By Jean DePlacido
---- — It was an outstanding year, both in the classroom and on the football field, for Nick Hiou at UMass Dartmouth.
The Peabody native will graduate Sunday summa cum laude (with highest honors) after receiving the school’s most prestigious athletic honor at its annual Athletic Banquet last week. Hiou was presented with the Senior Scholar-Athlete award, given to the Corsairs’ top graduating senior.
The finance major (who has a minor in economics) carries a grade-point average of 3.91 on a 4.0 scale and has been on the chancellor’s list (3.8 or above) in seven of his eight semesters. The one time Hiou missed out, he made the dean’s list (3.5 or above).
“Receiving the Scholar-Athlete was a nice way to end it,” Hiou said of his collegiate career. “I had heard I might be getting something at the Athletic Banquet, but I wasn’t sure what. I am very honored.”
Hiou said he had to balance his time between his studies and football in order to maintain his high grades.
Earning accolades is nothing new for Hiou. Last year, he won the Robbins ECAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for having the highest GPA of any male scholar-athlete in his junior class. This past November, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team (District One) at wide receiver, presented by College Sports Information Directors of America. He was also selected to the All-New England Football Conference Academic All-Conference team. He received an achievement award from the International Honor Society of Economics.
“Nick’s being named to the Academic All-District team is a huge honor,” said Corsairs’ football coach Mark Robichaud. “Nick has been a tremendous asset to our football program since he got here four years ago. We are very proud of him and his academic and athletic achievements.”
Hiou was equally impressive on the football field at UMass Dartmouth, where he started at wide receiver the last two years after starting at cornerback and on special teams as a freshman and sophomore. In his final season for the Corsairs he caught 22 passes for 156 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per catch.
“I’m really going to miss football,” said Hiou, who was also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a four-year letter winner. “I’ve been playing football for 12 years starting with Pop Warner, all through Peabody High and college. “It will be weird going to work in August instead of having double sessions to get ready for the season.
“I’ve had a great time at UMass Dartmouth. It’s a very good school for academics, and I’ve met a lot of people I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Hiou played many positions for the Corsairs, including some running back, but his favorite was wide receiver. In a disappointing 1-9 season last fall, Hiou said his favorite memory was a Homecoming Weekend victory over Plymouth State, 23-21.
He is looking for a job as a financial analyst on the North Shore, with aspirations to get his master’s degree by taking courses at night sometime in the near future.