a home run in a rout of San Jose State and a perfect 4-for-4 performance with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs against Boston College. Huff currently resides in the top eight in Lady Vol history in career doubles (42), home runs (17), RBIs (175), on-base (.536) and slugging percentage (.460).
Lowe’s presented the inaugural softball award at the conclusion of the 2007 season with Arizona’s Caitlin Lowe receiving the honor. Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher and Florida’s Stacey Nelson took home the 2008 and 2009 awards, respectively. Candidates for the 2010 honor were selected based on personal qualities that define a complete student athlete through extensive nominations submitted by their sports information contacts.
While the on-the-field performance during their collegiate softball careers is a factor in determining candidates and the eventual winner, personal character and off-the-field achievements in the classroom and community are major areas of focus. CLASS is an acronym representing “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.” The award, presented to NCAA Division I student-athletes each year, focuses on the “Four C’s” of classroom, character, community and competition.
The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. The ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans. The award winner will be announced and recognized in June at the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The award was launched during the 2001-2002 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, expanded the award program in 2007 to include six additional NCAA Division I sports — men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball. It was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as honorary chairman.
The Senior CLASS honor was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke star Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season, led the Blue Devils to the national championship in 2001 and earned his college degree.