Feb. 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Three Florida State student-athletes - Deividas Dulkys, Katie Rybakova and Kimberly Williams - have been selected as recipients of the 2012 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
ACC commissioner John Swofford announced the winners - three from each league school - each of whom will receive a $5,000 scholarship as they pursue graduate degrees. The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award honors three former ACC commissioners, the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan.
Dulkys, Rybakova and Williams were selected for performing with distinction in the classroom and in their respective sports, in addition to demonstrating exemplary conduct to the community. Collectively, they are among the most decorated student-athletes in their respective sports of men's basketball, women's tennis and women's track & field.
Beyond their respective representation of the men's basketball, women's tennis and women's track & field programs, Dulkys, Rybakova and Williams, came to Florida State from diverse backgrounds and found common ground by achieving at the highest level academically and athletically.
"That's the great thing about being at an institution as prominent as Florida State," said Steve Duzan, Interim Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services. "It is a place where we're going to recruit the best student-athletes in the country and the world. To see that, and get students from different nations coming into one place, it's a great opportunity for our students, our staff and our university to have that experience, because that's what the collegiate experience is really about. It's about being diverse, it's about being educated and it's about - when it comes to Division I athletics - competing at the highest level and doing that in all fashions."
Dulkys, a native of Silute, Lithuania, has been an instrumental component in the best four-year ACC run of Florida State men's basketball in school history under coach Leonard Hamilton. He will earn his degree in business management.
"Deividas is a player who has worked extremely hard both on and off the court, has played on three NCAA Tournament teams and will finish his career as one of the winningest players in school history," Hamilton said. "He has been successful on the court, but more importantly he has been successful in the classroom and will receive his degree in April -- achieving one of his goals in only four years. Because of his work ethic, I have no doubt that Deividas will be very successful as he moves on from Florida State University. We are certainly going to miss the maturity he brings to our program."
Rybakova was born in Russia but has lived in the United States nearly her entire life. The Coral Springs, Fla. resident holds the FSU single-season record for singles victories (28), ranks second in career singles wins (103) and helped the Seminoles to four consecutive NCAA postseason appearances. She earned her degree this past spring in English education and aspires to be a professor.
"I'm very proud of Katie and her receiving the ACC postgraduate scholarship," FSU women's tennis coach Jennifer Hyde said. "She has been one of the brightest and most academically driven student-athletes I've ever coached. It's great to see her being rewarded for an honor that she has certainly earned. She demonstrates exactly what it means to be a female student-athlete in the women's tennis program, not only achieving at very high levels on the court but in the classroom as well."
Williams is arguably the most decorated triple jump and long jump specialist in NCAA history. The effervescent Kingston, Jamaica native is a five-time NCAA champion in those two events, captured 12 ACC titles and earned All-American honors 11 times. A graduate with her degree in sport management, Williams has earned Scholar Athlete awards both nationally and from the ACC among a multitude of honors.
"Kimmi is one of the most competitive persons that I've ever known, and she's taken that competitive fire into the classroom, as she obviously has in athletics," said FSU track & field coach Bob Braman. "We are all extremely proud of her as both a champion and as a phenomenal person."
Collectively, it is a group of distinction in every way.
"You're getting individuals that are the best at what they do from around the world and putting them in one place," Duzan said. "We're proud of that and what these student-athletes have accomplished."
Deividas Dulkys, Business Management - Men's Basketball - Silute, Lithuania
Katie Rybakova, English Education - Women's Tennis - Coral Springs, Florida
Kimberly Williams, Sport Administration - Track & Field - Kingston, Jamaica