Achten and Jenny Connolly (University of Tennessee-Knoxville All-American swimmer) were noted as the Female Amateur Athletes of the Year, according to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame website.
They will join Vanderbilt basketball star John Jenkins, who is the Male Amateur Athlete of the Year.
The Lady Flames also received their highest recognition when they joined the Vanderbilt baseball team as the Amateur Teams of the Year.
The TSHOF named UTK’s Pat Summitt at the Tennessean of the Year. Several other awards, including the Male and Female Professional Athletes and Teams of the Year, will be distributed on Saturday, May 19 when the TSHOF holds its annual banquet at the Renaissance in Nashville. Tickets for the banquet are available by contacting Lynn Toy at 614-202-3996.
Achten was named the NAIA Player of the Year in both her junior and senior seasons, the first NAIA player to accomplish the feat twice. She is an Academic All-American. Connolly recorded more than her share of accolades in the Southeastern Conference swimming events and also on the national level.
Achten, a native of Franklin, Tenn., had her Lee University jersey retired this past February. She owns the Lee and NAIA record for most career assists with 91 and was named to the NAIA All-American First Team for four consecutive years.
“I am very pleased for Jamie and I think the nature of this award just demonstrates the type of career that she has had at Lee,” said coach Matt Yelton after learning about the special honors received by Achten and his team.
“But what I think is so unique about Jamie is that not only was she the most successful player we have had in terms of athletic success, she was also the most successful player we have ever had in terms of academic success.”
The Lee coach added that Achten is truly an unique athlete in that she sets such high standards for herself and her team.
“She then proceeded to accomplish all the goals she set out to achieve. I don’t think I would be out of line in saying, having had Jamie Achten play for me made me a better coach, but it also made me a better person.”
Achten, who recently was named the winner of the Dr. Paul Conn Award representing the top female student athlete at Lee University, said “I’m honored and humbled to be chosen for this award (TSHOF Female Athlete of the Year). I know the recommendation is largely due to my team’s effort over the last four years and our success on the field. I was privileged to play at Lee with such talented teams and coach. Though I feel undeserving, I am very thankful. To God be the glory.”
Not only did Yelton and his Lady Flames become the first NAIA women’s soccer team to record four straight national titles, they also won four straight Southern States Athletic Conference regular season and conference crowns.
They are 37-0 in league play over the past 10 years and have won 10 straight tournament championships. Before Achten was named the NAIA National Player of the Year, Christine Christensen won the same honor in 2008.
Yelton said being placed at the top of the list with great NCAA Division I athletes and teams shows the amazing respect his players and teams have earned over the past four years.
“Everyone around the world knows what coach Summitt stands for,” he noted. “There will be many other great athletes and coaches on the same stage that evening. It really hasn’t sunk in as to what this means to our university and our many gifted players.”