Senior outfielder Stephanie Brown is the 20th Notre Dame student-athlete to collect All-America, Academic All-America® and NCAA postgraduate scholarship honors in her career, earning the latter award on Wednesday.

Two Irish Athletes Awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

June 26, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior track & field standout Maryann Erigha (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee) and senior softball great Stephanie Brown (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) are two of 29 female student-athletes competing in spring sports who have been chosen to receive a 2007 NCAA postgraduate scholarship, the NCAA announced Wednesday. Along with swimmer Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind./Western), who was tapped for the honor as a winter sports competitor earlier this year, it marks just the third time in Notre Dame athletics history — and first time in 32 years — that the Irish have fielded three NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients in same academic year. Since the award’s inception in 1964, Notre Dame now has had 42 student-athletes earn the prestigious $7,500 grant, which is applied to the recipient’s pursuit of postgraduate studies.

One has to go back to the 1974-75 academic year to find the last time the Notre Dame had three NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients (football players Pete Demmerle and Reggie Barnett, along with fencer Paul Angelo). Prior to this year, 1968-69 marked the only other time the Irish had three honorees in three different sports — George Kunz (football), Bob Arnzen (basketball/baseball) and Bill Hurd (track & field).

Notre Dame also was one of only four schools in the country (and the only Division I institution) to have multiple female student-athletes selected to receive a 2007 NCAA postgraduate scholarship for spring sports, with Augustana (Ill.), Emory (Ga.) and South Dakota the other schools in that group. In addition, only seven institutions had multiple ’07 spring sport recipients combined between genders, with Illinois Wesleyan (one woman/one man), Tennessee (two men) and Texas Tech (one woman/one man) each having two selections.

Erigha (pronounced uh-REE-guh) is the fifth Irish track & field athlete (and second woman) to receive an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, following on the heels of high jumper Stacey Cowan, who was chosen during the 2006 winter sports cycle. The only other Notre Dame thinclads to collect the NCAA grant have been: Ed Dean (1966), Bill Hurd (1969) and Steve Dziabis (1983).

One of the top sprinters in school history, Erigha qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 200-meter dash each of her four years at Notre Dame, while adding regional qualifications in the 100 meters her final three seasons and racing on two Mideast Regional-qualifying relays (4×100, 4×400) in 2007. In addition, she holds the Irish record for most all-BIG EAST Conference honors (15), as well as indoor (7) and outdoor (8) certificates. The Notre Dame record books are dotted with Erigha’s name, as she owns eight of the top 10 100-meter times and five of the top six 60-meter dash marks in school history.

A two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District choice and multiple Dean’s List honoree, Erigha graduated from the College of Arts and Letters last month with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and computer applications. She also was a member of Notre Dame’s Academic Honors for Student-Athletes program and registered a 3.83 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) during her academic career, with perfect a 4.0 GPA during the spring `06 and spring `07 semesters. In May, she was selected to receive Notre Dame’s most prestigious student-athlete honor, the Byron V. Kanaley Award, which is presented annually to a senior monogram winner who has been exemplary as both a student and leader. Most recently, she was a first-team honoree for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award, given each year to undergraduate student-athletes for outstanding achievements in combining academics, athletes and community service.

Meanwhile, Brown is the second Notre Dame softball player ever chosen for the NCAA postgraduate scholarship, with Jennifer Sharron the first to be honored in 2001. The Irish team captain in ’07, Brown finished among the top 10 at Notre Dame in eight career statistical categories — first in runs (first – 166), second in hits (277) and at bats (778), third in games played (242), fourth in batting average (.356), walks (72) and stolen bases (55) and eighth in home runs (19). This past season, Brown was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection for the fourth time in as many years, taking home first-team plaudits for the third time (also in 2004 and 2006). In the classroom, Brown was tabbed a second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American®, a Lowe’s second-team All-Senior All-America honoree and a BIG EAST Academic All-Star, all while amassing a 3.44 cumulative GPA and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in marketing (with a minor in peace studies) from the Mendoza College of Business last month.

Brown also is the 20th Notre Dame student-athlete to garner All-America, Academic All-America® and NCAA postgraduate scholarship honors during her career, with Cowan the most recent Irish athlete to record that impressive triple crown. Others on this exclusive list have included: football players Jim Smithberger, George Kunz, Tom Gatewood, Greg Marx, Dave Casper, Pete Demmerle, John Krimm and Tim Ruddy (8); basketball players Bob Arnzen, Gary Novak, John Paxson, Pat Garrity and Ruth Riley (5); soccer players Jen Renola and Jenny Streiffer (2); plus four others in Heidi Piper (fencing), Jennifer Hall (tennis) and Sharron (softball).

The Notre Dame women’s track & field and softball programs join the Irish women’s soccer program as the only squads to have multiple recipients of the NCAA postgraduate scholarship during their respective histories. The Notre Dame women’s soccer team has had three honorees — Renola (1996), Streiffer (2000) and Vanessa Pruzinsky (2004).

To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.200 (on a 4.000 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. The student-athlete must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. The student-athlete also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.

— ND —