Ole Miss Athletics reflected on a great year of accomplishments at the 2019 Rebels Choice Awards at The Pavilion on Monday night.
The semi-formal event, hosted by Ole Miss broadcast communications specialist Seth Austin and orchestrated by both the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Enhancement staff and the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), paid homage to the big moments and standout performances from both the end of last season, as well as 2018-19 academic year.
Men’s cross country and women’s golf came away with the Team of the Year awards after the Rebel men won the first SEC title in Ole Miss track and cross country history and the Rebel women earned a berth to the NCAA Golf Championships for the first time in program history.
Julia Johnson of women’s golf also snagged the Women’s Rookie of the Year award after being named the 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year. Baseball’s Tyler Keenan won the Men’s Rookie of the Year after being named a Freshman All-American in 2018.
Coach of the Year was bestowed upon Ole Miss track & field’s Connie Price-Smith after she led the Rebel women to the highest SEC Outdoor finish in program history and the second-highest national finish outdoors last season while also mentoring NCAA Champion Janeah Stewart – the No. 4 hammer thrower in NCAA history. Men’s Coach of the Year was awarded to first-year men’s basketball head coach Kermit Davis after leading the Rebel men to the first NCAA Tournament berth since 2015 after a high-flying season that defied expectations of all the preseason polls.
Most Valuable Rebel was given to football’s A.J. Brown and women’s tennis NCAA champion Arianne Hartono, who also won Game of the Year for her NCAA title-winning performance in 2018, the first individual national title in women’s tennis history. Brown concluded his Rebel career with another dominant season in 2018, during which he became the career leader in receiving yards.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year was given to volleyball’s Caroline Adams and men’s golf’s Beau Briggs, who were also named Ole Miss nominees for the Boyd McWhorter Post-Graduate Scholarship last week.
Baseball’s Thomas Dillard was awarded Play of the Year for his dramatic game-winning home run vs. LSU last season, while Nicole Purcell of volleyball was given the Bennie Abram Award, which honors a student-athlete with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in honor of former non-scholarship athlete, Bennie Abram, who tragically passed away during an offseason workout.
For the sixth year in a row, the Rebel women’s soccer team won the women’s Chancellor’s Cup – which is given to the team with the highest GPA. It was also the third straight win for the men’s tennis team.
It was a similar streak in the Community Engagement award, as the women’s basketball team earned its fourth straight honor, while the Rebel baseball team won for the second consecutive year.
The We Are Ole Miss Award, which recognizes an unsung staff or staff member for their dedication to Ole Miss student-athletes, was awarded to Ole Miss Sports Productions for their hard work on The Season and other labor intensive video projects both in venue and out.
2019 REBELS’ CHOICE AWARDS WINNERS
Women’s Team of the Year: Women’s Golf
Men’s Team of the Year: Men’s Cross Country
Women’s Coach of the Year: Connie Price-Smith, Women’s Outdoor Track
Men’s Coach of the Year: Kermit Davis, Men’s Basketball
Women’s Most Valuable Rebel: Arianne Hartono, Women’s Tennis
Men’s Most Valuable Rebel: A.J. Brown, Football
Women’s Rookie of the Year: Julia Johnson, Women’s Golf
Men’s Rookie of the Year: Tyler Keenan, Baseball
Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Caroline Adams, Volleyball
Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Beau Briggs, Men’s Golf
*Must have GPA of 3.5 or higher
Game of the Year: Women’s Tennis Arianne Hartono’s NCAA title win
Play of the Year: Thomas Dillard’s game-winning HR vs. LSU
Bennie Abram Award: Nicole Purcell, Volleyball
*Given annually to a student-athlete with a GPA above 3.0 in honor of former non-scholarship football player, Bennie Abram
Chancellor’s Cup: Women’s Soccer (sixth straight), Men’s Tennis (third straight)
*Highest team GPA
Community Engagement: Women’s Basketball (fourth straight), Baseball (second straight)
We Are Ole Miss Award: Ole Miss Sports Productions
*Recognizes an unsung staff or staff member for their dedication to Ole Miss student-athletes
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