Coker One of 30 Candidates for Senior CLASS Award


Coker Player Card

KINGSTON, R.I. Rhode Island senior captain Kelly Coker was named one of 30 candidates nationally for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in softball, Premier Sports Management announced Wednesday.

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.

A 2012 Second-Team All-Conference selection in the Atlantic 10, Coker also was an All-Academic Team pick as a third baseman last spring. She batted .305 with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs and a team-high 33 runs batted in. She also stole 15 bases in 17 attempts and scored 25 runs. Coker is the lone Senior CLASS Award candidate from the Atlantic 10.

Off the field, Coker is one of the top students at the University, ranking in the top 15 percent of her class. A nursing major, she has completed clinical rotations at seven different facilities throughout the state, including Westerly Hospital, Newport Hospital, South Shore Mental Health Center, the Tavares Pediatric Center, Clinics Esperanza, Memorial Hospital Home Care and the Riverview Healthcare Community.

During the holiday season, Coker and her softball teammates wrote holiday cards for war veterans living in four different veteran's hall communities. The cards went to veterans in Gardiner, Mass., two different homes in Leominster, Mass., and one more in New Hampshire.

She also spearheaded an effort to make the holidays special for a family she never met. Coker raised funds that were used to buy Christmas presents for a single mother and her two children living in a battered women's shelter.

She and fellow senior captain Erika Szymanski organized a team effort to prepare full Thanksgiving dinner baskets for two different homeless families. They also collect canned goods each year to donate to the JohnnyCake Center, a food pantry located in Wakefield, R.I.

"If you are trying to identify the model person, Kelly Coker is who you would point to," said Rhode Island softball head coach Erin Layton. "She is an excellent softball player, but beyond that, she is an even better human being."

The 2013 candidate class includes 15 candidates who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Six were named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American team, and seven were members of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America team.

The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series® in Oklahoma City May 30 through June 5.

Softball Candidates
Emily Allard, Northwestern
Brooke Andresen, Loyola (Chicago)
Nikki Armagost, Pacific
Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois
B.B. Bates, UCLA
Kayla Braud, Alabama
Amy Buntin, Notre Dame
Allie Cashion, Appalachian State
Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
Kelly Coker, Rhode Island
Kara Dill, Kentucky
Kara Dornbos, Central Michigan
Rachele Fico, LSU
Olivia Galati, Hofstra
Mikkel Griffin, Southern Utah
Jolene Henderson, California
Kelsey Horton, Florida
Maggie Hull, Kansas
Shannon Jones, Siena
Courtney Liddle, Virginia Tech
Blaire Luna, Texas
Kelly Majam, Hawai'i
Jenna Marston, Missouri
Jennifer Ong, Yale
Jenna Rich, Stanford
Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma
Emily Roesch, Boston
Jessica Shults, Oklahoma
Stephanie Thompson, Brown
Brianna Turang, Oklahoma