Feb. 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three Florida State student-athletes – Deividas Dulkys, Katie Rybakova and Kimberly Williams – have been selected as recipients of the 2012 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
ACC commissioner John Swofford announced the winners – three from each league school – each of whom will receive a $5,000 scholarship as they pursue graduate degrees. The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award honors three former ACC commissioners, the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan.
Dulkys, Rybakova and Williams were selected for performing with distinction in the classroom and in their respective sports, in addition to demonstrating exemplary conduct to the community. Collectively, they are among the most decorated student-athletes in their respective sports of men’s basketball, women’s tennis and women’s track & field.
Beyond their respective representation of the men’s basketball, women’s tennis and women’s track & field programs, Dulkys, Rybakova and Williams, came to Florida State from diverse backgrounds and found common ground by achieving at the highest level academically and athletically.
“That’s the great thing about being at an institution as prominent as Florida State,” said Steve Duzan, Interim Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services. “It is a place where we’re going to recruit the best student-athletes in the country and the world. To see that, and get students from different nations coming into one place, it’s a great opportunity for our students, our staff and our university to have that experience, because that’s what the collegiate experience is really about. It’s about being diverse, it’s about being educated and it’s about – when it comes to Division I athletics – competing at the highest level and doing that in all fashions.”
Dulkys, a native of Silute, Lithuania, has been an instrumental component in the best four-year ACC run of Florida State men’s basketball in school history under coach Leonard Hamilton. He will earn his degree in business management.
“Deividas is a player who has worked extremely hard both on and off the court, has played on three NCAA Tournament teams and will finish his career as one of the winningest players in school history,” Hamilton said. “He has been successful on the court, but more importantly he has been successful in the classroom and will receive his degree in April — achieving one of his goals in only four years. Because of his work ethic, I have no doubt that Deividas will be very successful as he moves on from Florida State University. We are certainly going to miss the maturity he brings to our program.”
Rybakova was born in Russia but has lived in the United States nearly her entire life. The Coral Springs, Fla. resident holds the FSU single-season record for singles victories (28), ranks second in career singles wins (103) and helped the Seminoles to four consecutive NCAA postseason appearances. She earned her degree this past spring in English education and aspires to be a professor.
“I’m very proud of Katie and her receiving the ACC postgraduate scholarship,” FSU women’s tennis coach Jennifer Hyde said. “She has been one of the brightest and most academically driven student-athletes I’ve ever coached. It’s great to see her being rewarded for an honor that she has certainly earned. She demonstrates exactly what it means to be a female student-athlete in the women’s tennis program, not only achieving at very high levels on the court but in the classroom as well.”
Williams is arguably the most decorated triple jump and long jump specialist in NCAA history. The effervescent Kingston, Jamaica native is a five-time NCAA champion in those two events, captured 12 ACC titles and earned All-American honors 11 times. A graduate with her degree in sport management, Williams has earned Scholar Athlete awards both nationally and from the ACC among a multitude of honors.
“Kimmi is one of the most competitive persons that I’ve ever known, and she’s taken that competitive fire into the classroom, as she obviously has in athletics,” said FSU track & field coach Bob Braman. “We are all extremely proud of her as both a champion and as a phenomenal person.”
Collectively, it is a group of distinction in every way.
“You’re getting individuals that are the best at what they do from around the world and putting them in one place,” Duzan said. “We’re proud of that and what these student-athletes have accomplished.”
Deividas Dulkys, Business Management – Men’s Basketball – Silute, Lithuania
A member of the winningest senior class in school history, Dulkys is looking to lead the Seminoles to a school record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. With Dulkys in the lineup, Florida State is the third-winningest program in the ACC and one of only two programs to finish in the top four in the standings and record double-digit league wins in each of the last three seasons. Dulkys was a member of FSU’s 2009 team that played in the ACC Tournament championship game for the first time, and the 2011 team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Dulkys is ranked fifth in school history with 188 career 3-point field goals made, fourth in school history with 538 career 3-point field goals attempted and 20th in school history with a career mark of .356 from long range. Has been named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll in both 2010 and 2011.
Katie Rybakova, English Education – Women’s Tennis – Coral Springs, Florida
In and out of the classroom, Rybakova is one of the most accomplished women’s tennis players in Florida State history. She holds the school record for most wins in a single season at 28 and is one of four Seminoles to reach 100 career singles victories. Her 103 singles wins rank second all-time. In addition, Rybakova was instrumental in leading the Seminoles to four consecutive NCAA postseason appearances, including the program’s first Sweet Sixteen appearance. Academically, she has matched her athletic feats. A four-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll (2008-2011), she was also a two-time recipient of the Golden Torch Award (2008-09), presented to the team member with the highest GPA. Over the course of her career the FSU women’s tennis team was presented the Golden Torch Award for posting the highest GPA of any athletic team three times, including 2008, when they were recognized at the ITA All-Academic team.
Kimberly Williams, Sport Administration – Track & Field – Kingston, Jamaica
One of the most decorated student-athletes in FSU women’s track & field history, Williams set a standard of excellence in her sport and the classroom that will be difficult to match. She has twice been selected the USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete of the Year and is a multi-time recipient of CoSIDA Academic All-American, USTFCCCA All-Academic, All-ACC Academic and ACC Academic Honor Roll honors. Williams was also the winner of Florida State’s 2011 Golden Torch Award as the top academic women’s track & field athlete. Competitively, she is a five-time NCAA Champion, a 12-time ACC Champion and has been named All-American 11 times. Williams was the 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year (Indoors and Outdoors) and a two-time winner of ACC Outdoor and Indoor Performer of the Year honors. She was also selected as the 2009 NCAA Field Athlete of the Year.