Sept. 14, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Former UAB women's soccer player Danielle Blair has been named as a finalist for one of the most prestigious individual awards the NCAA presents annually to a female student-athlete.
The NCAA selected Blair as one of nine outstanding finalists for the 2011 Woman of the Year award, which will be presented Oct. 16 in Indianapolis. Blair is one of three finalists from Division I schools with three each also chosen from Division II and III, respectively.
When Blair was named last month to the Top 30 list for the Woman of the Year award, she became the first UAB student-athlete in school history to be selected.
The NCAA's Woman of the Year Award, now in its 21st year, honors female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academic achievement, athletic excellence, community service and leadership.
Every NCAA member institution is encouraged to honor its top graduating female student-athlete by submitting her name for consideration. Each conference assesses the eligibility of its members' nominees and selects at least one student-athlete to represent the conference.
One of the most decorated players in Blazer history, Blair received numerous awards in her four-year career in the Green and Gold. The Toronto, Ontario native was a three-time ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America selection, twice was named to the Conference USA All-Academic team and earned the league's Academic Medal all four years.
In addition, Blair was named the C-USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's soccer for the 2009-10 academic year.
Blair, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, maintained a 3.98 GPA as a triple major in marketing, management and industrial distribution with a minor in sales. Because of her efforts she received the C-USA Postgraduate Scholarship. Dedicated to community service, Blair also received the C-USA Spirit of Service Award in December 2009.
Blair not only excelled in the classroom and community, but also on the field. The defender started all 21 matches as a senior in 2009, helped UAB to a school-record 8-0 start and played a key role in producing seven shutouts on the season. She started a total of 66 matches during her Blazer career.
"Danielle epitomizes everything that a student-athlete aspires to achieve and is very deserving to be chosen one of the nine finalists for this prestigious award," UAB Athletics Director Brian Mackin said.
Following her career at UAB, Blair played for the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Princesses Women's National Team, for which she competed in the Women's World Cup Qualifying rounds.
She currently works as a Product Supply Services Leadership Associate at Coca-Cola Refreshments.
To be eligible for the award, a female student-athlete must have completed eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2011 spring season, graduated no later than the end of the summer 2011 term and achieved a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics selects the national winner from the nine finalists.
Last year's NCAA Woman of the Year was Justine Schluntz, a 2010 Rhodes Scholar, swimmer and mechanical engineering major, from the University of Arizona.
Here is the list of the nine finalists for the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year:
Danielle Blair, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Soccer, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Annie Chandler, University of Arizona, Swimming, San Antonio, Texas
Grace Johnson, University of Georgia, Gymnastics, Aiken, S.C.
Victoria Hansen, West Liberty University, Basketball, McKean, Pa.
Hewenfei Elwen Li, Brigham Young University, Hawai'i, Tennis, Cengdu, Sichuan P.R. China
Kelsey Ward, Drury University, Swimming, St. Charles, Mo.
Laura Barito, Stevens Institute of Technology, Swimming/Track and Cross Country, Arkadelphia, Ark.
Michaela Calnan, Bowdoin College, Field Hockey and Ice Hockey, Melrose, Mass.
Hayley Emerick, Trinity University (Texas), Diving, Portland, Texas