2009 November

Still Flying High: Jordan Named Academy’s Mr. Basketball

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Bruce Larsen’s sculpture will be dedicated in Michael Jordan’s name.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a basketball legend in his own right, leaves little doubt about his selection for the best player of all time. “There’s Michael Jordan, and then there are the rest of us,” Johnson once said. “Mr. Basketball” voters in the United States Sports Academy’s contest to name its newest sculpture agree.

In overwhelming fashion, much like the way Jordan lifted six Chicago Bulls teams to National Basketball Association (NBA) championships, voters chose Jordan in the Academy’s search for the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jordan was the clear winner on a worldwide ballot that included 15 of the NBA’s best all-time players, active and retired. Finishing second on the list was Celtics center Bill Russell, a defensive force who won a staggering 11 NBA championships. Center Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored 100 points in a single NBA game, was third in the voting, which was done with the assistance of USA Today and NBC Sports.

The websites of NBC Sports and USA Today, which helped distribute the “Mr. Basketball” ballot, will assist the Academy again next month with the Athlete of the Year balloting, which begins on 1 December 2009.

The Academy’s “Mr. Basketball” sculpture, designed by “found object” artist Bruce Larsen of Fairhope, Alabama, will be dedicated in Jordan’s name as a tribute to his amazing career, at the Board of Trustees meeting on the Academy’s campus, 22 January 2010. The sculpture, the latest addition to the Academy’s green-themed, environmentally friendly Sport Sculpture Park, is inspired by the painting “High Aspirations” from late American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) Sport Artist of the Year Ernie Barnes (1938-2009).

From early on in the voting process, much like during the initial stages of Jordan’s career, when his game-winning jumper as a freshman delivered a national championship for North Carolina, it was clear Jordan would dominate this competition.

Jordan’s list of accomplishments is mind-boggling: five most valuable player awards; 10 first-team All-NBA honors; nine-time All-NBA defensive team; 14-time All-Star, three-time All-Star Game MVP; two-time Olympic gold medalist; and tied with Chamberlain for the all-time NBA career per-game scoring average (30.1).

His impact on the game globally may eclipse his on-court feats. Through his graceful dunks and his Nike “Air Jordan” brand, Jordan transcended sports and played the lead role in taking basketball from mostly an American audience to a worldwide stage.

Jordan’s third and final retirement came after the 2002-03 season as a member of the Washington Wizards, after he initially took on a role as partial owner and team executive. He showed moments of the greatness from his Bulls’ days, when he scored 40 points in a game a few days after turning 40.

Even to this day, as Jordan’s connection to the NBA has moved from the court to the executive office, where he is currently the Managing Member of Basketball Operations with the Charlotte Bobcats, Jordan’s popularity hasn’t waned. A 2008 Sports Business Journal report said only golfer Tiger Woods ranked with Jordan in terms of popularity among American athletes.

Texas Tech Presented College Football Game of the Year Painting

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College Football Game of the Year chairman Jack Lengyel, left of painting, and 2005 Sport Artist of the Year Daniel Moore present Moore’s painting to Texas Tech representative Steve Uryasz at the Red Raiders’ game against Oklahoma on 21 November.

Texas Tech University was presented with a painting by United States Sports Academy representatives that depicted the 2008 College Football Game of the Year, the Red Raiders’ 39-33 victory over No. 1 Texas.

Daniel Moore, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, and Game of the Year Committee Chairman Jack Lengyel, a Hall of Fame college coach who guided Marshall University in 1970 after a plane crash claimed the lives of 75 team members and coaching staff, made the presentation during the Red Raiders’ game against Oklahoma in Lubbock on 21 November.

Moore, well-known for his paintings on college football, is the artist for each of the College Football Game of the Year selections.

In the victory over Texas, Texas Tech scored the game-winning touchdown with one second remaining as quarterback Graham Harrell connected with receiver Michael Crabtree, who beat double coverage near the five yard-line, shook a defender, and slipped into the end zone.

Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach is an Academy alumnus and serves as President of the Academy’s Alumni Board.

