Release: May 3, 2004 Clarksville, Ark.-Ricky Herrera was named the 2003-2004 Male Athlete of the Year, announced by athletics director Dave De Hart at Friday's athletic banquet.
The Athlete of the Year award is given to one male and one female student who excels athletically and academically while demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities. Herrera, a member of the men’s soccer team, led the Eagles to the 2003 ASC Championship and the school’s first appearance in a NCAA tournament. A native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Herrera was a four-time ASC All-East Division first team performer and a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America. He was twice named to the Academic All-America team. He is the school’s career leader in goals (54), games played (83) and game-winning goals (14). He ranks second in career points (128) and fourth in career assists (17) at Ozarks. He led his team to a conference-best 59-24-2 record over the last four seasons while helping the Eagles appear in four consecutive conference tournaments. A three-time member of the ASC All-Academic team, Herrera will graduate this May with a Business Administration degree. "Our athlete of the year award encompasses all aspects of being a true student-athlete," said De Hart. "And these two athletes have certainly shown that. They were the most complete athletes on campus, having excelled in athletics and academics while displaying fine leadership skills. This particular year our athletes of the year are from two different ends of the spectrum. Mandi is only a sophomore and warrants the award for her current accomplishments while Ricky warrants the award more for his career and this year’s team championship. It’s an absolute honor and privilege to work with athletes at this level with that kind of character and those kind of accomplishments."