Recent DePauw University graduate Paige Gooch (Fort Mitchell,
KY/Beechwood) has been selected as the recipient of
the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Pam Smith Award.
Gooch, who was a four-year member of the Tigers' women's golf team, served as the team captain since her sophomore year and capped off her career this past spring as a WGCA first-team All-American selection. A three-time All-NCAC selection, Gooch was voted the NCAC Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014 after she won back-to-back individual titles at the NCAC Golf Championship Series. She finished her career at DPU with a 79.02 scoring average over 98 rounds, which broke the previous school record set by Sarah Gates '07. In 12 total tournaments during the 2013-14 season, Gooch earned champion medalist honors on five different occasions and posted five additional top-10 finishes. Gooch, a seven-time NCAC Golfer of the Week selection, won 10 total tournaments during her career to go along with 19 top-five finishes and 30 top-10 efforts. Gooch jumped onto the collegiate scene in 2011 as she collected three major awards during her freshman campaign. While competing in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), Gooch won both Freshman and Player of the Year honors, and then capped off her 2011 season by being named the WGCA Freshman of the Year.
In the classroom, Gooch graduated with a 3.68 grade-point-average as an economics major and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa scholastic honor society. She was also a member of numerous other honor society groups on campus, including Chi Alpha Sigma (Athletics), Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics) and the Order of Omega Greek. Following voting from members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Gooch was a 2014 first-team selection on the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team. Gooch, who was a four-time WGCA All-America Scholar honoree, also won the 2014 Amy Hasbrook Award as the top female student-athlete at DePauw. Her academic excellence landed her two opportunities to gain real-life work experience as she participated in the Management Fellow Honors Internship Program with Eli Lilly and in a Proctor and Gamble market research project for CoverGirl Makeup.
In addition to her many athletic and academic accomplishments, Gooch also designated a great deal of her time to community service efforts. Since arriving on campus in the fall of 2011, she was an active member of the Alpha Chi Omega Domestic Violence Awareness group, which participated in fundraising events to raise awareness and money for the issue. She also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in 2013 and was a Quantitative Reasoning Tutor on campus since 2012. After having the opportunity to participate in the Management Fellows Honors Program, Gooch gave back in the 2013-14 academic year as she assisted incoming students into the program with resume preparation, mock interviews and other job workshops. She also served in many leadership roles during her collegiate years, including a term as President of Alpha Chi Omega in 2012-13 and as a member of the Presidential Ambassador committee in 2013-14.
Gooch was one of eight outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The candidates were:
- Alison Buzzard, Women's Soccer, Allegheny College
- Tiffany Davis, Track & Field, Denison University
- Maureen Hirt, Women's Basketball, Kenyon College
- Sarah Loyer, Softball, Hiram College
- Sarah Moss, Track & Field, Allegheny College
- Francine Murzynski, Women's Lacrosse, Wittenberg University
- Nicole Sever, Field Hockey, The College of Wooster
The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAC history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons, and 11 NCAC regular season championships.
As the NCAC winner, Gooch will be nominated, along with Denison's Tiffany Davis, for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate one distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis October 19, 2014.