Ali, Butler Win Byrd Award

By Bryan Messerly for
May 3, 2010

  Madina Ali Da'Sean Butler
  Madina Ali Da'Sean Butler

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Men’s basketball senior Da’Sean Butler and women’s basketball redshirt junior Madina Ali have been selected as recipients of the inaugural Leland Byrd Basketball Leadership Award.

The winners, a student-athlete from the men’s and women’s basketball teams, must display outstanding team leadership on and off the court. The head coach from each program recommends a student-athlete to the WVU Athletic Council for confirmation.

Butler, a co-captain from Newark, N.J., was selected to the Basketball Times and John Wooden first team All-America squads and was a second team All-American by the Associated Press. He was also first team all-BIG EAST, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award winner, Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship, 76 Classic MVP, NCAA East Regional all-Tournament team selection, member of the NABC and USBWA all-district teams and two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week.

Butler finished his career at WVU with 2,095 points, third best in school history behind Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley. He is the winningest basketball player in school history with 107 victories and led WVU to a school-record 31 wins this past season, along with a BIG EAST championship and NCAA Final Four appearance.

A Williamsport, Pa., native, Ali played an integral role in the Mountaineers’ school record 29-win season, second-place regular season and BIG EAST championship finishes, and the team attaining its highest national ranking in school history.

She started 34 of the Mountaineers’ 35 games, averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. One of the team’s two co-captains, Ali averaged 23.7 minutes per game and tallied 53 steals and 25 blocks. She scored a career-best 18 points in the Maine victory and recorded a personal-best 13 rebounds in the Villanova win. For the season, she reached double figures in scoring in seven games, recorded eight double-figure rebounding games with two double-doubles.

The award was started this year to honor Dr. Leland Byrd, who served as Director of Athletics at West Virginia University from 1972-78. Dr. Byrd was an outstanding basketball player at WVU from 1945-48, earning All-America honors in 1947. Women’s basketball became an intercollegiate sport at WVU during his tenure as athletic director in 1973-74. Byrd was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

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