Thomas and Fail Named Tom Hansen Medal Recipients
SAN FRANCISCO – Arizona student-athletes Sam Thomas and Brooks Fail have been named 2021-22 Tom Hansen Medal winners by the Pac-12 Conference. The conference medal is awarded annually to each member institution's outstanding senior male and female student-athlete based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership. The Pac-12 has named medal winners every year since the 1960-61 academic year. In 2009, the Pac-12 renamed the award the Tom Hansen Conference Medal in honor of Hansen, who retired at the end of June 2009 after serving for 26 years as Commissioner of the Pac-10.
Sam Thomas capped her five-year career with Arizona Women's Basketball with another banner season in 2021-22. She completed her graduate degree in educational leadership with a perfect 4.0 GPA after earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a 3.97 GPA. She was a 2021-22 First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American and became the first player in program history to be named an Academic All-American in multiple seasons. Thomas becomes the first Arizona Women's Basketball student-athlete to receive a Tom Hansen medal since Yolanda Turner in 1988.
Thomas was a three-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection in her career and played a key role in the program's historic run to the 2021 National Championship game. She left Tucson as Arizona Women's Basketball's all-time leader in games and minutes played while finishing her career in the top 10 in scoring, three-point shooting, blocks and steals. Thomas was also active in a variety of community service programs and initiatives throughout her five seasons in Tucson. The Las Vegas native is currently a rookie for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
Brooks Fail, a native of Tucson, finished an illustrious career in the pool as a seven-time NCAA All-American. A two-time Pac-12 champion in the 1,650-meter freestyle, Fail owns the school record in the event as well as the 400-meter individual medley. Completing his master's degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling, Fail also shined in the classroom as well. He marks the 23rd recipient from Arizona Swimming & Diving to receive a Tom Hansen Medal, which is the most among all of Arizona's athletic programs.
He was a three-time selection to the Pac-12's Academic Honor Roll in addition to his Pac-12 All-Academic Team honor in 2019. The Wildcat standout was also a CSCAA Scholar All-American during his career. He gave back to his home community of Tucson in a variety of ways as part of community service and outreach with Team IMPACT, volunteering as a youth instructor at Ford Aquatics and other key initiatives. Fail's most recent accolade came at the athletics department's annual CATSYs Award Show when he received the Sapphire Award as the department's top men's senior student-athlete.