DENVER – New Mexico State senior softball player Amber Olive was selected as the female 2012-13 Stan Bates Award winner by the Western Athletic Conference, announced Monday. The award honors the top male and female scholar-athlete in the WAC. The award is named in honor of former Commissioner Stan Bates and recognizes athletic, academic and community service accomplishments. The award includes a $3,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Olive, a Simi Valley, Calif., native earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications in May and has been a four-time Academic All-WAC selection for her work in the classroom. She was named to the 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-America and All-District teams and earned the NM State Psychology Department Heads Award for Academic Excellence while maintaining a 3.901 grade point average. Olive was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar Athlete in 2010 and 2011.
“We are extremely excited about Amber receiving this award, which represents the highest honor that the WAC can bestow on a student-athlete,” NM State Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston said. “It represents academic accomplishment, student service accomplishment and athletic performance. For Amber to be the top-vote getter in all three categories is quite an accomplishment and it is consistent with how New Mexico State describes a quality student-athlete experience.”
Outside of the classroom, Olive logged hundreds of community service hours over the course of her four years at NM State. She was part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She worked with a notes taking program on campus, where she recorded classroom notes for special education students for three years. She was honored as the 2013 NM State Community Service Athlete of the Year for her efforts in the community. Olive also helped with the annual softball camps and assisted in spearheading a canned food drive for the Las Cruces and Doña Ana community.
On the diamond, the left fielder started 144 career games for the Aggies and led the conference in 2013 in hits (79) and runs (41). Her .393 batting average was second in the conference for 2013, and she recorded 47 RBI, 322 stolen bases and 186 hits in her career. She was a 2013 first team All-WAC selection, NFCA All-Pacific Region selection and was named the National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year.
“The Stan Bates Award represents the top female (and male) athlete in the WAC for all sports and is a tremendous honor. Amber Olive is an amazing young woman in the classroom, on the field, as a teammate and friend,” head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We have been blessed to have her represent our program and the university.”
The male recipient of the 2012-13 Stan Bates Award is Jeremy Klas, a track and field athlete from Idaho. Olive is the third female Aggie to receive the honor and second to represent the softball program. Kandis Jones was the 2010-11 recipient and swimmer Karen Kaufman won the award in 2007-08.
“The selection is done by all of the faculty representatives at each of the WAC schools, and the competition was really tough this year, so we are very proud that each of these reps recognized Amber for not only her athletic ability, but also her academic ability and service,” faculty athletic representative Jack Thomas said.