Overland Park It was supposed to be to a complete surprise to Tyler Docking. And it almost was.
But in announcing Kansas University's male Senior-Scholar Athlete of the Year award Thursday night, associate athletic director Paul Buskirk made the tiny mistake of revealing the major first.
"As soon as they said 'mechanical engineering,' I was like 'There's no other engineers in the athletic department, is there?'" Docking said with a laugh.
So the cover was blown - about a second and a half before Docking would've found out anyway.
Docking, a member of KU's golf team, joined track and field athlete Abby Emsick to win the Senior-Scholar Athlete awards, the top honor at the Senior & Scholar Banquet held Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel.
Emsick has a more common education, as she will graduate with a nursing degree next week. But she made even that journey extraordinary, frequently earning straight A's while juggling classes in Kansas City with her training in the shot and discus.
Emsick wasn't at Thursday's event because she is in Lincoln, Neb., preparing for the Big 12 outdoor championships. That left Docking alone at the podium, front-and-center reflecting on his honor.
Docking also was recognized for being an Academic All-American.
"I think I had my name announced three different times, and every time I go up there my legs are shaking," Docking said. "They really focus on the scholar part of the student-athlete, and I think that's really great."
Docking will graduate next week and start working at an engineering consulting firm in Kansas City next month.
In all, dozens of student-athletes were recognized for their achievements, and two - football's Jonathan Lamb and rowing's Lindsey Miles - received a postgraduate scholarship from the Big 12 Conference to further their educations.