Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A tremendous award for the ever-fading dual-sport athlete

Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were much more known for their accomplishments on the football field. However, most know that in addition to their successful NFL careers, each played in the major leagues. Jackson played with the Kansas City Royals and Sanders with the Atlanta Braves. Who can you name since then that has really made an impact in more than one sport? Certainly you could name a few who have excelled in one sport and put effort into another sport, but didn't quite live up. See Michael Jordan's minor league experience with the Birmingham Barons. Or check Terrell Owens' or Roy Jones, Jr.'s brief semi-professional basketball careers. Popular "X-Gamer" Shaun White excels with skateboards and snowboards at the professional level.

At the college level, we've seen it a little more often, but generally speaking, those who can perform at a high level in more than one sport are becoming more and more of a rarity. Division I and II athletes at the NCAA level are sometimes kept from doing two sports by the sport offering the scholarship, or we might see more. At the Division III level, it is more common since no student is bound by an athletic scholarship, however, it is seldom seen, much less done at a high level.

Jake Mullin became the first non-track athlete at McMurry to win the American Southwest Conference Male Athlete of the Year Friday. Read the official press release here. He received honorable mention for his play at quarterback for McMurry, but that award didn't do justice to his accomplishments on the gridiron. He hadn't taken a snap in three years prior to the season, the last coming in a run-heavy Wing-T offense at Burleson High. He proceeded in his first collegiate game in 2009 to break McMurry's single-game record for passing yardage with 479 setting up a season where he tossed 25 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in nine games to accompany 2,749 yards passing. He also helped a McMurry team with a winless 2008 an a two-win 2007 take four games in a row in 2009. With his rare combination of accuracy, arm strength and mobility, Mullin will likely turn a few more heads in the 2010 season.

On the baseball field, he earned national recognition as an all-American by D3baseball.com where he hit .462, hit 11 home runs, 19 doubles and 44 RBI's to go along with an on-base percentage that pushed .600. On a team that suffered some offensively challenged spurts throughout the season, Mullin was the main-stay. And, his quarterback arm in right field is rarely challenged.

Since he sat out of football and played two seasons of baseball, he lost one year as quarterback, so the upcoming 2010 season will mark his junior year on the field while the 2011 baseball season in the spring will mark his last on the diamond.

Enjoy the YouTube Video of McMurry football coach Hal Mumme and baseball coach John Byington reacting to the news of the award.

Stay tuned ...