Baylor Press Release
By: Rachel Caton
WACO, Texas –Redshirt senior outfielder Richard Cunningham was named one of 10 finalists for the prestigious 2019 Baseball Senior Class Award, it was announced today.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 candidates announced in March. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award websitethrough June 10. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. This year’s Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2019 College World Series® in June.
Cunningham, the only finalist from the Big 12, is the definition of a student-athlete. His list of accolades on the field are almost as long as his honors in the classroom. Already a Baylor graduate with an undergraduate degree in finance, Richard is currently finishing his MBA and plans to graduate this spring. He was named a 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American, becoming Baylor’s first Academic All-American since 2015. The Austin, Texas, native, boasted a 3.83 GPA in finance as an undergraduate and owned a 3.89 GPA through his first year of graduate school in the business administration program. He was also named the 2017 Big 12 Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earned the 2018 Dr. Gerald Lage Big 12 Academic Achievement Award, 2017 Big 12 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship, was a 2018, 2017 and 2016 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, won the Golden Bruiser for Baylor as the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, was an American Bank Academic All-Star and has been on the Dean’s List at Baylor nine times in his college career.
On the field in 2019, Cunningham is batting .311 through 31 games, with 42 hits, seven doubles, four triples, four home runs and 23 RBI, good for second-most on the team. The Austin, Texas native ranks seventh in the Big 12 in hits, tied for second in triples (4), seventh in total bases (68) and third in runs scored (33). He was the only Bear named to the 2019 Shriners College Classic All-Tournament team. In 2018 Cunningham had a career year, setting career highs in games played (55, all starts), batting average (.342), runs (45), home runs (9), RBI (38) and steals (6). He was named Big 12 Player of the Week on May 14, All-Big 12 Second Team on May 22 and Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team on May 27 after helping the Bears win their first Big 12 Championship title in program history.
Cunningham is involved in the community in countless ways. He recently won the Shriners College Classic Service Award for all his community work with Shriners Hospital for Children. He does other volunteer work with his team and his personality, dedication to helping others and interest in bettering the community stands out. He is also a leader on the field, always encouraging and setting an example for his teammates.
Other finalists are Bryce Femel (Oregon State), Brock Hale (BYU), Will Haueter (Northern Kentucky), Justin Hayes (Norfolk State), Gunner Leger (Louisiana), Jake Mangum (Mississippi State), Nic Ready (Air Force), Luke Ritter (Wichita State) and Zach Schneider (FAU). For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.