Aug. 14, 2002
Already a winner on the track and in the classroom,
South Carolina’s Otukile ‘OT’ Lekote received one of the highest awards a
collegiate athlete can receive today when he was named the 2002 Men’s
National Scholar-Athlete of the Year for NCAA Division I by the United
States Track Coaches Association. Heather Sagan of Liberty University won
the award on the women’s side.
“This is a fantastic award! It’s a combination of excellence when you can
win the NCAA team title on the women’s side, finish sixth on the men’s side,
win the indoor and outdoor national women’s athletes of the years and
collect over 30 All-Americans in one season,” said USC Head Coach Curtis
Frye, who was named National Coach of the Year. “But one of the highest
awards you can receive is to be named the national Scholar-Athlete of the
Year. OT proves you can be both a four-time NCAA champion and the
Student-Athlete of the Year in the NCAA. I hope that’s what our program
stands for – excellence in the classroom and on the track. Our entire team
and coaching staff takes our hat off in salute of OT’s accomplishments this
Lekote, a native of Botswana who has a cumulative GPA of 3.50 and had a
perfect 4.00 in his biology major this past spring, won the 800-meter run at
both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor championships in 2002. In addition to his
two NCAA individual titles, Lekote ran the second leg of USC’s winning
4x400m relay. He also won both the SEC indoor and outdoor 800m titles,
setting the SEC record outdoors. Lekote ran the second leg of the
Gamecocks’ SEC champion 4x400m relay as well.
The seven-time All-American finished fourth in the 800m this summer in the
Commonwealth Games. Lekote is planning a career in medicine or dentistry.
Sagan, a native of Warrenton, Va., graduated from Liberty this past spring
with a 3.877 cumulative GPA in “Teaching English as a second language.” She
won the NCAA indoor mile championship and finished second in the 1500-meter
run at the outdoor championships this past spring.
The announcement was made by Ralph Lindeman, track coach at the U.S. Air
Force Academy and president of the Division I coaches’ group, following
nominations by coaches of all athletes who had grade-point averages of 3.10