The University of Tennessee at Martin basketball programs represented half of the college basketball award winners during the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s annual selection of the state’s college basketball coaches and players of the year honors.
In a vote of TSWA members, UT Martin men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer and sophomore forward Ashia Jones were named the TSWA Men’s Coach and Women’s Player of the Year, respectively.
Schroyer burst onto the scene in his first year at the helm of the Skyhawks, leading the squad to not only the program’s first postseason appearance since the 2008-09 season, but all the way to the Final Four of the CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament. A Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award finalist, Schroyer engineered one of the best turnarounds in the country this season. Under Schroyer’s guidance, the Skyhawks posted a 21-13 overall record while boasting a program record 12 road victories, tied for the nation’s lead.
Taking over an eight-win program from a year ago, Schroyer added UT Martin to his list of seven programs who have participated in postseason play while picking up the program’s first three postseason wins in Division-I history. The 13-win increase was the sixth-largest win improvement in Division-I.
“I am honored to have this award,” said Schroyer. “I have a great staff and a great bunch of kids that worked extremely hard this past year. I look forward to working hard and building on the success we had this year.”
A native of Covington, Tenn., Jones notches the program’s second Women’s Player of the Year award in as many years, joining only former great Heather Butler to claim the prestigious honor. Jones led the team to a 22-11 overall mark while becoming the sixth program in Ohio Valley Conference to finish the conference slate with an unblemished mark, going 16-0. This is the fifth major award handed out to the sophomore forward, joining honors such as Associated Press All-America honorable mention, WBCA All-Region, National Mid-Major Player of the Year by College Sports Madness along with OVC Player of the Year and All-OVC accolades.
Jones not only led the OVC but ranked fourth nationally with 23.4 points per game while averaging 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She scored 772 points during the season, breaking the school’s previous single season scoring mark along with setting new benchmarks with 287 field goals made and 10 outings with 30 points or more.
“The work that Ashia put into her game last offseason proved dividends,” said UT Martin women’s head coach Kevin McMillan. “Ashia has proven that she can compete at a high level and we are looking forward to see how high her game can rise over the next two years.”
The duo joins Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw as Men’s Player of the Year while Chattanooga’s Jim Foster garnered Women’s Coach of the Year honors. All four honorees will be recognized during a luncheon at the TSSAA headquarters on Friday, July 10, during the TSWA’s annual convention in Nashville.