ATLANTA - The SAA announced the 2016-17 SAA Man and Woman of the Year presented by Summit Management Corporation and Gray Stanton of Hendrix and Mason Paas of Centre each won SAA Man of the Year honors while Rhodes' Mackenzie Cohen claimed SAA Woman of the Year status.
The SAA Man and Woman of the Year presented by Summit Management Corporation are the highest honors the league bestows. Stanton, Paas and Cohen are the fifth recipients of the prestigious honor and they each perfectly embody the spirit of the award with their incredible contributions to their respective instituitions.
2016-17 SAA Woman of the Year - Mackenzie Cohen of Rhodes
After helping the Rhodes women's golf program secure their third National Championship in four years, Mackenzie Cohen (pictured at right) graduates as the most decorated athlete in the SAA's young history. A three-time All-SAA First Team performer, Cohen made the most of her Rhodes experience, not only posting low scores on the golf course, but also as a lead member of the Rhodes Singers, the college's award winning chorus.
Cohen's daily schedule is one of a true student-athlete as she practices golf in the morning, attends class in the early afternoon, takes voice and instrument lessons in the late afternoon, then participates in one of her numerous other activities in the early evening. In the midst of Cohen's frenetic schedule, she's managed to achieve a 3.87 cumulative grade point average and she will graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Music and minor in Business.
In last year's NCAA tournament, Cohen shot a 3-under par 69 in the 3rd round to tie the individual tournament low round record and she was named WGCA 1st Team All American. In 2015 Cohen was the SAA tournament champion and Player of the Year. She was selected WGCA 2nd Team All American. In August, 2015, Mackenzie was the only NCAA Division 3 player to qualify and play in the prestigious US Women's Amateur. She has been recognized 1st Team All SAA each year at Rhodes. Additionally, Cohen has won 7 tournaments during her career and she is a four-time SAA and WGCA All-Academic Scholar.
Outside of her golfing and academic successes, Cohen has also thrived as a community leader. As a Mike Curb Institute for Music Community Engagement Fellow for three years, Cohen designed and started a music theory component to the guitar club at Sherwood Middle Schoo, led community engagement team in weekly meetings and helped with marketing for the concert series An Evening at Elvis' (now The Audubon Sessions).
Cohen is also an active member of the Montview Church in Denver, Colo. where she went on mission trips to Montana (summer camp help), West Virginia (flood relief work), Washington (worked on an Indian reservation), Miami (worked with the DOOR organization) and New Orleans (building houses for Katrina victims).
She also serves as UKirk Campus Ministries president and musician where she helps plan weekly meetings, as well as various events throughout the year as she serves as leader and mentor to other members.
In a joint effort to honor the Southern Athletic Association's most elite student-athletes, Summit Management Corporation and the SAA partnered to create the annual SAA Man and Woman of the Year. The awards, selected by a committee comprised of Summit Management and SAA representatives, are given to the senior class male and female nominees who best exemplify traits of leadership, character, athletic and academic success.
The criteria for SAA Man and Woman of the Year nominees included that they must be a senior with no eligibility remaining, they must have been named First Team All-SAA in the sport in which in the participated during their athletic careers, and they must have qualified for the SAA Academic Honor Roll during their tenure as a student-athlete. Additionally, SAA Man and Woman of the Year candidates are expected to be involved in their local community in some meaningful way.