Aug. 10, 2004
Conference USA has named its first Athletes of the Year, Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced today. Houston women's basketball star Chandi Jones was named Female Athlete of the Year, while Tulane men's tennis standout Michael Kogan was honored as Male Athlete of the Year.
Jones led Houston to its finest women's basketball season ever, as the Cougars finished the year ranked No. 9 in the nation after winning the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles en route to their first NCAA appearance since 1992. A consensus All-American, Jones was named Conference USA Player of the Year for the third consecutive season and also was honored as the C-USA Tournament MVP.
After leading Conference USA in scoring during her senior season (23.5 ppg) and becoming the league's all-time leading scorer, Jones was a first-round selection of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury before being immediately traded to the defending World Champion Detroit Shock. She closed out her collegiate career ranked 13th among NCAA Division I all-time career leaders in points scored with 2,692 in 114 games, reaching double figures in points in an NCAA-record 114 consecutive games - every game of her collegiate career at Houston.
Kogan won five matches at the NCAA Tournament, including an upset over the No. 5 seed, to advance to the finals of the 2004 NCAA Singles Championship and become the first Tulane athlete to compete for the national championship since 1955. He earned first team All-America honors for the fourth time in his career and finished the year ranked 10th in the country in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Kogan was named Conference USA Player of the Year for a record fourth time after leading Tulane to its third league title of his career. The senior was also named first team All-Conference USA and Louisiana Player of the Year all four years of his career.
Kogan and freshman doubles partner David Goulet were selected to the field of 32 for the NCAA Doubles Championship, marking Kogan's fourth trip to the NCAA doubles tournament with his third different partner. Kogan compiled a 22-6 singles and 17-5 doubles record in his senior season. He was 17-5 in singles versus ranked opponents and lost just two matches from March 9-May 31. In doubles, Kogan and Goulet were undefeated from Feb. 22nd until the NCAAs (May 27th) and finished the year ranked 19th.
The 2003-04 athletic season marked the first time that C-USA has honored Male and Female Athletes of the Year. The award is based solely on athletic achievement during an academic year and the winners are determined through a vote by the league's Athletic Directors.