June 16, 2006
OMAHA, Neb. - University of Houston junior righthander/DH Brad Lincoln was honored Friday morning as the winner of the 2006 Dick Howser Trophy, given annually to college baseball's top player.
He became the first player in both UH and Conference USA history to be honored as a baseball national player of the year.
Lincoln accepted the award during a ceremony at the Hilton Garden Hotel. He was one of five finalists for the honor, joining Rice pitcher Eddie Degerman, James Madison outfielder Kellen Kulbacki, Washington pitcher Tim Lincecum and Cal State Fullerton pitcher Wes Roemer.
Friday's honor was only the first of several national postseason awards that Lincoln could win in 2006. In addition to the Dick Howser Trophy, he is one of three finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award and one of four finalists for the Roger Clemens Award, presented to the nation's top collegiate pitcher.
We are thrilled to be presenting Brad Lincoln of Houston with the 2006 Dick Howser Trophy," said Howser Trophy chair David Feaster of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "He embodies all the skills of a great student-athlete and has represented his university in outstanding fashion. His character counted in the voting and selection process, and he showed great courage while facing tremendous competition and excelling throughout the season."
"This is like the Heisman Trophy of college baseball,"UH head coach Rayner Noble said. "An honor like this put the entire program in the limelight. Obviously, Brad is in the center of the spotlight with the season that he had, but an award like this casts light on the entire university."
Lincoln became the first player in both school and Conference USA history to be taken among the Top 10 picks of Major League Baseball's amateur draft June 6 when he was selected at No. 4 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lincoln, who was named to the Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger All-America First Team as a utility player, emerged as one of the nation's finest all-around players in 2006. He compiled a sparkling 12-2 record with a 1.69 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 127.2 innings of work. Those numbers were even better in C-USA games only where he assembled a 7-0 record with a 1.28 ERA.
Lincoln's strikeout total ranked as the third-best mark in UH single-season history and moved him into third in UH career history with 293 punchouts.
He was named a C-USA Pitcher of the Week four times during the regular season and was honored as the Pro-Line Cap National Pitcher of the Week after tossing a five-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in the series opener at No. 1 Rice on May 12.
However, Lincoln was one of the Cougars' leading hitters all season. In 2006, he compiled a .295 batting average with 14 home runs and a team-leading 53 RBIs. He blasted a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the Cougars to an 11-10 win over Texas-San Antonio in the season on opener on Feb. 7.
With his pitching and offensive numbers, Lincoln ranked among the Top 10 C-USA individual leaders in five of the six Triple Crown categories for the majority of the 2006 season.
He was honored as the C-USA Pitcher of the Year while also being named to the league's First Team but was recognized at DH on the C-USA All-Tournament Team for his performance at the plate.
Lincoln blasted a home run and earned a pitching win in games at UC Irvine and against C-USA rival Tulane earlier this season. With that, he joined current San Diego Padre pitcher Woody Williams as the only players to hit a home run and collect a win from the mound in the same game twice during their careers.
"When you talk about Brad Lincoln and his season, the No. 1 thing that you talk about is consistency," Noble said. "There were no ups and downs to what he did this year, and what he did was on the brink of spectacular. And we're just talking about his pitching. He hit in the middle of our lineup and produced all year long. He is a true Player of the Year, because he did it on the mound and at the plate."
In addition to Friday's presentation in Omaha, there will be a special ceremony at a University of Houston home football game later this fall to honor Lincoln before Cougar fans, students and administrators.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award.
Criteria for consideration for the trophy includes performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser's life.
A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at FSU (1957-58), then coached the Seminoles in 1979 after a career as a major league player and coach. After one year in the college ranks, Howser returned to the majors to manage the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser.
Lincoln's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the 1999 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. Lincoln and the UH Athletics Department will receive a special trophy to keep.
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is in its 107th year of existence in 2006. The organization has long been a vital force in the baseball affairs of the city, both in spring training and during the pursuit of a major league baseball franchise for the Tampa Bay area, and continues its solid role in the 21st Century.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami, 1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003 and Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; and Alex Gordon, Nebraska, 2005.