ABILENE – Junior offensive lineman Kade Parmelly and senior midfielder Shay Johnson Thursday were selected as the 2020 Wildcat Club Student-Athletes of the Year.
This award, which is sponsored by Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union, is presented to male and female student-athletes who encompass ACU’s mission for ‘Excellence in Christ’ through athletics, academics, service and faith.
Previous winners of the award include basketball’s Jaren Lewis, Parker Wentz, and Breanna Wright, football’s Josh Fink, golf’s Kyle Karnei, softball’s Hannah Null, and soccer’s Kelsie Roberts.
“I’m very pleased to present this award to Kade and Shay,” said Deputy Director of Athletics for External Operations Steve Harrell, who oversees the Wildcat Club. “Their excellence on the field has been a constant since day one as has their commitment to the community and the classroom, which makes them very deserving recipients. They epitomize the term ‘student-athlete.’ I look forward to seeing Kade do great things this coming fall, and wish Shay nothing but the very best as she heads to graduate school.”
An extremely dominant competitor over the past four seasons, Johnson graduated this month with a Bachelor’s Degree in communication disorders (psychology minor).
A native of Coppell, Texas, Johnson started ACU’s four-year run of Southland Conference Freshmen of the Year titles. She was later selected First Team All-Conference following her junior (2018) and senior (2019) seasons and was voted Southland Conference Tournament MVP in 2018 after helping the Wildcats’ capture their first NCAA postseason berth at the DI level.
This past fall Johnson earned the additional titles of Southland Conference Midfielder of the Year, Second Team All-Midwest Region (United Soccer Coaches), and Southland Conference All-Academic thanks to a 3.94 cumulative GPA.
In between studies and time on the pitch, Johnson volunteered weekly at Disability Resources Inc. and served as a hospital chaplain at Hendrick Medical Center.
Johnson also spent an entire month of her 2018 summer vacation in Kampala, Uganda, for a mission trip with Hope Speaks. This nonprofit organization seeks to provide speech therapy, education and advocacy to children with disabilities.
“Shay’s faith is the forefront of who she is and flows into everything that she does,” said ACU head soccer coach Casey Wilson. “The way she led on and off the field was evident of that, and her desire was to always be reminded of who Christ is in her life and her why. Not only did we see that in soccer but her pursuit of her speech pathology degree and how she looks to serve through her future profession in the community and through missions work.”
Johnson totaled 44 career points (19 goals / 6 assists) through 73 games as the Wildcats posted a four-year record of 44-29-7 (.594) during her tenure.
Parmelly has been a stalwart for the Wildcats’ offensive line since his freshman year with his consecutive games played streak at 34 entering his senior year of 2020.
Parmelly slid into the Wildcats’ starting lineup with two games to go in his freshman campaign. The following year ACU’s offensive ranked first in the Southland Conference with 1.55 sacks allowed and third in total offense with 439.3 points per game. The Wildcats again ranked among the top half of the Southland Conference in both these categories in 2019.
“I’m very happy for Kade,” said head football coach Adam Dorrel. “He’s a tremendous leader because he has great personal accountability and he demands it from his teammates as well. He is a complete student-athlete, who is always pushing himself in his spiritual, academic and athletic growth. He has gotten better each year!”
Thanks to last fall’s o-line efforts, ACU gained an average of 168.9 yards per game on the ground as running back Tracy James scored a league best 20 touchdowns and quarterback Sema’J Davis ranked among the league’s top-10 rushers with 51.8 yards per game. It also was a record-breaking season for wide receiver Kobe Clark, who set the school’s single-season mark for receptions with 87 (7.3 per game).
“Kade is greatly respected by his peers because of his selflessness, toughness and discipline,” said ACU offensive line coach Mario Jeberaeel. “He’s been on our leadership council since his sophomore year. He also has developed an excellent knowledge of the game through his work ethic and attention to detail, which has contributed to his success as a player and our growth as a unit. Kade epitomizes everything I believe a player should be on and off the field; I am blessed to coach him.”
Parmelly, who carries a 3.96 GPA in kinesiology, was a 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 honoree and a Southland Conference All-Academic honoree. The Abilene native and Wylie High School alumni plans to study higher education in graduate school and later attend seminary to become an overseas missionary.
Parmelly previously served on an international mission trip to Ghana, Africa, through ACU Missions Department in May of 2018, and during his 2019 Spring Break, traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates with a missionary from his church in Abilene.
Closer to home, Parmelly volunteers his time with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Wildcat Club Student-Athletes of the Year presented by Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union
2015-16: Parker Wentz (basketball)
2016-17: Kyle Karnei (golf), Kelsie Roberts (soccer)
2017-18: Jaren Lewis (basketball), Hannah Null (softball)
2018-19: Josh Fink (football), Breanna Wright (basketball)
2019-20: Kade Parmelly (football), Shay Johnson (soccer)