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BYU Roundup: Deming awarded WCC Co-Player of the Year

By Daily Herald - | May 23, 2023

Courtesy BYU Photo

BYU batter Austin Deming hits the ball during a game against UNC Greensboro at Miller Park in Provo on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — BYU third baseman Austin Deming was named the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year and First Team All-WCC on Tuesday. The senior capped off one of the best seasons in BYU history on Saturday by capturing the WCC triple crown with a league leading .418 batting average, 19 home runs and 68 RBI during the 2023 season.

Joining Deming as the other conference Co-Player of the Year was senior Christian Almanza of Saint Mary’s College.

A Santa Clara, Utah native, Deming led the WCC in nine offensive categories during the 2023 regular season. In addition to batting average, home runs and RBI, he also led the league in slugging (.915), total bases (151), hits per game (1.68), RBI per game (1.66), home runs per game (.46) and doubles per game (.56).

Deming is a semifinalist for the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy, awarded annually by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association to the nation’s top college baseball player. He is the only student-athlete from the WCC to make the semifinalist list and is also a candidate for All-American.

Nationally, Deming finished the regular season top 10 in seven offensive categories, including, No. 1 in doubles per game, slugging (2nd), RBI per game (4th), HR per game (6th), batting average (9th), doubles (9th) and hits per game (10th).

A two-time All-WCC honoree, Deming played in 171 games in his BYU career from 2019-23. As a junior in 2022 he was named First Team All-WCC. Over the past two seasons he was named WCC Player of the Week three time and was recognized as national player of the week by four different organizations on April 7 of this season.

In addition to all the success on the field, Deming graduated from BYU in April 2023 with a degree in communications, with a journalism emphasis.

BYU sophomore left fielder Cooper Vest was named to the 12-member All-WCC second team, while senior centerfielder Cole Gambill and junior left-handed closer Boston Mabeus were named WCC Honorable Mention.

Cougar infielder-outfielder Luke Anderson was one of 10 student-athletes named to the WCC All-Freshman team.

Football earns All-Big 12 honors from Athlon Sports

Eight BYU football players were named to the Athlon Sports 2023 All-Big 12 Team for the upcoming football season.

The 2023 All-Big 12 Team is led by 20 selections from Texas, while TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas and Kansas State join the Longhorns with double-digit picks.

Among BYU players honored, transfer running back Aidan Robbins was named to the second-team offense, while wideout Kody Epps and tackle Kingsley Suamataia earned a spot on the third team. Offensive lineman Connor Pay also earned recognition on the fourth team.

On defense, BYU defensive lineman Tyler Batty, linebacker Ben Bywater and defensive back Micah Harper were named to the fourth team, while punt returner Hobbs Nyberg earned a spot on fourth team among the specialists.

Robbins comes to BYU after leading UNLV last season with 209 carries for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry, while also catching 23 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in 2022.

Epps saw action in eight games during an injury shortened 2022 season but still finished with 39 receptions for 459 yards and tied for the team lead with six touchdowns. College Football News gave him honorable mention on its Freshman All-America team.

Suamataia was named to the Freshman All-America Second Team by the Athletic last season while both he and Pay were named to the College Football Network All-Independent Team, anchoring BYU’s offensive line.

Batty posted 52 tackles last season and seven tackles for loss while Bywater led the Cougars for the second consecutive season with 98 total tackles.

Harper, a Freshman All-America honorable mention by College Football News, posted 62 solo stops, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 2022.

Nyberg returned nine punts for 115 yards for an average 12.8 yards per return, the top average among Big 12 players returning for the 2023 season.

BYU kicks off its inaugural season as a member of the Big 12 Conference against Sam Houston State on Sept. 2 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Cougars add JC tight end for 2023

BYU football announced the addition of tight end Ray Paulo to the program on Wednesday.

A 6-foot-3, 255-pound native of Pago Pago, American Samoa, Paulo has signed with BYU out of Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, after being a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball and soccer at Leone High School in American Samoa.

After returning from a two-year mission in Alabama for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Paulo redshirted in 2021 before playing in 11 games in 2022 on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs.

On offense, Paulo had 26 receptions for 379 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 34 yards. His long receptions of the season covered 66 and 62 yards. In more limited action on defense, he added nine tackles, one sack and a pass breakup.

He played in seven games on defense as a freshman in 2018, averaging one sack and nearly seven tackles per game while totaling 46 tackles and seven sacks. He also blocked a kick, forced two fumbles and made two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 20 yards for a touchdown.

Porter retires as head coach of BYU tennis

BYU men’s tennis head coach Dave Porter today announced he is retiring from coaching at BYU after more than 40 years of coaching in college athletics. With a record of 1,438-223, Porter has amassed the most wins by a head coach in NCAA tennis history.

“I was taught the wisdom of making our entries and exits in life graceful,” Porter said. “For the past four decades I have enjoyed the privilege of coaching collegiate tennis. I love the universities where I have served, the tennis program we have built and the players whom I have had the privilege of coaching. I am grateful for the support and integrity of the athletic program at BYU and proud to be part of it. Tom Holmoe, Brian Santiago and the exceptional people with whom they have surrounded themselves with are wonderful to work with.

My physical capacities now, however, are not what they once were and need to be. It is for that reason alone that I am retiring from active coaching. I will do all in my power to have a successful transition and to assist my successor as they continue the quest for excellence in BYU Athletics.”

Porter came to BYU from BYU-Hawaii, where he started both the men’s and women’s tennis programs. During his 33-year career with the Seasiders, Porter won 11 national championships (nine women’s, two men’s) while compiling a 1,410-188 record.

Porter was named ITA National Coach of the Year six times. He coached 57 All-Americans and became the first coach in NCAA history to coach a men’s and women’s team to national championships in consecutive years (2002, 2003). In addition to his coaching duties, Porter was a professor of exercise and sports science at BYU-Hawaii.

“Well done, Dave Porter,” said Tom Holmoe, BYU director of athletics. “Your long and successful career coaching men’s and women’s tennis at BYU-Hawaii and BYU has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of your student-athletes. Few coaches could match your records, and we’re all grateful for your work.”

As men’s tennis head coach at BYU, Porter had a 28-35 record. During that time, he also oversaw the women’s program in his role as director of tennis. The women earned a 38-33 record over three seasons and a No. 54 national ranking in March 2023.


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