Moore and Lengyel presented the painting on the behalf of the Academy, as well as a $5,000 check from the Academy to the Red Raiders Club’s scholarship fund, and the Academy’s Medal of the Eagle Exemplar.

U.S. Decathlete Honored as Jim Thorpe All-Around Winner

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DeLoss Dodds, left, the University of Texas director of athletics presents world champion decathlete Trey Hardee with the Academy’s Jim Thorpe All-Around Award.

World champion decathlete Trey Hardee of the United States has been named the winner of the Jim Thorpe All-Around Award by the United States Sports Academy.

Hardee was presented with the award by Texas director of athletics DeLoss Dodds, a past winner of the Academy’s Carl Maddox Sports Management Award, during a presentation at the Texas-Kansas football game on 21 November.

Hardee’s victory at the world championships in Berlin in August was a career-defining moment. Nearly one year after not finishing the decathlon during the Beijing Olympics because of misses in the pole vault, Hardee rebounded in a glorious way. He finished with a career-best total of 8,790 points at the world championships and set personal records in three events: long jump, shot put and javelin throw.

The native of Birmingham, Ala. was the 2006 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year while competing for the University of Texas. He was also the 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion and 2004 Outdoor runner-up and current NCAA decathlon record-holder.

The Jim Thorpe All-Around Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in multiple sports and/or multiple events of the same sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of versatility, strength, speed, flexibility, conditioning and training that exemplify superior athletic prowess.

Past winners of the Thorpe All-Around Award include Deion Sanders, Herschel Walker, Willie Gault, Danny Ainge, Julius Peppers and Brian Clay.

Anti-Steroid Crusader Receives Academy’s Distinguished Service Award

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Dr. Donn C. Renwick, a Distance Learning Faculty member and former Dean at the Academy, left, presents Don Hooton with a Distinguished Service Award.

Don Hooton of Frisco, Texas, received a 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy for his work to raise awareness of high school students’ willingness to use anabolic steroids.

Hooton lost his 16-year-old son, Taylor, to suicide after a bout of depression after using the dangerous substances. That experience led him to establish the Taylor Hooton Foundation.

Hooton’s efforts inspired the Texas Senate to put into legislation mandatory steroid screening in Texas public schools.

Dr. Donn C. Renwick presented Hooton with his Distinguished Service Award in front of 100 people at the Taylor Hooton Foundation Golf Tournament.

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is given annually to those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service. Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sports, meaning the individual has had significant dealings in instruction, research or service in sports for more than 10 years.

The Distinguished Service Award is separate from the Academy’s Awards of Sport and recipients also receive the coveted Order of the Eagle Exemplar for their achievements.

Academy Presents Eagle Award to Brazilian Olympic Committee President

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Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman, left, is presented the Academy’s Eagle Award by Board of Visitors member Peter Tichansky.

Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman was presented with the United States Sports Academy’s Eagle Award on 19 November 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Mr. Peter Tichansky, a member of the Academy’s Board of Visitors and President of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).

Nuzman was honored for his successful efforts in bringing the Summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to South America for the first time. Brazil won the honor to host the games in 2016, beating out Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo.

Nuzman’s connection with the Games began when he was part of the first Brazilian Olympic volleyball team in 1964. He was president of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation from 1975 to 1995 before becoming president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO).

The Eagle Award is the Academy’s highest international honor. It is presented to a world leader in sport to recognize that individual’s contributions in promoting international harmony, peace and goodwill through the effective use of sport. Past winners of the award include NBA Commissioner David Stern (2009), former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch (1999) and His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco (1997).

Ole Miss Earns College Football Game of the Week Nod

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Mississippi’s 25-23 victory over LSU on 21 November was selected as the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week by a panel of experts.

Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster ran for 148 yards as the Rebels gained the inside track on second place behind Alabama in the West Division of the Southeastern Conference.

After building a 25-17 lead, the Rebels held off LSU in the fourth quarter. LSU appeared poised to win the game with a late field goal or touchdown, but clock management issues led to the Tigers’ drive stalling on the Ole Miss 5 on the last play of the game.

