July 9, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Recently-graduated Notre Dame women's soccer student-athlete Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) has been nominated by the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the conference announced Wednesday. Tucker is one of two nominees submitted by the ACC for this year's award, along with another league women's soccer player, Jazmine Reeves of Virginia Tech.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. Choosing from a pool of candidates submitted by its member schools, each conference in the three NCAA divisions nominates up to two candidates for the award, and from that group of approximately 160 nominees, the top 30 honorees will be chosen (10 per division).
The NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee subsequently determines the three finalists from each NCAA division that will comprise the list of nine award finalists, with that announcement expected in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then meets to vote from among the finalists for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year, who will be honored along with the top 30 candidates, during a ceremony on Oct. 19 in Indianapolis.
"I'm humbled and grateful to Notre Dame and the ACC for their decision to nominate me for this incredible honor," Tucker said. "The past four years, school and soccer dominated my life. Between classes, exams, practices, and games, it sometimes appeared impossible to take care of anything, much less anyone, besides myself. Witnessing other student-athletes doing more, however, I was challenged to try. In doing so, I came to realize that it was through my very responsibilities, as a student-athlete, that I could best and most readily help others. As a teammate, I could be a kind, compassionate friend to 25 other girls. As a captain, I could motivate and organize my teammates to volunteer in our community. As an older student, I could help younger teammates with classes. As an accounting major, I could help elderly and low-income people with their tax returns.
"Although I will not have the responsibilities of a Division I student-athlete next year, I hope to take with me the lesson I've learned from the past four years," Tucker added. "In particular, it's the belief that the path opened up to me by my particular talents will not only allow me to achieve my greatest personal success, but will also provide me with the most fruitful opportunities for helping those around me and the community in which I live."
Tucker served as a Notre Dame women's soccer tri-captain for the past two seasons, helping the Fighting Irish to four consecutive NCAA Championship berths (2010-13), including the 2010 national title and a spot in the 2012 NCAA quarterfinals. She appeared in all 92 of Notre Dame's matches during her career, starting 87 times while finishing with 19 goals and 14 assists.
The 2014 ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and recipient of a 2014 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, as well as a finalist for the 2014 Wooden Citizenship Cup, Tucker earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree from Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business in May with a spotless 4.000 grade-point average as an accounting major and theology minor, while receiving Dean's List honors all eight semesters she attended the University. She also was a two-time first-team Capital One Academic All-America selection in 2012 and 2013, making her only the 15th Notre Dame student-athlete in the 127-year history of Fighting Irish athletics to earn first-team Academic All-America honors twice (and just the third women's soccer player).
In addition, Tucker became the first student-athlete in Notre Dame history to sweep all four of the University's major athletics honors in the same year -- the Byron V. Kanaley Award (senior monogram athlete most exemplary as a student and leader), Francis Patrick O'Connor Award (student-athlete who embodies the true spirit of Notre Dame through contributions to the team), the Community Champion Award (recognizing contributions by student-athletes to the University community and community at large) and the Top Gun Award (highest senior student-athlete GPA).
On campus, Tucker was highly invested in helping younger Notre Dame students reach their goals through the Notre Dame Peer Advisor Program, in which she met with 50 freshmen to discuss their academic progress and social concerns. What's more, within Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, Tucker served two years as a teaching assistant in two courses -- Managerial Economics and Information Technology Management.
Tucker also was an active member of two highly-regarded Notre Dame student-athlete groups -- the Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
Tucker, one of more than 100 student-athletes representing 26 Fighting Irish athletic teams, participated in the Rosenthal Leadership Academy for two years (2011-12 and 2013-14). The Rosenthal Leadership Academy is one of the nation's premier leadership development programs in collegiate athletics, developing, challenging and supporting student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics and life. The Rosenthal Leadership Academy provides comprehensive and cutting edge leadership-development programming through interactive workshops, 360-degree feedback, one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring and educational resources.
Tucker also served two years on the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) board. Along with fellow women's soccer captain Katie Naughton, Tucker was selected to participate in the 58-member group. The SAAC meets once a month for about two hours to discuss critical issues that affect the experiences of student-athletes. The topics include NCAA legislation, career opportunities, networking, hazing and healthy nutrition. The group initiates new programming ideas, participates in community service projects and acts as the student-athlete group liaison to athletic administration.
The SAAC promotes efficient communication between the Notre Dame Department of Athletics administration and the student-athlete population. The SAAC gives student-athletes an opportunity to effectively communicate with the athletic department staff while providing suggestions and feedback on programs/services designed to meet student-athlete needs. The SAAC provides and promotes service to fellow student-athletes, the University community and the greater community at large.
Off the pitch, Tucker donated an incredible amount of time to numerous local, regional and even national community service projects, in addition to being an active contributor in several campus groups, both inside and outside the Notre Dame athletics department.
Tucker was closely involved in the Irish Fight For Life program, which pairs teams and student-athletes with a patient in the pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit at South Bend's Memorial Hospital, providing the patients and their families with support as they undergoing treatment for various types of cancers.
Tucker also participated in the Adopt-a-Family, Ronald McDonald House, Pediatric Christmas Party and Perley Elementary Tutor programs. What's more, she was instrumental in leading meet-and-greet events at local area middle schools, as well as soccer clinics throughout the South Bend area, notably with Michiana Special Olympians.
In addition, Tucker was part of the Notre Dame Tax Assistance Program, which annually goes out into the South Bend and surrounding communities to help low-income and disabled citizens with the preparation of the tax returns.
Following graduation, Tucker is poised to begin full-time employment as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in Chicago, with an eye on pursuing graduate studies at Harvard Business School in the near future.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director