OVERLAND PARK, Kan. --(School Release) Tennessee All-American shortstop Madison Shipman has been selected as the 2014 Senior CLASS Award® winner in softball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Shipman is the first Tennessee student-athlete in any sport to win the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. The Tennessee softball team had five previous finalists for the award -- Lindsay Schutzler in 2007, Megan Rhodes in 2008, Lillian Hammond in 2009,Tiffany Huff in 2010 and Raven Chavanne in 2013.
"Tennessee has not only prepared me for my future career as a professional softball player and coach but has taught me the importance of community," Shipman said. "The Tennessee softball program provided me with the opportunity to work with different charity organizations and helped me gain a true understanding of what `giving back' means. It doesn't have to mean simply monetary contributions. Your time, respect, dedication and caring spirit are all ways to give back. My journey these last four years have been full of life experiences and I wouldn't be the same person that I am today without all of the charity events that the Tennessee program participated in."
"As for my professional career, I have learned a lot from my coaches. From leadership skills to my maturity on the softball field, I owe my progression to Ralph and Karen Weekly and Marty McDaniel. They provided me the opportunity flourish as a leader on and off the field and the ability improve my skills as a softball player. In the classroom, I developed life skills and knowledge that will prepare me for my future. Being a Lady Volunteer at the University of Tennessee has been a wonderful experience for me and I will cherish my four years in orange the rest of my life. Go Big Orange. #VFL"
Shipman has 3.52 GPA and will graduate with a degree in anthropology. The four-time Dean's List student has been active in the Knoxville community. She and her teammates enjoy fun activities with Averi Ramsey, a young cancer patient the Lady Vols adopted as a teammate. Shipman is active in several community efforts that involve children such as helping with Halloween festivities and promoting exercise for local kids. She has also assisted the athletics department by distributing season tickets to fans door-to-door.
"This is a tremendous achievement for one of the most outstanding players Karen and I have ever coached," Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Madison is a leader on the field. She is a leader in the classroom. She is a leader in the community. She is a person that everybody respects and that people want to emulate."
Shipman was selected as the 2014 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, was named an NFCA All-American for the third-straight year, earned Capital One Academic All-America honors for a second-straight year and was one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. She led the Lady Vols to the 2014 NCAA Super Regionals and enjoyed her best season as a senior. She finished the season with a team-high .417 batting average, 18 homers, 16 doubles, 54 RBIs, 56 runs, 46 walks and 13 stolen bases. She also led the team with a .833 slugging percentage and a .548 on-base percentage. Shipman tied Tennessee's single-season record with a 20-game hitting streak from Feb. 9 to March 9 and set a new school single-game record with nine defensive assists against South Carolina on March 23.
Shipman shined throughout the grind of the 2014 SEC season and became the fourth Tennessee player to earn SEC Player of the Year honors, joining India Chiles (2007), Tonya Callahan (2008) and Lauren Gibson (2013). She was a two-time SEC Player of the Week (March 24, April 14) and led the league with a .591 on-base percentage and ranked second in the with a .449 batting average, an .899 slugging percentage and 26 runs in league play. She also ranked third with seven doubles, fourth with 25 RBIs and tied for fifth with nine homers in SEC play.
In 29 games against teams that made the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Shipman hit a team-best .416 (32-for-77) with 12 homers, four doubles, 30 RBIs, 30 runs, 29 walks, five stolen bases, a .935 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage.
Shipman completed her Tennessee career as one of UT's best all-around players and one of its greatest power hitters. She finished her career ranked in Tennessee's top five in home runs (44, third), doubles (55, third), total bases (444, third), RBIs (207, fourth), walks (105, fourth) and slugging percentage (.611, fifth). Shipman posted a .348 career batting average and finished in the Lady Vols' top 10 in at-bats (737, ninth), runs (177, 10th), hits (253, 10th) and stolen bases (58, ninth). Her fielding was superb and she was widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the nation. Shipman's 397 career assists ranked second in Tennessee history and her 29 career double plays turned rank third.
"Madison Shipman has been an excellent role model both on the diamond and in the classroom during her career at Tennessee," said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. "She is a great example of how dedication to her studies and to her sport pays off in a big way."