Conference USA has officially renamed its top volleyball superlative award as the Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year award, in honor of the late Western Kentucky four-time All-American who passed away in December 2020, the league announced Wednesday at its annual summer meeting.

“We are tremendously grateful that the Conference USA volleyball player of the year award will be named in Alyssa’s honor,” WKU volleyball coach Travis Hudson said in a news release. “Alyssa is remembered for many things and certainly one of those is her greatness on the volleyball court. What an incredible honor to have this award be forever in her name.”

Cavanaugh, a 2018 graduate of WKU and one of the most decorated players in program history, helped the Hilltoppers to a 123-17 overall record during her time at WKU.

The 5-foot-10 outside hitter from Louisville’s extensive list of accolades includes Conference USA’s Michael L. Slive Female Athlete of the Year (2017-18), AVCA Third-Team All-American – the first in program history (2017) – four-time AVCA All-Region, four-time C-USA first team All-Conference and two-time C-USA Player of the Year (2016 and 2017). She was first WKU player to earn three All-American honors in a single season (2016: AVCA,,, and was also named C-USA Freshman of the Year (2014). She ranks second in WKU volleyball history with 1,816 career kills and third all-time with 3.78 kills per set across her career. In total, she played in 139 matches as a Lady Topper and appeared in 481 sets.

Following her graduation from WKU, Cavanaugh traveled overseas and competed in a professional tryout before being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on Sept. 5, 2018. She received a bone marrow transplant from her father, Eric, on Feb. 19, 2019. Cavanaugh died Dec. 25 in Louisville at the age of 24.

Also at C-USA’s summer meeting, a{span} new slate of leadership was approved with North Texas President {/span}Dr. Neal Smatresk{span} appointed Chair and WKU President {/span}Dr. Tim Caboni{span} appointed Vice Chair of the Conference USA Board of Directors.{/span}{&end}