Disagree with our experts? Email us at games@ussa.edu and tell us your thoughts on the Game of the Week, and nominations for Game of the Year.

The University of Connecticut also received serious consideration from the experts for its emotional 33-30 victory at Notre Dame. The win was the first for UConn in four games since starting safety Jasper Howard was killed.

Top nominations by week so far this year are:

  • Week 1: BYU 14, Oklahoma 13
  • Week 2: Houston 45, Oklahoma State 35
  • Week 3: Washington 16, USC 13
  • Week 4: Oregon 42, California 3
  • Week 5: UTEP 58, Houston 41
  • Week 6: Arkansas 44, Auburn 23
  • Week 7: Florida 23, Arkansas 20
  • Week 8: Clemson 40, Miami 37 (OT)
  • Week 9: Oregon 47, USC 20
  • Week 10: Navy 23, Notre Dame 21
  • Week 11: Stanford 55, USC 21

The College Football Game of the Year concept was developed by Daniel Moore, the Academy’s 2005 Sport Artist of the Year. Moore is a well-known artist for his paintings on college football.

At the end of the season and bowl games, a final review of nominations will be prepared for consideration. The winning school receives a commemorative limited edition fine art print and a $5,000 donation for its general scholarship fund.

The Academy’s expert panel includes such former esteemed coaches as Hall of Famers Vince Dooley from Georgia and Jack Lengyel, the coach at Marshall University after a plane crash claimed the lives of 75 team members and coaching staff in 1970.

Longtime St. Francis Baseball Coach Awarded Academy Distinguished Service Award

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Gordie Gillespie

The winningest coach in college baseball history, Gordie Gillespie of the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill., has been awarded a Distinguished Service Award (DSA) by the United States Sports Academy.

Gillespie, who turns 84 in April 2010, will begin his 58th season of coaching baseball next year. He has compiled a career record of 1,816 wins and 922 losses. More than half of his victories have come at St. Francis, where he coached from 1977 through 1995 and again from 2006 until the present.

Gillespie has been inducted into 16 halls of fame, including the College Baseball Hall of Fame this past summer, and is a four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coach of the year. Gillespie’s 1993 team won the first national championship in St. Francis school history, regardless of sport.

The DSA is given annually to those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service. The DSA is separate from the Academy’s Awards of Sport and each recipient also receives the coveted Order of the Eagle Exemplar for their achievements.

Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sports. This means that the individual must have had significant dealings in either instruction, research or service in sports for more than 10 years.

Academy Honors Carroll for Work with Paralympians and Challenged Athletes

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Kevin Carroll

Kevin Carroll, the vice-president of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics and an individual disabled athletes can turn to for prosthetic innovations that meet the challenges of elite competition or extreme sports, has been awarded a Distinguished Service Award (DSA) by the United States Sports Academy.

Carroll supported numerous Paralympians who participated in the Beijing Games in 2008, and his customized prosthetic solutions helped a double-leg amputee summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. His work with challenged athletes has been featured in national news programs and publications, such as Time magazine’s 2008 article, “Building a Better Athlete.” Additionally, he has applied his knowledge of athletic forces and movements to create the world’s first prosthetic tail fluke for an amputee dolphin alongside colleague Dan Strzempka at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a Florida marine park.

Carroll has served Paralympians and disabled athletes through research, hosting clinics, educating others and speaking at international events. He has spent more than a quarter century developing artificial limbs and is considered one of the world’s top prosthetists.

The DSA is given annually to those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service. The DSA is separate from the Academy’s Awards of Sport and each recipient also receives the coveted Order of the Eagle Exemplar for their achievements.

Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sports. This means that the individual must have had significant dealings in either instruction, research or service in sports for more than 10 years.

Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, Trainers on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Share Academy’s Fitness Award

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L-R: Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, the trainers on the NBC hit show “The Biggest Loser,” have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Dwight David Eisenhower Fitness Award winners for 2010.

