MARSHALL, Texas - Leaving East Texas Baptist University as the most prolific athlete in the NCAA Division III era, Conner Combs cemented his name as the best-ever for the Tigers by gaining his second straight CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year for NCAA Division III baseball. This award goes to the top athlete in NCAA Division III for athletic and academic awards and honors. Combs is the third ETBU student-athlete to earn Academic All-American this year as Mallory Sanders (VB, 3rd team) and Jayme Perez (SB, 1st team) were also voted to their respective teams. Three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in one year is the most, ever, for ETBU athletics.
Combs becomes the first athlete to win the award, twice, since going to divisional awards in 2011-12 and is the first baseball player to do this since Nebraska’s Jeff Leise won the University Division in 2002 and 2003. Combs finished his academic career with a bachelor’s degree in three years in business and a 3.97 grade point average and then gained a Master’s in Business Administration in his final year ending with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in graduate school.
“As a sports information director and knowing how hard it is to get any CoSIDA academic award, for Conner to be the top academic player two years in a row is quite remarkable. His accolades in his career give him a chance to be a CoSIDA Academic Hall of Famer in the future. I am so proud of him and what he has done at ETBU, in his life, and for the baseball program. He is one of those athletes that doesn’t come around very often that is of a special kind. He will be missed greatly next year,” said Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications Adam P. Ledyard.
On top of the academic awards, Combs is a four-time All-American, twice by D3baseball.com and ABCA. He was also voted the American Southwest Conference baseball “Player of the Year” in consecutive seasons for 2016 and 2017. For his team, he guided ETBU to their first-ever appearance in the ASC Championship series and received a regional ranking.
Below is part of the release from CoSIDA about Combs receiving the award.
“First baseman Conner Combs of East Texas Baptist University headlines the 2017 Academic All-America® Division III Baseball Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Combs repeats as the winner of the CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America® of the Year award for baseball. The 2016 winner of the award, Combs is the first person to win the CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America® of the Year award in baseball twice since its creation in 2011-12. He is the first repeat winner in baseball overall since Nebraska’s Jeff Leise won the University Division Academic All-America® of the Year award in 2002 and 2003.
The CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America® program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division III national governance structure, to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2016-17 Division III Academic All-America® teams program.
Combs is a two-time first team Academic All-America selection, also earning first team accolades in 2016. A graduate student at East Texas Baptist this year, he recently earned his master’s degree in business administration with a 4.0 G.P.A. In May 2016, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business with a 3.97 G.P.A.
A first baseman for the Tigers, Combs was recently named the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season. A native of Southlake, Texas, he compiled a .400 batting average this year with 54 runs and 45 RBI. Combs registered 18 stolen bases with 10 home runs in his senior campaign. He ranked among the top-25 in Division III in total bases (ninth), runs (10th), hits (16th) and home runs (21st) at the conclusion of the Tigers’ 2017 season.
Combs was a second team American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-America selection in 2016 and 2017. He earned third team All-America recognition from D3baseball.com in both 2016 and 2017. He was a first team All-West Region selection by both the ABCA and D3baseball.com for the second-consecutive season. Combs also received the inaugural HeroSports D3 Hero of the Year award.”
Listed is Combs Awards at ETBU
- 2-time CoSIDA D3 Academic All-America of the Year
- 2-time CoSIDA All-American 1st Team
- 2-time CoSIDA All-District 1st Team
- 3-time ASC All-Academic
- ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete designee (2016 – baseball)
- 2-time ASC Baseball Player of the Year
- ASC Athlete of the Year (2016)
- 2-time ABCA All-American 2nd team
- 2-time D3baseball.com All-American 3rd team
- 2-time ABCA & D3baseball.com All-West Region 1st team
- Inaugural HeroSports D3 “Hero of the Year”
- SABR Carroll Beringer College Division Player of the Year (2016)
- 2017 D3baseball.com Preseason All-American
- ASC Player of the Week (2016)
- D3baseball.com Team of the Week (2016)
- ASC Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor (ETBU designee – 2016)