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Washington State’s Owen Leonard and Oregon’s Shannon Williams named Pac-12 Leadership Award winners

Nov 21, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO - Washington State baseball’s Owen Leonard and Oregon lacrosse’s Shannon Williams have been named the 2018-19 recipients of the Pac-12 Conference’s Leadership Awards, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today. Leonard is the second Cougar and Williams is the third Duck to earn the honor since the award was established in 2002.

The Pac-12 Conference established the Pac-12 Leadership Award to recognize student-athletes who have served on their institutional Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) and demonstrated leadership. This Pac-12 Leadership Award is a $3,000 scholarship for postgraduate study awarded to one male and one female student-athlete each year.

The Pac-12 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which is composed of representatives from each member institution, selects the winners of the award each year from nominations submitted by each campus SAAC.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must have completed or be in their final season of athletics eligibility, be enrolled in or plan to attend graduate school, have been a letter winner in a varsity sport, and have served a minimum of one year on the campus SAAC. Other factors which may be taken into account during the selection process include other leadership activities, community service, grade-point average, service as a SAAC officer, and level of athletic achievement.

Leonard (Seattle, Wash.) is in his fourth year of collegiate baseball and his second year at Washington State. The senior is majoring in kinesiology with a 3.2 grade-point average and is planning to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy. His hard work in the classroom has helped him become a two-year Academic Excellence recipient, a recognition given to Washington State student-athletes each semester they earn a 3.00 GPA or higher. Leonard also enters his second year on WSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was selected to serve as the Director of Events for the 2019-20 academic year. Leonard is very active in the community through involvement in programs such as the Coug Pals, where he serves as a pen pal and mentor for elementary students in the Pullman, Wash., area. On campus, Leonard advises fellow student-athletes on a regular basis as a Peer Academic Counselor and volunteers for various events such as Washington State’s Week of Welcome.

Leonard was a team captain for the Cougs in 2018-19, making 15 appearances out of the bullpen and notching 19 strikeouts in 19 innings. He notably worked the final 2.2 innings of WSU’s combined one-hit shutout of Santa Clara in February.

Williams (Bel Air, Md.) graduated magna cum laude with a 3.95 grade-point average and was named the 2019 Pac-12 Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and recipient of the Tom Hansen Medal for her outstanding achievement on and off the field. Williams was also a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic First Team honoree, earning the award her junior and senior seasons.

As a sophomore, Williams served as Oregon’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Team Representative, working as a liaison between the student-athlete body and the committee of 30. She was later selected to take on the role of SAAC Co-Director on the Executive Board in 2018. During her time with SAAC, Williams was also afforded the opportunity to work with Courts for Kids for which she traveled to Los Hatillos, Nicaragua to help construct a cement sports court for children in the community.

Williams was a four-year letter winner and attacker on the Oregon women’s lacrosse team from 2015-19 and served as a team captain her senior year. She currently owns six program records including points (252), goals (158), points per game (3.63), goals per game (2.29), shot attempts (353) and shots per game (5.12). She was also selected First Team All-Pac-12 in 2019 and Second Team All-Conference in 2018. 


Year Men's Winner Women's Winner
2001-02 Walter Chun, golf, CAL Cicely Clinkenbeard, track & field, WSU
2002-03 Adam Chivara, wrestling, ASU Janell Bergstrom, softball, ORE
2003-04 Jason Ranne, basketball, ARIZ Nikki Neuberger, volleyball, OSU
2004-05 Emerson Ward, swimming, ASU Molly Seaman, gymnastics, WASH
2005-06 Darrell Brooks, football, ARIZ Anna Chappell, basketball, ARIZ
2006-07 Caleb Kirk, gymnastics, CAL Whitney Myers, swimming, ARIZ
2007-08 Justin Pollard, swimming, CAL Ingrid Kantola, track & field, UCLA
2008-09 Kyson Bunthuwong, gymnastics, CAL D’Anna Piro, gymnastics, OSU
2009-10 Sean Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, basketball, UCLA Ariane Masschelein, tennis, ARIZ
2011-12 Greg Woodburn, track & field, USC Leslie Mak, gymnastics, OSU
2012-13 Gareth Gilna, track & field, WASH Stephanie McGregor, gymnastics, OSU
2013-14 Robbie Lemon, basketball, STAN Erin Menedee, track & field, ARIZ
2014-15 Justin Brinkley, track & field, STAN Danielle Buchanan, gymnastics, ARIZ
2015-16 Patrick Woepse, water polo, UCLA Claire Wise, skiing, UTAH
2016-17 Jack Anderson, baseball, OSU Taylor Ricci, gymnastics, OSU
2017-18 Matt Salerno, swimming, ARIZ Natalie Modly, lacrosse, ORE
2018-19 Owen Leonard, baseball, WSU Shannon Williams, lacrosse, ORE