Since debuting in 2004, The Biggest Loser has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is shown in over 90 countries and produced in 25 countries. “The Biggest Loser” has grown to become a standalone health and lifestyle brand by developing tools and products inspired by the show and approved by its doctors and experts. Products include The New York Times best-selling books series, best-selling fitness DVD series, a line of appliances, fitness equipment, protein supplements and countless other health and lifestyle based products.

The first reality series where everybody “loses,” “The Biggest Loser” challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000. Hosted by Alison Sweeney (Days of our Lives), the series provides the contestants with challenges, temptations, weigh-ins and eliminations until the final contestant remains to claim the title of “The Biggest Loser.” Contestants work out under the supervision of Michaels and Harper. The show is based in southern California.

The Dwight David Eisenhower Fitness Award is presented to a person who has shown outstanding individual or cumulative achievement in fitness and has contributed to the growth and development of sport fitness through outstanding leadership activity.

Academy Vice President to Present at Sports Seminar in Brazil

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United States Sports Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich will present at the International Congress of Sport and Leisure Management in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 27 November 2009. His paper is entitled “Information Technology Management for Sports Administrators.”

The conference was organized by the Social Service Organization for Commerce Workers (SESC), the School of Physical Education and Sports of the University of Sao Paulo, and the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA). This will be the second time Dr. Rosandich has been invited to present at the Annual SESC Congress. The first time was in June of 2000.

Dr. Rosandich’s presentation will focus on the role and management of informational technology in sports organizations and how it can be a powerful management tool when planning, promoting and operating businesses and executing major events related to sport. The subject is a timely one in Brazil, with the recent announcement of Rio winning the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Brazil is also scheduled to host the 2014 World Cup. Dr. Rosandich chairs the Academy’s Technology Committee. The Academy’s technology, in place to help deliver degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels as well as certificate programs all online, has long been considered among the best in higher education.

Stanford Rout Named Week 11's Top College Football Game

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Stanford handed powerful USC one of its worst losses in school history and was nominated as the United States Sports Academy’s top college football game for Week 11 by our panel of experts.

Stanford routed USC 55-21 in a Pacific-10 Conference game, ending the Trojans’ streak of seven straight Bowl Championship Series (BCS) appearances. The 55 points were the most the Trojans have allowed in a game in school history.

Toby Gerhart rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns for Stanford, which finished off impressive back-to-back wins that included a victory over Oregon. Stanford, which beat USC 24-23 in 2007, is the only team to beat the Trojans at the Coliseum since 2001.

Ohio State’s 27-24 overtime victory over Iowa was the only other game to receive serious consideration for Game of the Week. Ohio State clinched the Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl berth with Devin Barclay’s field goal in OT. Barclay is a 26-year-old former Major League Soccer player.

Disagree with our experts? Email us at games@ussa.edu and tell us your thoughts on the Game of the Week, and nominations for Game of the Year.

Top nominations by week so far this year are:

  • Week 1: BYU 14, Oklahoma 13
  • Week 2: Houston 45, Oklahoma State 35
  • Week 3: Washington 16, USC 13
  • Week 4: Oregon 42, California 3
  • Week 5: UTEP 58, Houston 41
  • Week 6: Arkansas 44, Auburn 23
  • Week 7: Florida 23, Arkansas 20
  • Week 8: Clemson 40, Miami 37 (OT)
  • Week 9: Oregon 47, USC 20
  • Week 10: Navy 23, Notre Dame 21

The College Football Game of the Year concept was developed by Daniel Moore, the Academy’s 2005 Sport Artist of the Year. Moore is a well-known artist for his paintings on college football.

At the end of the season and bowl games, a final review of nominations will be prepared for consideration. The winning school receives a commemorative limited edition fine art print and a $5,000 donation for its general scholarship fund.

The Academy’s expert panel includes such former esteemed coaches as Hall of Famers Vince Dooley from Georgia and Jack Lengyel, the coach at Marshall University after a plane crash claimed the lives of 75 team members and coaching staff in 1970.

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