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Hannah Rogers is the seventh Gator to be named SEC Athlete of the Year.

Tuesday July 1, 2014Florida Softball Pitcher Hannah Rogers is 2014 Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year

Hannah Rogers is the seventh Gator to be named SEC Athlete of the Year.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Hannah Rogers cemented a place in University of Florida sports history last month with her dominant pitching performance in leading the Gators to their first Women’s College World Series championship. 

That legacy turned legendary Tuesday. 

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Florida’s SEC Athletes of the Year

Year

Name

Sport

2014

Hannah Rogers

Softball

2009

Tim Tebow

Football

2008

Tim Tebow

Football

2005

Ryan Lochte

Swimming

1997

Danny Wuerffel

Football

1996

Danny Wuerffel

Football

1994

Nicole Haislett

Swimming

1993

Nicole Haislett

Swimming

1988

Dara Torres

Swimming

1984

Tracy Caulkins

Swimming

 

 

 

Rogers, who mowed down batter after batter en route to a near-flawless postseason, was named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year, becoming only the seventh Gator -- either gender -- to be so honored. Kentucky baseball standout A.J. Reed, a pitcher and first baseman, took the award on the male side.

And to think, when Rogers answered a phone call Monday afternoon from UF coach Tim Walton, she thought she was getting an update about a postseason commitment. 

Something about a trip to the ESPY’s. 

Such is life now for UF softball’s overnight celebrity. Think about this: Rogers now sits alongside Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel, Ryan Lochte, Nicole Haislett, Dara Torres and Tracy Caulkins -- that’s two Heisman Trophy winners and four swimmers with a combined 15 Olympic gold medals -- as Florida’s SEC athletes of the year. 

“It’s weird, but it’s also crazy at the same time because I don’t think of myself like that,” Rogers said. “I mean, I’m just this regular person, but people now come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you’re Hannah Rogers.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah ... Hi!’”

Click here for GatorZoneTV Feature on Hannah Rogers

She laughed. 

“It’s cool, it’s fun, but like I said, it’s just weird.” 

That’s because Rogers has never been about Rogers. In fact, Walton called the senior from Lake Wales, Fla., and lone four-time All-American in Florida softball history the “most unselfish player” he’d ever coached. 

“You don’t get an opportunity to coach a human being like Hannah Rogers very often,” Walton said. “To me, this puts an exclamation point on a brilliant career. This is a player who flew almost completely under the national radar for three-plus years, then jumped on the biggest stage in our game for the home stretch of her career and went out with not only one of the best performances in Gator history, but in SEC history, as well.” 

Rogers was good, very good, during her senior year, finishing with a 30-8 record. 

But she was positively lethal in the postseason and, ultimately, at the WCWS in Oklahoma City. 

In eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Rogers went 7-0 with a 0.64 ERA and got the save in Florida’s 6-3 national-championship clinching defeat of Alabama. In the WCWS, Rogers went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and was named the event’s Most Outstanding Player. 

As memorable as Rogers’ run in the circle turned out to be, Walton will never forget her reaction when informed she would not start in Game 2 of the WCWS series; this to a player with 127 career victories, the most of any active college player last season, and in the middle of a lights-out three-week run.  

“She was like, ‘I trust you, Coach,’ and she was good,” Walton said. “It was the same thing during the season when she didn’t [start] every Friday night for the first time in two-plus years. She didn’t complain. She trusted me and trusted our coaches and trusted the process. Yeah, maybe she could have had 40 wins this season, but when we got to the postseason she was fresh and clearly ready when we needed her at the end.” 

No Gator trained harder -- Rogers showed up on her off days for some extra work -- or was more respected by the teammates she never failed to credit as she mowed down batter after batter, team after team, all the way to OKC. 

“It means so much to me because of what we accomplished as a team,” Rogers said of the SEC honor, now in its 31st year of being awarded to women. “I would not have gotten this award without the support of my teammates and coaches. It makes me proud to have done this for the University of Florida, but also for the game of softball. Though the game is getting bigger and bigger, it probably doesn’t get the recognition it should, so this is something I can take pride in -- not just for me, but for softball.” 

