Former University of Denver men’s soccer two-time captain and current Colorado Rapids midfielder Sam Hamilton has been named the 2016-17 Summit League Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, the league office announced on Wednesday.
The Summit League Scholar Athletes of the Year awards are voted on by the league’s faculty athletic representatives. Hamilton is the second Pioneer to earn the league’s most prestigious award, joining Kyle Milberg, who earned the honor in 2013-14.
“This is a huge honor for Sam Hamilton, the men’s soccer program and the University of Denver as a whole,” head coach Jamie Franks said. “There is no one more deserving of this award. I think that anyone that has been around my organization over the past two years could argue that there wasn’t a more valuable piece to the puzzle than Sam. For Sam to be recognized not just as a soccer player, but as a student, speaks to his hard work. He was in one of the hardest academic programs at DU, maintaining excellence in the classroom while leading our team and pushing this program to new heights.
“Above everything else, our job is to prepare our student-athletes for life after college, and he’s used all the structures and the resources that the program offers to propel himself into a great situation moving forward. We hope that he has a long professional career, but if not, a company is going to be extremely excited to have a leader like him in their organization.”
Hamilton captained his Pioneer squad to its first College Cup appearance in program history this year. The Rapids’ MLS SuperDraft First Round pick sat in-front of a Denver backline that finished third in the nation in both goals against average (0.52) and shutout percentage (0.58), while his DU team, undefeated in the regular season, had the highest winning percentage in the NCAA (0.868). A two-time Summit League First Team honoree, Hamilton’s 83 CAPS set a Denver Division I record and his 13 career assists rank ninth. Hamilton scored three goals in his four-year career and was part of a senior class that finished with a 59-13-11 record, ranking third in the nation during the span.
In the classroom, Hamilton graduated with a 3.81 GPA as an accounting major. He was named CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America and a Senior CLASS Award candidate this season, while being named to The Summit League’s Academic Honor Roll four times and Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence three times. Hamilton was awarded the Cortese Trophy by the Provost in 2017 as the top graduating student-athlete who best combines athletic, academic and civic achievement. During his career, he volunteered his time with the Denver Children’s Hospital, Food Bank of the Rockies, Team Impact, St. Baldrick’s, 5 Rights and numerous soccer camps.
Hamilton made his professional debut for the Colorado Rapids on May 17, and earned his first MLS start on May 20 at Philadelphia. The former Denver defensive midfielder also played 90 minutes in both of the Rapids’ U.S. Open Cup matches.