McKinnis excels at two sports, academics
- Categorized in: Athletics News
By Ashley Boyd, Tuscaloosa News
TUSCALOOSA | Playing college basketball and volleyball on an academic scholarship is a balancing act for Stillman College sophomore Jamilia McKinnis. While that load might be stressful for some, McKinnis has been able to carry it with honors.
McKinnis, 20, was recognized both on and off the court after being named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference most valuable player in volleyball and also making the All-SIAC academic team with her 4.0 grade-point average in biology.
Whether she's on the road, traveling to a game or in the classroom studying biology, McKinnis keeps her eye on the ball, literally. Her dedication to sports and school has paid off after helping lead the Stillman volleyball and basketball teams make it to the SIAC tournaments.
“She's a tremendous athlete, and you would never tell by her accomplishments from her demeanor. She's done a lot in both sports and in the classroom as well and is a class act,” said Stillman's new women's basketball coach, C.C. Moorer.
While McKinnis isn't the first Stillman athlete to play two sports, athletics director Curtis Campbell said she is recognized both within the conference and at the state level for her accomplishments.
“She's the epitome of what a student-athlete should be,” Campbell said.
“They don't get much better than her character-wise, playing-wise or academic-wise,” Phillips added.
When asked what she was most proud of, McKinnis couldn't pick a sport. McKinnis has been active since an early age and started playing volleyball and basketball by chance when a neighbor invited her to a volleyball practice. Volleyball and basketball weren’t her only two sports, but McKinnis was also a cheerleader in middle school and made the dance team in high school.
While she couldn’t cheer and play sports at the same time, she remained committed to her studies and decided early on to become a pharmacist. Coming to Stillman for her undergraduate degree, McKinnis said, was the ideal fit in that it allowed her to concentrate on both.
“I like that the classes at Stillman are small, so I get more one-on-one with my teachers,’ she said. “It takes some dedication and motivation. Instead of doing nothing, I do my work on my trips.”
Mary Jane Krotzer, Stillman’s dean of arts and sciences and an associate professor of biology, said that few student-athletes have McKinnis’ level of commitment to schoolwork. Krotzer adds that McKinnis will work as a CVS pharmacy tech in Mobile over the summer during her break from practices.
“Being a two-sport athlete, of course, has a tremendous pull on a student,” Krotzer said. “She always seems to put her academics as a priority. That’s something that sets her apart.”
Stillman students recognized McKinnis by voting her as the the school’s best all-around female student-athlete on campus this year. While McKinnis is enjoying a short break before offseason volleyball practice begins in May and basketball resumes practice in October, she’s ready to get started.
“She’s an excellent role model for all student-athletes to show that just because you participate in a sport, it doesn’t mean you can slack on the academic side,” Campbell said. “It’s really important for student-athletes to concentrate in the classroom so they can go out and have productive careers. She’s providing it can be done successfully.”
Said Moorer, “Watching her in just a short period of time, I see what she brings and has. I hope her ability and leadership rubs off on the other players.
Email to Friend
Fill in the form below to send this sports news to a friend: