GREENSBORO, N.C. – In terms of track and field athletes, Florida State sprinter Walter Dix will go down as one of the greatest runners in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. On Tuesday (July 24), the junior put his name down amongst the league’s elite athletes in any sport as he was named 2006-07 ACC Male Athlete of the Year as announced by conference commissioner Jim Swofford.
Dix (Coral Springs, Fla.) receives the “Anthony J. McKevlin Award” as the league’s top male performer. The award, named in honor of the former sports editor of the Raleigh News & Observer, has been presented since the formation of the ACC in 1954.
He is only the second men’s track and field athlete to win the award, following Maryland’s Renaldo Nehemiah in 1979. In addition, Dix is the only other Florida State student-athlete to earn the honor, joining Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward, who was a back-to-back winner in 1993-94.
“Renaldo Nehemiah was a world record holder so that’s unbelievable company for him to be in,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “It’s great for our sports, Florida State and Walter. It’s usually a football, basketball and sometimes baseball award – sports that get a lot of exposure - and we’re on TV for two and a half hours a year so it really speaks to what he did.”
Dix led the Seminoles to a second-straight NCAA Outdoor Track and Field championship this year with an individual performance that hasn’t been seen in nearly 40 years. He won the 100 and 200m races and was a part of the championship 4x100m relay team, making him the first individual to win national titles in all three events since John Carlos in 1969.
At the NCAA East Regionals he set the NCAA collegiate record in the 200m with a time of 19.69. He took down the American collegiate record in the 100m at the NCAA outdoor championships in 9.93. Dix is a 14-time All-American and seven-time NCAA champion after also winning the 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“To me it’s very gratifying that the media who votes on the award recognized how special it was and that this is someone on the front end of a great career,” Braman added. “He’s going to go on and do things that everybody will remember. I think it’s validation for what he’s done.”
A qualifier for the IAAF World Championships in the 200m, Dix has also been honored with the 2007 Division I South District, East Region and National Division I Men's Track Athlete of the Year awards. In addition, he was the 2007 ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Year.
Dix received 31 votes of the 77 votes cast. Georgia Tech All-America football player Calvin Johnson was second with 23 votes, while Matt Danowski of Duke, the national player of the year in lacrosse, was named on 12 ballots.