Illini softball standout Evans earns Dike Eddleman Award
University of Illinois softball coach Tyra Perry can discuss Nicole Evans all day.
“I love talking about Nicole,” Perry told the DuPage Policy Journal. “It’s exciting when you see someone like Nicole get recognized like this. She has the highest level of character, excellence, and a great work ethic.”
Evans, a Glen Ellyn native, recently won this year's Dike Eddleman Award as the top female athlete in the state. She is the first softball player in Illinois to be honored with the award since 1977.
In her final season with the Illini, Evans had a team-leading .349 average, hit 18 home runs and notched 58 RBIs. The team reached the NCAA regional finals and ended with a 39-20 record.
Evans, who will now help lead the softball team as a graduate coach, ended her playing career with the Illini with a record 53 homers to go along with 176 RBIs.
“She was only on the team for two years, but she was immediately liked,” Perry said. “She transitioned very well and was extremely open and helpful in leading the team and listening to what we were telling them.”
Perry said Evans’ positive character, skills and personality also shine when it comes to her family.
“She comes from a great family,” Perry said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know her parents and her two brothers, and it has really been a pleasure.”
Evans was also named the Arthur Ashe Jr. female sports scholar of the year in April, according to the university. The award is part of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Awards, which celebrated its 25 anniversary this year.
She was also a 2016 National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-Midwest and second-team All-Big Ten honoree.
Evans, who had a 3.8 GPA in kinesiology, will continue at U of I in a master's program with the hopes of becoming a physician assistant.