K-State’s Whitney Pyle named Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year

K-State's Whitney Pyle putts during the final round of the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence, Kansas on September 25, 2012. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
K-State's Whitney Pyle putts during the final round of the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence, Kansas on September 25, 2012. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

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COURTESY: K-State Sports Information

IRVING, Texas – Kansas State senior women’s golfer Whitney Pyle has been selected as the 2012-13 Big 12 Conference Sportsperson of the Year, the league office announced on Monday afternoon.

The Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year awards began 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.

Pyle, who earned the honor along with Texas football player Nate Boyer, is the first Wildcat student-athlete to receive the accolade since women’s basketball player Kim Woodlee won the inaugural award in 2000-01.

A native of Blue Mound, Kan., Pyle was active participant and leader in student and team-led service initiatives throughout her four-year career at K-State. This past year, she served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was a member of the Adopt-A-Family subcommittee that was responsible for organizing and executing the committee’s promise to fulfill the Christmas wish list for 14 individuals.

Pyle also helped raise almost $11,000 in donations and 5,000 pounds of food for “Cats for Cans” that benefits the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Other philanthropic projects included “Tipoff for TP,” an initiative that collected paper products and monetary donations for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter and a “Docs vs. Jocks” kickball game with proceeds benefitting the Flint Hills Community Clinic. She has also been active at local elementary schools and with Special Olympics. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Kansas State in May.

Pyle’s outstanding character was never more evident than on the evening of February 24, 2013. The Wildcat women’s golf team had just completed 36 holes of play at the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Ariz. While back in her hotel room checking scores on GolfStat.com, she realized her second round score was incorrect by one stroke with the wrong score entered on hole 9. She sent a text message to head coach Kristi Knight informing her of the incorrect score online.

The next morning, Knight notified the host institution of the Pyle’s error and it was discovered a birdie had been written on the physical scorecard instead of a par. Pyle had signed the incorrect scorecard, resulting in a violation that disqualified her for the round. Had she not taken action when noticing the error, the mistake would have gone unnoticed.

“What a tremendous honor for Whitney,” said Knight. “I was very proud of how she handled this scoring error. She showed great character.”

A four-year letterwinner, Pyle finished the 2012-13 season with the Wildcats’ lowest stroke average (76.50), while earning three Top 20 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Johnie Imes Invitational on Oct. 1-2, 2012 with a three-round total of 2-under par 214.

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