KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee graduate and women’s basketball standout Michelle M. Marciniak is one of seven former college student-athletes who will receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of their collegiate and professional achievements, as well as their civic contributions.
The award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, composed of representatives of NCAA member schools, conferences and distinguished citizens, including past awardees.
The 2021 Silver Anniversary honorees will be recognized during a virtual Honors Celebration awards show on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The show will be streamed at 7 p.m. Eastern time on the NCAA Twitter account and on the ESPN app.
In addition to Marciniak, the other recipients are Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Cal, basketball), Adam J. Burgasser (UC San Diego, swimming & diving), Fernando Palomo (Texas A&M, track & field), Amy E. Reinhard (Harvard, softball & basketball), Lt. Col. Dan Rooney (Kansas, golf) and Michelle Cusimano Vachris (Virginia, lacrosse & field hockey).
Marciniak becomes the first-ever female student-athlete at the University of Tennessee to receive the Silver Anniversary Award, joining previous NCAA Vol inductees Andrew Kozar (1978, football), Bob Johnson (1993, football), John Trembley (2000, swimming) and Heath Shuler (2019, football). Legendary Lady Vol basketball head coach Pat Head Summitt was a 1999 recipient representing UT-Martin.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award,” Marciniak said. “I am aware of the prestige that accompanies this distinct honor and can’t help but think about all the people who helped pave the way for me to pursue my dreams in life.
“From my parents, siblings, mentors and my college coach, Pat Summitt, and especially to Susan Walvius, my business partner and Co-Founder of SHEEX — I have become who I am today due to the sacrifice of others dedicated to guiding me to become my best in life, both as an athlete and as an entrepreneur.”
Marciniak, a dynamic point guard who became known as “Spinderella” by Lady Vol followers for her whirling dishes and drives, won a national championship with Tennessee in 1996 and received Naismith All-America acclaim and Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention honors that season. She was named Most Outstanding Player and a member of the All-Tournament Team at the 1996 NCAA Final Four, which Tennessee claimed by an 83-65 score over Georgia to launch a three-year run of national championships for the Big Orange.
During her tenure, Tennessee was 97-9, including 31-2 in the Southeastern Conference, winning league titles in 1994 and 1995 and claiming tourney crowns in 1994 and 1996. Marciniak surpassed 1,000 points in her UT career (1,004) and still ranks third in program history in season assists (204, 1994-95), fifth in season assists average (5.7, 1994-95) and sixth in career assists average (4.32, 1993-96).
She represented Team USA in international competition, winning a silver medal at the 1995 World University Games and a gold medal at the 1996 Jones Cup.
She played professionally with the Portland Fire and Seattle Storm and was previously named an American Basketball League All-Star with the Portland Power. Concurrently, Marciniak worked as a color commentator for Fox Sports, ESPN Radio and the Lady Vol Radio Network.
She served as a Women’s National Basketball Association representative at the 2002 NBA All-Star Weekend and later served as a WNBA player representative for corporate marketing strategies in 2003. The WNBA also awarded her the National Community Service Award in 2002.
After her playing career, Marciniak worked as an assistant women’s basketball coach for South Carolina from 2003 to 2008. She is co-founder and co-CEO of SHEEX Inc., which invented the category of performance fabric bedding and holds numerous worldwide patents in bedding, mattress and sleepwear products. SHEEX has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and O Magazine.
Marciniak, a 1995 UT graduate with a degree in psychology, co-founded Pedal for Alzheimer’s and has previously served as a spokesperson for the Pat Summitt Foundation. She is a Henry Crown Fellow (class of 2014), a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a strategic advisor for Space for Humanity.