CLEVELAND -- University of Akron defensive back Dwight Smith, a graduate of Central High School in Detroit, Mich., has been honored as the 2000 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year in voting among members of the MAC News Media Association.
Smith, a senior, thus adds to his list of honors this year that also include three first-team All-America awards and as a selected finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award that recognizes the nation's top defensive back. Smith has been named first-team All-America by the Football Writer's Association of America, the Walter Camp Foundation and Football News.
He earned the honors by leading the MAC and the nation in interceptions with 10. The Zips produced a MAC East Division record of 5-1, thus earning a co-championship with Marshall. Overall the Zips concluded the season with a 6-5 record, capping back-to-back winning seasons for the first time at the I-A level.
Smith also had nine pass break ups to lead the MAC in passes defended with 19. Smith's 10 interceptions ties for the second most in MAC history in a single season, and his 208 yards returned on interceptions is the fourth highest single season total in league history.
Smith was credited with 58 tackles this year, 54 of those being solo stops. In addition, he had three fumble recoveries, two tackles for a loss, one blocked kick and one forced fumble. He became the first Akron player since the school began MAC play in 1992 to win the award. Smith received 33 of the 61 votes cast.
Also receiving consideration was Toledo defensive lineman DeJuan Goulde (9), Central Michigan free safety Brian Leigeb (5), Toledo linebacker Kevin Rollins (2), Miami linebacker Terrell Jones, Western Michigan linebacker Garrett Soldano (1) and Western Michigan linebacker Terrence Moore (1).
The MAC Offensive Player of the Year will be announced tomorrow (Nov. 30). The Coach of the Year and Vern Smith Leadership Award winner will both be announced Friday afternoon at the MAC Championship luncheon in Huntington, W.Va.
MAC Defensive Player of the Year Winners
2000- Dwight Smith, Akron
1999- Dustin Cohen, Miami
1998- JoJuan Armour, Miami
1997- JoJuan Armour, Miami
1996- Brad Maynard, Ball State
1995-Johnnie Williams, Miami
1994- Vince Palko, Bowling Green
1993- Vince Palko, Bowling Green
1992-Curt McMillian, Miami
1991-Curt McMillian, Miami
1990-Sean Mulhearn, Western Michigan
1989-Greg Garnica, Ball State
1988- Greg Garnica, Ball State
1987- Greg Garnica, Ball State
1986-Mark Garalczyk, Western Michigan
1985-John Offerdahl, Western Michigan
1984-Mark Brandon, Toledo
1983-Brian Pillman, Miami
1982-Ray Bentley, Central Michigan
1981-John Zupancic, Miami
1980-Kent McCormick, Miami and Mike Terra, Northern Illinois
1979-Frank Lewandowski, Northern Illinois
1978-Ken Kremer, Ball State
1977-Jack Glowik, Miami
1976-Aaron Bivins, Toledo
1975-Shafer Suggs, Ball State
1974-Brad Cousino, Miami
1973- Brad Cousino, Miami
1972-Jack Lambert, Kent
1971-Mel Long, Toledo
1970-Dick Adams, Miami and Phil Villapiano, Bowling Green
1969-Joe Green, Bowling Green
1968-Bob Babich, Miami
1967-Tom Beutler, Toledo
1966-Bob Rowe, Western Michigan
1965-Bob Rowe, Western Michigan
overall record into the 2000 NCAA Volleyball Tournament this weekend
when they face 28-4 Northern Iowa Friday in Madison, Wis.