Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Department of Athletics paid tribute to the student-athletes of the 2010-11 season during their annual athletics banquet held inside Kean Hall on Tuesday evening.
TSU Director of Athletics, Teresa Phillips, along with administrators, alumni, supporters, and coaches were on hand to salute TSU athletes for their achievements on and off the field.
Seniors Martinique Guice (women's track and field) and Eugene Clifford (football) received the Female and Male Athlete of the Year Award. Both were named MVPs of the respective teams with Guice being named indoor and outdoor track and field MVP and Clifford receiving the defensive MVP award for football.
Guice was recognized for her contributions to the Tigerbelles as a seven-time champion in the Ohio Valley Conference.
She opened her collegiate career as a member of the 2008 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship team. Her freshman year, during the same outdoor championship, she captured first place in the 100-meter dash, and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay team. The following season in 2009, she began her OVC reign and dominance in the long jump, winning both indoor and outdoor titles in the event.
Since then, she has successfully defended her crowns, repeating as indoor and outdoor long jump champion in 2010, while winning the indoor title for a third time in February. Next month, she will attempt to retain her title in outdoor competition as she enters the OVC Championship ranked first in the event with a mark of 20"6.25. It is the only jump in the OVC over 20 feet this year.
Currently, she has broke the 20-foot barrier in the long jump on three occasions, twice this season, while posting a personal best of 20" 7.75 in 2009. For her career, she has been named the OVC athlete of the week, eight times combined, for her performances on the track surface and in field competition.
She has nine career victories in the long jump while going undefeated in regular collegiate competition during the 2009 season. In addition, her jump during this year's Boston Moon Classic is currently ranked 23rd in the nation.
This year, Clifford earned consensus All-America Football Championship (FCS) Division honors after being named to six All-America first teams.
He was named to the first team of the Associated Press FCS, the Walter Camp Foundation, the Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN) Black College and the Box-to-Row Black College All-America teams. He was also named to The Sports Network and Sporting News' All-America teams.
In total for his career at TSU, he has been named to 12-post season All-America teams receiving 10 preseason honors. In the midst of his long list of All-American selections he was named All-OVC in each of his three seasons only garnering one Conference player of the week award.
One of his most prestigious recognitions was his position as national finalist for the 2011 Sports Network's FCS Buck Buchanan Award, emblematic of the top defensive player in the NCAA's FCS Division.
This season, he led the team in tackles (83) and interceptions (4) posting 10 pass breakups and 14 pass deflections in 11 games. He concluded the season ranked 10th nationally in passes defended.
In his three-year stint at TSU, Clifford recorded 204 tackles (120 solo), nine interceptions, 26 passes defended, 35 pass breakups, four fumbles recovered, three forced fumbles and 272 all-purpose yards which included 197 interception return yards.
Stafford and Perry also received their respective team's academic award. Among others awarded academic honors for holding the highest grade point average on the team: Daniecce Ward (women's track and field), Jamie Pierce (women's golf), Susie Burke (softball), Khadijah Williams (women's tennis), Danielle Howell (volleyball), Chris Conner (men's basketball), Lawrence Washington (men's tennis) and Printence McMurtrey (men's track and field).
McMurtrey and Pierce add to their honors in the classroom after picking up the awards last year.
Tiger Football's list of awards capped the night with Calvin McNairl (Eldridge Dickey Offensive Player of the Year) and Eugene Clifford (Joe W. Gilliam Defensive Player of the Year) recognized as the MVPs of the separate sides of the line of scrimmage. Both garnered the awards for a second straight season.
TSU Football awards are named after legendary players in Big Blue gridiron history, saluting standouts that contributed to the success of the program. Others receiving significant honors included: Preston Brown (Alvin "CAT" Coleman Back of the Year) Taylor Cisneros (Sidney Crutchfield Special Teams Player of the Year) Sherman Carter (Vernon Holland Lineman of the Year), Jeremy Perry (Ed "Too Tall" Jones Most Improved Player), Johntae Gleaves (Fred Lee Spirit Award), Terrence Wright (Heart of a Tiger Courage Award), Marquez Hall (Dominique Rodger-Cromartie Defensive Back of the Year), and Lamar Wallace (Richard Dent Defensive Lineman of the Year).
Hall and Brown also received their signature awards for a consecutive year.
During the night, others were declared their team's most valuable players.
Brittney Washington (women's cross country), Jamie Pierce (women's golf), Meredith Stafford (women's basketball), Lawrence Washington (men's tennis), and Michael Rideout (men's track and field) grabbed their first career MVP award while Chris Hobbs (men's cross country), and Arthur Combest (men's indoor track) tacked on their second straight. Santia Sanders and Shaquita Williams shared this year's volleyball top player award.
Men's basketball, women's tennis, softball, and men's golf did not recognize a valuable player. Softball along with men's golf announced they would name an outstanding player at the conclusion of their seasons later this month.