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McKenry Named to Wallace Watch List

November 22, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Junior Michael McKenry was named to the Preseason Wallace Watch List by the College Baseball Foundation on Tuesday, an award presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year.

McKenry, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound catcher, batted .328 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 49 games last season, his first as a starter behind the plate. He showed tremendous power during the season, becoming the first Blue Raider to belt a home run into the football stadium during a game since Floyd Stadium's renovation in 1998.

The Knoxville, Tenn., native also scored 44 runs, had 11 doubles and walked 20 times for the 32-23 club. His most impressive statistic may have been throwing out 38 percent of attempted base stealers.

The Farragut High School product is one of only six catchers among the 130 nominees for the Brooks Wallace Award, while McKenry joins P.J. Walters (P, South Alabama), Taylor Fowler (P, Arkansas State) and Elih Villanueva (P, Florida International) as the only nominees from the Sun Belt Conference.

"This is a tremendous honor and I am very pleased to be recognized heading into the season," McKenry said. "My personal goal this season is for our team to do something that's never been done at Middle Tennessee and that's when a regional. We talk about winning championships but our expectations are a little higher this season, to go further than ever before."

The Wallace Watch will be trimmed to 12 semifinalists by late May. Then the selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals at a press conference in Omaha, Neb, at the College World Series. The finalists, their head coaches and their parents will be invited to Lubbock, Texas, for a schedule of special events tied to the award banquet, which will again be nationally televised by Fox Sports Network.

Dedicated to the memory of former Texas Tech shortstop and assistant coach, Brooks Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Texas Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District Six his senior year when he led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament.

After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984 he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, Texas, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.

The selection committee for the Wallace Award is comprised of a national panel of preeminent coaches, sports information directors, former winners and beat media who most closely follow the sport. Screening Committee members will evaluate the candidates and will continue their review throughout the entire baseball season. The list will expand and contract during the regular season and additional Wallace Watch candidates may be added as the season progresses. Voting for the three finalists and the Wallace Award winner will be conducted by confidential balloting, with totals tabulated by the J.W.Anderson & Associates accounting firm in Lubbock, Texas.

A full list of the Wallace Watch Preseason List may be found at www.collegebaseballfoundation.org.

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