UA's Kayla Hoffman named SEC Female Athlete of the Year

Kayla Hoffman, captain of the 2011 NCAA Champion Alabama gymnastics team, has been named the 2010-11 Roy F. Kramer Female Athlete of the Year by a vote of the Southeastern Conference's athletics directors.

"I am so proud of Kayla and all she has accomplished throughout her career," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "I think she had the perfect senior year - leading our ladies to conference, regional and national championships, earning the Honda Award, being named the Academic All-American of the Year and now being voted the Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year. She is a shining example of the fact that at the University of Alabama you can truly have it all."

In addition to the NCAA Championship, Hoffman led Alabama to the 2011 SEC and NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Championships, giving the Tide its first "triple crown" since 1988. She earned Alabama's seventh Honda Award, given annually to the nation's top gymnast, in April. She has also been named the 2011 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.

"At the University of Alabama, we strive to perform at a championship level in everything we do, and Kayla is certainly a fine example of that, having proven herself a champion in the gym, the classroom and in the community again and again," Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore said. "The Southeastern Conference stands at the very pinnacle of collegiate athletics across the board and to have Kayla recognized as the SEC Female Athlete of the Year makes us very proud."

The Union, N.J., native is the sixth Alabama athlete and fifth UA gymnast to be named SEC Female Athlete of the Year, joining gymnasts Penney Hauschild (1985), Dee Foster (1990), Andreé Pickens (2002), Jeana Rice (2004) and track star Lillie Leatherwood (1987). Alabama's six honorees ties the Tide with Tennessee for the SEC record for this award.

"I don't think there is any question of the SEC's prominence on the national scene, in all sports, which makes Kayla's latest honor all the more extraordinary," Patterson said. "The fact that Alabama is tied for the most SEC Female Athlete of the Year honors in the award's history and that five of the Crimson Tide's six honorees are gymnasts is a point of tremendous pride for our program."

Hoffman clinched the Tide's fifth NCAA Championship in mid-April with a 9.95 on the floor exercise and was the NCAA runner-up in the all-around and balance beam. She earned All-American accolades in the all-around, vault and balance beam this season, finishing her career with five first-team honors.

She became the first in league history to win both SEC Gymnast of the Year and the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in the same season, after clinching Alabama's 2011 SEC title by winning the vault with a 9.95.

The NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year, Hoffman won the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise at the 2011 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Championships. She also earned NCAA and SEC Postgraduate Scholarships and carries a career 4.0 grade point average in Human Development and Family Studies.

Tennessee senior tennis player John-Patrick Smith, the second player in the history of collegiate tennis to be a four-time singles and doubles ITA All-American, was named the SEC Male Athlete of the Year.

"The SEC is very proud to honor John-Patrick and Kayla, as they are outstanding examples of what a student-athlete can accomplish, both on and off the field of competition," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "Their hard work and dedication to excellence have made them fine representatives of their universities and this conference.  We congratulate them and wish them the best in their future endeavors."