Former University of Texas soccer forward Kylie Doniak has been named the 2011-12 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year, the conference office announced Monday. Doniak becomes the first UT female student-athlete to earn the award and the third Longhorn athlete to be recognized, joining Football's Ahmard Hall (2004-05) and Sam Acho (2010-11). As a winner, Doniak now qualifies to be nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
The Big 12 Conference annually recognizes its top male and female sportsperson. Baylor football quarterback Robert Griffin III claimed the male award this season. The Sportspersons of the Year Award was started prior to the 2000-01 academic year to recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service from within the conference.
On the morning of Feb. 3, Doniak was severely injured in an auto-pedestrian accident in downtown Austin. The initial reports and diagnosis all indicated she would be lucky, at best, to survive. The internal injuries suffered in the accident were major, but true to her on-field nature, she fought and battled for her life. Kylie remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin for weeks.
She improved enough to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility in southern California. Doniak made tremendous progress during her stay at the facility and was able to move to her parents' home in Chino Hills on April 18. She continues to progress in her recovery to this day, but this will obviously be a long-term recovery. The truth is that her survival and recovery are simply miraculous.
Doniak's fight for survival and daily battle to progress with her recovery has brought her teammates and the soccer community together (including athletes and coaches from high schools, club teams and colleges from around the country).
Doniak completed her athletics career as a four-year member of The University of Texas women's soccer team last fall. Despite missing four games due to a knee injury, she led the Longhorns in scoring (15 points) on five goals and five assists. She earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week status the second week of her senior season. Doniak ended her time on the Forty Acres ranked 10th in school history in career goals (18), seventh in career assists (18) and 11th in scoring (54 points).
The former Longhorns forward was a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) All-Central Region Third Team selection (2009-10). She earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2010. As a freshman, Doniak earned Freshman All-America Third Team and All-Freshman Central Region honors from Soccer Buzz in 2008.
Off the field, Doniak was a model student-athlete. She earned a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team three times and was an active participant in numerous community service projects.
Doniak was active in the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) on campus for two years, keeping her active in many projects. She participated in the Peace Corps Cambodian Kickball project, creating posters and donating t-shirts to Dr. Darlene Grant, a Social Work professor at UT completing her Peace Corps mission in Cambodia. Doniak assisted with the Orange Santa project designed to foster a caring university environment by providing help for members of The University community who have special needs during the holiday season. Student-athletes coordinated donation drives, collected toys, wrapped gifts and delivered items to UT families in need, participated in multiple visits to children at Dell Children's Hospital and helped in the Light the Night program, honoring those who lost lives to leukemia.
As a member of the Texas soccer team, she was also active in community service projects, including weekly visits to the Dell Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. The visits included interacting with children at the Children's Hospital and cleaning and yard work at the Ronald McDonald House The team participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a 5K run to promote the awareness for the prevention and cure of breast cancer, and hosted the Neighborhood Longhorns Program Soccer Math Challenge, a camp promoting math and physical activity.
Doniak was also active in community service projects independent of the University. She assisted the Special Olympics Basketball program at Texas State University.