NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma volleyball senior Francie Ekwerekwu (Arlington, Texas) has been named one of five recipients of the 11th annual John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards. The award is presented by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation. Each winner receives a $10,000 grant to be used toward postgraduate studies in athletics administration. Ekwerekwu is the third consecutive McLendon award winner from Oklahoma, following Carl Pendleton (2008-09) and Zac Selmon (2009-10).
“Francie is a truly great ambassador for college student-athletes,” said OU Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione. “She excels academically and athletically, and contributes to our campus and community. I am delighted that she is being recognized in this way. The McLendon Scholarship is a prestigious award that means a great deal to us. We are proud that we have produced a recipient in three consecutive years. We’re also grateful to the selection committee and the student-athletes who have represented themselves and our university in a manner consistent with the values of the McLendon Scholarship program.”
Ekwerekwu earned an undergraduate degree in human relations with a minor in psychology in May 2010. Ekwerekwu is a seven-time Sooner Scholar and a seven-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selection. She is also the 2010 Prentice Gautt Award winner. The award, established by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and presented annually by the OU Black Student Association, is given to the male and female student-athlete at OU who best demonstrate the qualities reminiscent of OU's first African-American scholarship athlete, the award's namesake.
Ekwerekwu was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection as a junior and earned All-Freshman team honors in 2007. In 2009, she was named Most Valuable Player of the UT-Arlington Invitational. In three seasons, Ekwerekwu has been a consistent starter at middle blocker for the Sooners. She has helped lead the team to the NCAA Championship twice (2009, 2007).
As a junior, she started every match at middle blocker and ranked second on the team in kills (276). Ekwerekwu averaged 2.68 per set on the year and hit .285 in all matches. She had 11 service aces and was second in blocks with 93 on the year, a 0.90 average. In conference play, she had 194 kills in conference play, a 2.69 average and hit a team-best .281 in those contests. She led the team with 68 blocks in league matches, a 0.94 per set average.
Aside from athletics, Ekwerekwu serves as president of Bridge Builders, a networking group for African-American athletes at OU, and is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
She began graduate school at Oklahoma this summer, prior to completing her final year of eligibility this fall. She is pursuing a master's degree in human relations with an emphasis on intercollegiate athletics administration in her electives. Following the completion of that degree, she plans on attending law school with an emphasis in athletics compliance and contracts so that she can pursue her career goal of working in athletics compliance and administration.