INDIANAPOLIS -- Tennessee softball alum and legendary pitcher Ellen Renfroe has earned a 2013-14 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for Women's Spring Sports.
She is the third Tennessee student-athlete to earn a 2013-14 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, joining women's soccer's Caroline Brown and women's swimming's Lindsay Gendron. Tennessee softball has produced NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners in back-to-back seasons as Raven Chavanne earned a scholarship following the 2012-13 academic year.
Renfroe is Tennessee's 10th NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner over the last four years. UT ranks fourth among of all NCAA Division I programs with 10 winners over that four-year span, trailing only Stanford (19), Alabama (17) and Nebraska (13).
Renfroe was a model student-athlete during her career at UT, thriving both on the field and in the classroom. She was named the 2014 Capital One Academic All-American® of the Year for softball and the 2014 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Renfroe was also a three-time Capital One Academic All-American® (2012, 2013, 2014). She joined Chavanne (2013) and Lindsay Schutzler (2006 and 2007) as the only Lady Vols to earn Academic All-American of the Year honors.
Renfroe earned her bachelor's degree in psychology this past spring and completed her studies with a 3.78 GPA.
Renfroe completed her Tennessee career as one of the greatest pitchers in UT history. Nicknamed "The Spin Doctor" but ESPN's Beth Mowins, Renfroe put on a pitching display in just about every outing with her elite command of the ball. She finished her career with 1.65 ERA, a 102-25 record, 12 saves, 84 complete games, 41 shutouts, two no-hitters and 1,005 strikeouts over 175 appearances, 129 starts and 872.0 innings in the circle. Renfroe was a two-time NFCA All-American (2011, 2012), a four-time NFCA All-Southeast Region pick, a three-time Top 25 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014) and a three-time All-SEC selection (2011, 2012, 2014).
Renfroe enjoyed a stellar senior campaign in 2014, going 30-8 with a 2.02 ERA and 245 strikeouts while helping lead Tennessee to a 46-12 record and its seventh NCAA Super Regional. She set career highs with 30 complete games, 239.1 innings pitched and 30 wins as a senior. She was named USA Softball Player of the Week on April 1, making her just the fourth Lady Vol to earn that honor twice in a career, joining Monica Abbott (four times), Tonya Callahan (twice) and Chavanne (twice). Renfroe was also named SEC Pitcher of the Week three times this year (Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 31). She earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors eight times in her incredible Tennessee career, which stands second-most in UT history only to Abbott's 16 times receiving the award.
Renfroe finished her career ranked second in several Tennessee career pitching categories - an impressive feat considering Abbott set several NCAA records from 2004-07 that are likely unbreakable. Renfroe ranks second in UT history in career ERA (1.65), games started (129), wins (102), shutouts (41), innings pitched (872.0) and strikeouts (1,005). She also ranks third in appearances (175), winning percentage (.803) and complete games (84).
Her signature moment was in Game 1 of the 2013 Women's College World Series Championship Series when she went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts for 11 innings, striking out 13 Sooner batters in an instant-classic game.
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.
The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated. An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.
Below is a complete list of SEC student-athletes who received the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award during the 2013-14 academic year.