Whiting Named 18th-Annual Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete of the Year

January 12, 2005 

AMHERST, MA - Former Amherst College football, baseball and indoor track standout Paul Whiting (Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo) was named the NCAA Division III male recipient of the 18th-Annual Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, as announced by the University & Northwest Sertoma Club of Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday. The award recognizes one male and one female student-athlete from NCAA Divisions I, II and III for excellence in academics, athletics and community service. 

Whiting, who graduated in the spring of 2004 with a degree in neuroscience, is the first-ever recipient from Amherst College. He joins Division I winners Michael Munoz (University of Tennessee) and Jennifer Reck (University of Virginia), Division II winners Brian Castagna (Bentley College) and Lindsay Hinson (Wingate University) and fellow Division III winner Tara Schmitt (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point) on this year's list of honorees. 

"It's a great tribute to Paul and all that he's accomplished," says Amherst head football coach E.J. Mills. "He's won so many awards, but being recognized on a national level like this is a fitting conclusion to his time at Amherst." 

The awards will be presented on Friday, Jan. 28 at the Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center in Columbus. For ticket information, call (614) 268-4003. 

Whiting has earned a wealth of honors during his collegiate career. Most recently, he was the lone NCAA Division III male recipient of the 2003-04 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Robbins Scholar-Athlete Award, which recognizes one male and one female student-athlete representing ECAC schools in Divisions I, II and III for outstanding achievement in community service, academics and athletics. He was a First-Team CoSIDA Academic All-America and a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in football and was one of just 11 players from NCAA Divisions I-AA, II, III and the NAIA and the only player from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) named to the 12th-Annual American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, which honors college football players across the country for their dedication and commitment to community service. Whiting was presented the DeOrmand "Tuss" McLaughry Award as the outstanding scholar-athlete in Western Massachusetts by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and was the first-ever non-Division I winner of the College Sports Television (CSTV) National Student-Athlete of the Week Award. Upon graduating from Amherst, Whiting won two of the most prestigious Commencement awards the college has to offer - the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy (awarded annually to the member of the senior class who has brought, during his or her four years, the greatest honor in athletics to his or her alma mater) and the Psi Upsilon Prize (awarded to the member of the graduating class considered preeminent in scholarship, leadership, athletics and character). As a junior, Whiting earned the college's prestigious Samuel Walley Brown Scholarship, presented annually to one class member in recognition of leadership, scholarship, athletic participation and character. 

His commitment to community service has been equally, if not more, impressive. He served on the Amherst Christian Fellowship leadership team, meeting weekly with four other students and a faculty advisor to plan and carry out events, coordinate the budget and manage all funds allocated to the group. He was a student-leader for Athletes in Action, which is affiliated with the Campus Crusade for Christ, where he organized, prepared and led weekly small group Bible study for student-athletes on campus. At the First Baptist Church of Amherst, Whiting participated in weekly college bible study and helped prepare lunch for the entire congregation, as well as visitors to the church, on several occasions. He spent Saturdays and Sundays cooking, serving and eating meals with homeless people and low-income families at Not Bread Alone, a soup kitchen in Amherst, and participated in Shoes That Fit, a local community service organization that matches needy children with gifts during the holiday season. As if that weren't enough, Whiting organized Amherst Christian Fellowship's participation in Operation Christmas Child, an international project run by Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Through Operation Christmas Child, Amherst Christian Fellowship collected shoeboxes full of toys and shipped them to needy children across the world. He also organized Amherst Christian Fellowship's participation in the Thirty-Hour Famine, a fundraising effort for World Vision, a Christian ministry with the sole purpose of providing for the needs of children in third-world countries. As part of the Thirty-Hour Famine, Whiting personally raised over $1,200. Last summer, he played baseball for Athletes in Action, touring Nicaragua, Venezuela and Curacao, while giving baseball clinics and acting as a Christian missionary. He currently works with the Center for Student Missions (CSM) in Houston, Texas, a non-denominational urban ministry organization that connects high school and junior high students with local community organizations on short-term urban service projects. 

"In all my years in collegiate athletics, I've never come across a more deserving recipient for an award like this than Paul Whiting," says Amherst sports information director Kevin Graber. "Despite his impressive achievements, Paul remains humble, respectful and - as illustrated by his work in the community and his involvement with the church - he genuinely cares about people." 

On the playing fields, Whiting was one of the most decorated athletes in recent Amherst history, especially on the gridiron, where he earned First-Team All-NESCAC, First-Team ECAC Division III Northeast All-Star and Football Gazette All-East Region honors as a senior defensive back. An All-NESCAC centerfielder on the baseball diamond as well, Whiting helped lead Amherst to its first-ever NESCAC Championship and first NCAA Tournament berth since 1999. On the track, he was an ECAC and New England qualifier in the triple jump and broke an outdoor school record as part of Amherst's 4x200-meter relay team. 

Whiting plans on enrolling in medical school next fall and is considering a career as an emergency room doctor. With that in mind, he interned as a scribe in the emergency department at the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. during the summer of 2003, where he learned the proper procedures for writing medical charts and observed procedures performed elsewhere in the hospital. During the previous summer, he worked as a research intern at the Whitehead Institute at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., where he learned basic molecular biology laboratory techniques and assisted graduate and postdoctoral students in their research. During the summer of 2001, Whiting worked as an observer/translator in the Department of Neurology at the UC Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, Calif., shadowing attending neurologists and other residents, observing various procedures and translating for Spanish-speaking patients at a weekly outpatient Epilepsy clinic. 

As a senior at Mission Viejo High School, he was presented the John Wooden Scholar-Athlete Award for all of Southern California at the 1999 John R. Wooden Basketball Classic. Whiting also won his high school football team's scholar-athlete award as well as the Mission Viejo High School Heart of a Diablo Award, which recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and extracurricular activities.