Starr, Thomas Earn Big Ten Medal of Honor
June 9, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Seniors Austin Starr (football) and Whitney Thomas (women's basketball) were recently given the Big Ten's oldest award, the Medal of Honor. First awarded in 1914, the Big Ten endowed a Medal of Honor to be given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. Each institution receives just one male and one female recipient each school year.
Starr, a 6-3, 198-pound kicker from Logansport, Ind., graduated with a bachelor of science in biology in December 2008. He received the team's Ted Whereatt "Senior Excellence" Award, given to the senior who has excelled academically, and the inaugural Harold Mauro Award, given to the IU football player that best exemplifies valued qualities demonstrated by Harold Mauro to Indiana University and the Bloomington community, following the 2008 season.
Starr became just the fifth kicker in school history to break the 40-field goal mark in a career. He finished fourth on the school's career field goal list with 43; fourth on the career extra points list with 103 and sixth on the career points list with 232.
"This is a great and well-deserved honor for Austin," said Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch. "He exemplifies the true definition of a student-athlete and is a great representative of Indiana University."
Thomas, a 6-0 forward from Bloomington, Ind., ended her career at Indiana as one of the best players in program history. After starting 130 of her 131 career games played, Thomas totaled 1,240 points, 1,090 rebounds, 258 assists, 237 steals and 73 blocked shots. She became the second player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds and is the only player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points and rebounds, and 200 steals. Thomas is ranked second all-time in career rebounds and steals, and eighth in blocked shots. Her 288 rebounds during her senior campaign ranks third in the single-season record book and her 19 rebounds at Cincinnati on Dec. 20, 2007, ranks ninth in Indiana single-game history.
She finished her career with 32 double-doubles, ranking fourth in the IU record book, and earned back-to-back Second Team All-Big Ten honors her junior and senior seasons. Thomas was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She is just the second player in IU women's basketball history (Ann Mooney, 1989) to receive the Big Ten Medal of Honor award. Thomas graduated in the May 2009 with a degree in exercise science.
"Whitney Thomas is a person that you dream to be apart of your program," said Indiana head women's basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "She's a character kid that stands strong for her academics, and became one of the most successful basketball players in the history of our program. She did it the old fashion way - she worked hard. I could not be more proud of this young lady, who has given everything to this university - blood, sweat and tears, and on top of that, an amazing situation with the Medal of Honor. The Big Ten recognizes that we have a precious jewel here in our athletics department and we are so proud of Whitney Thomas."
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