June 14, 2011
IRVING, Texas -
Baylor guard Melissa Jones has been named one of two 2010-11 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Jones was a senior on the BU women's basketball squad while Texas' Sam Acho, the other recipient, completed his eligibility with the UT football program.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards were started in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service during the academic year. This year's winners were selected by a media panel. The Big 12's recipients are also nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
Jones became the first Baylor women's basketball player that did not earn All-America honors on the court to have her jersey retired, an honor that had more to do with her leadership and action away from basketball. An active leader in Baylor's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, Jones has been part of three different mission trips to Kenya, Africa. During her time in Waco, she has also worked in soup kitchens, volunteered with the Salvation Army and visited area hospitals and elementary schools.
The native of Thornton, Colo., also fought through a difficult injury during her senior campaign. After losing sight in one eye after a hard hit to the floor, Jones missed just one game. She donned a pair of sunglasses and returned to help Baylor to the Big 12 Championship title and a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship.
Jones is the third Baylor student-athlete to earn Sportsperson of the Year honors, joining fellow basketball players Jessika Stratton (2004) and Mamadou Diene (2008).
"I am so pleased that MJ has received this award, it couldn't have been given to a more deserving person. She is such a giving, caring person and a great example of how one should live life," said Baylor women's basketball head coach Kim Mulkey.