Brown, Greer named Athletes of the Year at UNA

Senior soccer midfielder Nikki Brown and former UNA golfer Jake Greer were selected as the 2011-2012 UNA Athletes of the Year in an announcement Athletic Director Mark Linder made July 24.

Brown holds UNA records for most assists in a game, season and career, and has scored 12 career goals at UNA. She is a three time All-American, and was named Academic All-American in 2011, according to

“She’s the ultimate leader, she’s the ultimate player, she’s the ultimate person,” said Graham Winkworth, UNA head soccer coach.

Brown said she owes her success to her parents’ support of her.

“They never forced academics on me but they just always supported what I’ve done, and I think the fact that they didn’t force it on me made me want to succeed,” Brown said.

Brown, from Bognor Regis, England, said her dad came to her every game when she lived at home. She also said her parents travel to the US for conference games and plan to attend her senior game.

Brown began playing soccer in England at age five. She played with a boys’ soccer league until her respective club founded a girls’ team, the Felpham Colts.

Brown said she doesn’t look up to one player in particular; rather, she admires multiple people.

“I don’t look up to one (certain) person; I just see like, here’s people doing great things, I want to be like that,” Brown said.

Winkworth, who said he praises Brown not only as a player but as a person, said she is “(Division II) women’s soccer’s answer to David Beckham.”

“What he provides for his team is what she provides for us: she creates some chances with excellent crosses,” Winkworth said.

Winkworth said what he admires most about Brown is her personality.

“It’s not really going to be difficult replacing Nikki Brown the player and the student a year from now; it’s going to be awful trying to replace Nikki Brown the person,” Winkworth said. “I’m gonna miss her.”

Greer, who graduates this spring, was ranked 11th nationally this spring by GolfStat and had a 79.1 stroke average in 2012. During his time at UNA, he received three All-American honors and helped lead the team to five tournament team wins in the 2011-2012 year.

UNA Head Golf Coach Stuart Clark said that Greer simply outworked his teammates.

“He was such a great student, I mean I never had to worry about him,” Clark said.

Greer saw success early on in his career when he won the 2009 NCAA Southeast Super Regional as a freshman as well as the Phil Mickelson Award as the top freshman golfer in D-II.

“He felt like he belonged when he won that tournament,” Clark said.

Clark said the confidence he earned through that win remained into his later years as a UNA golfer.

“A lot of the younger kids looked up to him; they did just because he was so successful on the golf course,” Clark said.

Greer said he owes his success to the support of his family, friends, and fellow golfers.     

“They just always kept me going and motivated me,” Greer said.

Greer’s dad, Mike Greer played golf for UNA. Jake said he has always looked up to his dad and pro golfers.

“I was lucky enough to grow up with all of these great golfers,” Greer said. “I always had someone to look up to and watch.”

Greer will be interning as an assistant women’s golf coach at Samford this spring and said he doesn’t know his plans after graduation.

Clark has confidence that Greer will figure it out.

“In life (his work ethic)’s just gonna carry over – I expect him to be successful, he’ll just get it done some way,”  Clark said.