Rogers is home for the summer, but will return to school for an internship and graduation in the fall. 

But there could also be that ESPY trip to the West Coast -- and a fancy walk down the red carpet -- in her near future. 

That’s a long way from her days pitching with her dad and sister back in Lake Wales.

“Our family used to watch the College World Series and then when I got to Florida we’d watch teams celebrate,” Rogers said. “We were always like, ‘Dang, what must that feel like?’ You just knew it had to be the best feeling ever.”

Now she knows just how good. 

And the fallout perks aren’t bad, either.  

Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year Recipients

Year

Male

Female

2014

A.J. Reed, Kentucky (baseball)

Hannah Rogers, Florida (softball)

2013

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (football)

Allison Schmitt, Georgia (swimming)

2012

Anthony Davis, Kentucky (basketball)

Brooke Pancake, Alabama (golf)

2011

John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee (tennis)

Kayla Hoffman, Alabama (gymnastics)

2010

Mark Ingram, Alabama (football)

Susan Jackson, LSU (gymnastics)

2009

Tim Tebow, Florida (football)

Courtney Kupets, Georgia (gymnastics)

2008

Tim Tebow, Florida (football)

Candace Parker, Tennessee (basketball)

2007

David Price, Vanderbilt (baseball)

Monica Abbott, Tennessee (softball)

2006

Xavier Carter, LSU (track & field)

Seimone Augustus, LSU (basketball)

2005

Ryan Lochte, Florida (swimming)

Kirsty Coventry, Auburn (swimming)

2004

Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross country/track)

Jeana Rice, Alabama (gymnastics)

2003

Alistair Cragg, Arkansas (cross country/track)

LaToya Thomas, Mississippi State (basketball)

2002

Walter Lewis, LSU (track & field)

Andree' Pickens, Alabama (gymnastics)

2001

Matias Boeker, Georgia (tennis)

Amy Yoder Begley, Arkansas (cross country/track)

2000

Kip Bouknight , South Carolina (baseball)

Kristy Kowal, Georgia (swimming)

1999

Tim Couch, Kentucky (football)

Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (basketball)

1998

Peyton Manning, Tennessee (football)

Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee (basketball)

1997

Danny Wuerffel, Florida (football)

Trinity Johnson, South Carolina (softball)

1996

Danny Wuerffel, Florida (football)

Saudia Roundtree, Georgia (basketball)

1995

Todd Helton, Tennessee (baseball)

Jenny Hansen, Kentucky (gymnastics)

1994

Corliss Williamson, Arkansas (basketball)

Nicole Haislett, Florida (swimming)

1993

Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky (basketball)

Nicole Haislett, Florida (swimming)

1992

Shaquille O'Neal, LSU (basketball)

Vicki Goetze, Georgia (golf)

1991

Shaquille O'Neal, LSU (basketball)

Daedra Charles, Tennessee (basketball)

1990

Alec Kessler, Georgia (basketball)

Dee Foster, Alabama (gymnastics)

1989

Derrick Thomas, Alabama (football)

Bridgette Gordon, Tennessee (basketball)

1988

Will Perdue, Vanderbilt (basketball)

Dara Torres, Florida (swimming)

1987

Cornelius Bennett, Alabama (football)

Lillie Leatherwood King, Alabama (track & field)

1986

Bo Jackson, Auburn (football)

Jennifer Gillom, Ole Miss (basketball)

1985

Will Clark, Mississippi State (baseball)

Penney Hauschild, Alabama (gymnastics)

1984

Terry Hoage, Georgia (football)

Tracy Caulkins, Florida (swimming)

1983

Herschel Walker, Georgia (football/track and field)

 

1982

Buck Belue, Georgia (football/baseball)

 

1981

Rowdy Gaines, Auburn (swimming)

 

1980

Kyle Macy, Kentucky (basketball)

 

1979

Reggie King, Alabama (basketball)

 

1978

Jack Givens, Kentucky (basketball)

 

1977

Larry Seivers, Tennessee (football)

 

1976

Harvey Glance, Auburn (track & field)

 

 

 

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