The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) is thrilled to unveil a prestigious accolade, the Man and Woman of the Year Award, to honor the most remarkable male and female student-athletes within our esteemed conference.
Collier Higgs, a baseball player, and Valedictorian at Kentucky State University majoring in Business Administration, is the second recipient of the SIAC Man of the Year award.
“Congratulations to these truly exceptional individuals, who epitomize the very essence of excellence in college athletics,” said SIAC Commissioner Anthony Holloman. “They stand as shining examples of all that is commendable and inspiring within our beloved sporting community. They are our future.”
The Man and Woman of the Year Award recognize the top male and female student-athletes for their athletic, academic, service, and leadership involvement. By acknowledging exceptional athletes who excel both on and off the field, we aim to celebrate the remarkable achievements of these outstanding individuals who inspire their peers and leave a positive impact on their communities.
“It is an honor that we’re able to recognize these student-athletes for their outstanding accomplishments. Being a student-athletes is challenging enough,” said Deborah Jones-Rodgers of Tuskegee, Chair of the SIAC Senior Women Administrators Association. “To be able to perform of such magnitude in the classroom and on the courts/fields is impeccable. It is the perfect example of what our member institutions and conference stands for.”
The selections were modeled after criteria set forth by the NCAA, which requires the evaluation of four guidelines, including a personal statement, the individual’s service and leadership activities, academic achievement, and athletic excellence.
“We are thrilled to introduce the Man and Woman of the Year Award as a way to honor our student-athletes who embody the true spirit of excellence and dedication,” Tyler Williams, Associate Commissioner of Communications and Senior Woman Administrator at the SIAC. “This award not only celebrates their athletic accomplishments but also highlights their exceptional character, leadership qualities, and commitment to serving others. We believe it is crucial to recognize and celebrate these outstanding individuals who are the epitome of what it means to be a student-athlete.”
Meet Collier Higgs, Kentucky State
2023 SIAC Man of the Year
Collier Higgs, a baseball student-athlete at Kentucky State, reflects on his transformative journey as a leader both on and off the field, sharing his aspirations to make a positive impact on those around him. Despite facing setbacks at the beginning of his baseball career at Kentucky State due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Higgs demonstrated unwavering commitment and remained dedicated to his student-athlete role during uncertain times.
In his third year with the Thorobreds, Collier Higgs made significant contributions in 31 games. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Higgs displayed his prowess at the plate, achieving an impressive batting average of .321. Throughout the season, he recorded 34 hits, including 10 doubles and four home runs, showcasing his power and ability to drive in runs. In total, Higgs accumulated an impressive 32 RBIs.
As a graduating senior and a Business Administration major, Higgs maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA, earning him the esteemed title of KSU’s 2023 Valedictorian for the Class of 2023. Alongside his academic achievements, he garnered recognition in the realm of athletics, receiving preseason and postseason all-conference honors and securing a spot on the Minority Baseball Prospects (MBP) All-Star team for two consecutive seasons. Higgs’ exceptional academic performance also led to him being honored with the 2023 SIAC Baseball Elite 14 award, recognizing his outstanding scholastic accomplishments. He has also received KSU President’s Award and has been named to the Dean’s List each year which further showcases his dedication to excellence in academia.
Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Higgs attributes his educational success to the guidance of past educators and, most importantly, his family, who instilled in him the significance of valuing education. He acknowledges that his educational journey has bestowed upon him a profound understanding of life and has shaped his purpose to influence others positively through his pursuit of higher education, devotion to baseball, and leadership roles.
Beyond his impact on the field, Higgs’ leadership extends to the community that surrounds him. He has actively contributed to the Miracle League Program, served as a mentor and volunteer in the Breaking the Cycle Program, and helped a local girls’ travel softball team and high school softball team. These experiences have fortified his leadership skills and honed his decision-making abilities. Witnessing the transformative power of collective efforts in community projects, Higgs acknowledges the profound impact that can be achieved when individuals come together to uplift those in need.
Higgs draws inspiration from his biggest role model, his mother, who displayed unwavering strength and resilience when faced with a breast cancer diagnosis during his time as a student-athlete. Despite her own challenges, she continuously supported and encouraged Higgs to persevere both inside and outside the classroom.
“Each experience that I have shared has helped shape my character, broadened my perspectives, and inspired me to make a difference. As I move forward in life, I am determined to apply my experience and skills to continuously inspire positive change,” said KSU’s Collier Higgs.
Higgs’ contributions to the Thorobreds’ success on and off the field exemplify his skill as a formidable player, teammate, son, and student-athlete, consistently producing for the benefit of the whole. His journey at KSU exemplifies the embodiment of a true student-athlete and leader.
Courtesy of Kentucky State Athletic Department