UWF tennis player Kevin Ducros wins GSC Commissioner's Trophy
Related Item: Official GSC Release
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – University of West Florida men’s tennis player Kevin Ducros made history Monday night at the Gulf South Conference Annual Awards Banquet, as the four-time ITA All-American became just the second men’s tennis player in league history to win the GSC Commissioner’s Trophy. UWF athletics was also presented with its men’s and women’s all-sports trophies for the 2012-13 season at the banquet.
Ducros (Aix-en-Provence, France) is just the second men’s tennis player in league history to earn the commissioner’s trophy and the first from West Florida. The first men’s tennis GSC Commissioner’s Trophy winner was Vesa Ponkka from former league member Tennessee-Martin in 1989-90.
“Kevin had a great career at the University of West Florida,” said UWF athletic director Dave Scott. “He graduated and is now working on his MBA. He played during some of the most successful years we’ve had in men’s tennis. He had a season-ending injury which could have ended his career, but he came back and not only competed but he played the No. 1 spot and led us to the national finals two years in a row. He’s a great representative of the institution.”
Ducros is now the sixth Argonaut across all sports to win the commissioner’s trophy. The previous five are Krissy Styrna (softball, 2001-02), Kevin Warrick (men’s golf, 2002-03), Lindsay Nemanich (women’s soccer, 2006-07), Suzana Cavalcante (women’s tennis, 2007-08) and Courtney Jones (women’s soccer, 2009-10).
“Kevin has been instrumental in the success our program has achieved,” said UWF head coach Derrick Racine. “He is not only a great player and an excellent student, but he is also a great leader on our team and a role model in our community.”
Ducros was eligible for consideration for the commissioner’s trophy after he was named to the GSC “Top Ten.” The top ten awards are presented to the most outstanding male and female student-athletes across all sports in the league based on athletic, academic and community service criteria. Joining Ducros in the top ten was UWF women’s soccer player Monica Malavassi.
UWF was also recognized for sweeping the men’s and women’s all-sports trophies for the second straight year and the fourth time in history. The all-sports trophies are awarded based on each school’s performance across every league sport. The women earned 41.5 points to finish seven points ahead of Alabama Huntsville (34.5), while the men tied with Valdosta State at 29.5 points to earn the first split of the men’s all-sports trophy in the GSC’s 42-year history.
GSC “Top Ten” Profiles (by Chris Elkins, UWF Athletic Communications)
Kevin Ducros - Men’s Tennis - Aix-en-Provence, France
Kevin Ducros is one of the most decorated student-athletes to compete at the University of West Florida in past decade. The four-time singles All-American, three-time doubles All-American and four-time All-Gulf South Conference selection has made a name for himself on the court across the country.
However, Ducros is more than just an athlete. The native of France has excelled in the classroom and made an impact in the community during his five years in Pensacola.
Ducros was an immediate success on the court as a freshman, earning All-American status and being named the GSC East Division Freshman of the Year. He continued that success his sophomore year before injuring his knee in the beginning of his junior season.
The Argonaut was awarded a medical redshirt, and he bounced back from the injury to be named the No. 7 player in Division II by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and lead UWF to an NCAA Finals appearance in the spring of 2012.
Ducros continued his success his senior year while continuing to battle chronic knee problems en route to finishing the season ranked No. 9 in the nation, leading UWF to an NCAA semifinals appearance and being named the ITA South Region Senior Player of the Year.
Ducros graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2012 and maintained a 3.22 cumulative GPA after a semester of graduate school during the spring of 2013. He was named a unanimous pick to the GSC All-Academic Team.
Off the court and outside the classroom, Ducros has volunteered at numerous charity events including the annual Pensacola Pink Ribbon Tennis Tournament to promote breast cancer awareness, the annual Pensacola Autism Association’s community fundraiser and the Pensacola Sports Association’s annual Racquet Roundup clinic for children ages 6-12.
In addition, Ducros has spent time as a volunteer soccer coach for a local children’s team. His duties included scheduling games, coordinating referees and field use, organizing trainings and running practices.
Ducros exemplifies what the University of West Florida, the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II looks for in a student-athlete.
Monica Malavassi - Women’s Soccer - San Jose, Costa Rica
Monica Malavassi has not only been one of the most successful women’s soccer players at an already highly successful program, but she has been an ambassador for the University of West Florida, the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II.
Malavassi is a model student-athlete on and off the field. From helping the Argonaut women’s soccer team win its first national championship to volunteering in her native Costa Rica, and from winning championships for the Costa Rican national team to earning numerous academic honors in the classroom on the UWF campus, Malavassi has excelled in everything she has attempted.
The fall of 2012 graduate spent four seasons at UWF in which she earned numerous athletic and academic honors and helped the women’s soccer program enjoy its most successful stretch in its history. As a freshman in 2009, she appeared in 20 of 23 matches and played more than 1,000 minutes as UWF advanced to the NCAA semifinals. From 2009-12, she was named All-America once, all-region three times and all-conference three times, including two first team nods in 2010 and 2011.
After being sidelined with an injury for the first six games of her senior season, Malavassi made an immediate impact upon her return, scoring four goals in her first four games back. Her biggest moment came in the NCAA semifinal when she gave UWF a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 77th minute. UWF went on to win a national championship in their next match.
After being limited by an injury, she still earned second team all-conference and all-region honors. Although the injury slowed her down on the field, it never affected her in the classroom.
Malavassi was named to the CoSIDA academic all-district team and the GSC all-academic team for a third consecutive year.
On top of her success at UWF, during the past four years Malavassi won numerous club semi-pro championships and served as a co-captain on the Costa Rica national soccer and basketball teams. She helped lead the Costa Rican basketball team to a Central America games gold medal in March of 2013.
The student-athlete was never selfish despite all of her success. During her time at UWF she spent countless hours volunteering at “Junior Argos” soccer clinics, volunteering with Futbol Consultants, a Costa Rican organization that helps student-athletes find scholarships and opportunities in American universities, and volunteering in a leadership role with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In addition she helped spearhead an equipment drive for children in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.
Malavassi has been a standout student-athlete in all aspects of the word.
For information on all UWF athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.