Members of the Board of Trustees gather on the front steps of the Academy with the Awards of Sport honorees.

DAPHNE, Ala. The 31st annual Awards of Sport Celebration was held on the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala., on Thursday, 5 November 2015.  With the theme, “the Artist and the Athlete,” the Academy annually pays tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport.

The Academy’s 2015 class of honorees include individuals from around the world, who are leaders in their respective areas of the sport profession.  Eight of these individuals gathered at the Academy to be recognized during the annual celebration.  They included:

2015 International Honorary Doctorate – Professor Franco Ascani

Professor Franco Ascani is currently the International President of the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs, which has a mission to “promote the values, the Olympism, ethical, and cultural function of the Sport Movement through television and cinema.”  He is also currently a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission, the former President of the Union Eupéenne du Sports pour Tous, and the former Vice President of the Fédération Internationale du Sport pour Tous.  A journalist, Professor Ascani has authored several books about sports management and has published more than 200 scientific reviews.  He has also served as the Director of the Master’s Degree in Sport Management Marketing and Sociology for the University of Milano-Bicocca since 2002.

2015 National Honorary Doctorate – David Wallechinsky

David Wallechinsky has been the President of the International Society of Olympic Historians since 2012 and a member of the organization since its inception in 1991.  He has spearheaded a worldwide effort to promote and study the Olympic Movement and Olympic Games, all while letting his passion for the top international sporting event pour out into printed word.  For more than three decades now, he has kept readers abreast of the most recent Olympic news by updating his reference volumes The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics and The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics.  The dedication he has shown and knowledge he has attained led to him becoming a commentator for NBC and Westwood One radio from 1988 through the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Russia.

2015 Alumnus of the Year – CDR David Peterson, Ed.D.

CDR David Peterson, Ed.D., currently serves as the Executive Officer of the Physical Education Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.  In this role, he acts as the Senior Military Adviser and Reporting Senior Officer for all active duty military personnel within the department.  The Naval Academy’s Physical Education Department is one of the broadest of its kind in the nation and is responsible for the physical mission development for each Midshipman within the brigade.  He also serves as the lead instructor for two of the physical education elective courses offered at the Naval Academy.

2015 Sport Artist of the Year – Joseph Sheppard

Joseph Sheppard is an award-winning artist, painter, and sculptor.  He first became interested in depicting sports, especially boxing, after he completed a cover for Sports Illustrated featuring pro boxer Jack Dempsey.  He has spent more than six decades documenting life through realist paintings, drawings, and sculptures building an enviable reputation in the art world.  He has been awarded numerous honors, including the Gold Medal of Honor in 1994 from the National Sculpture Society in N.Y. and more recently, the XVIII Premio Internazionale Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo in Italy.  His work can be found in dozens of prestigious collections worldwide.

2015 Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award – Col. John Feagin, Jr. M.D. (retired)

Dr. John Feagin formerly served as the President and founding member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.  He has incredible academic-professional legacies at both the United States Military Academy and Duke University.  Despite having retired, his fingerprints remain on the medical field, especially as it relates to sports and those prestigious institutions of higher education.  A former athlete at West Point, Dr. Feagin was commissioned to the Artillery Branch of the U.S. Army.  While in that position, he was inspired by a strong sense of duty and responsibility for soldier well-being to apply for admission to Duke University’s School of Medicine, where he eventually became president of his medical school class.

2015 Theodore Roosevelt Meritorious Achievement Award – Gaylon McCollough, M.D.

Dr. Gaylon McCollough is the founder of the McCollough Plastic Surgery Clinic in Birmingham, Ala.  He relocated his clinic and practice to Gulf Shores, Ala., in 1999, where he founded the McCollough Institute for Appearance and Health.  Dr. McCollough has obtained international recognition as a surgeon, teacher, author, and medical association leader.  A University of Alabama 1965 honors graduate, he served as an offensive center for the 1964 National Champion Crimson Tide football team under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.  Before choosing a medical career over a promising football career with the Dallas Cowboys, Dr. McCollough played football for the Atlanta Falcons and earned “All-Pro” Honors while attending medical school.

2015 Carl Maddox Sports Management Award – Dr. Kevin White

Dr. Kevin White currently serves as the Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke University, which has ranked among the top schools in graduation success and academic performance rates since he came aboard.  Dr. White also served on the steering committee for the Chicago bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games and was just recently named to the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors.  While at Duke, he has geared programs to aide Duke’s community outreach and its academic mission, highlighted by a ticket proceeds-fueled library fund that supports teaching and research across the institution.

2015 Distinguished Service Award – Dr. T.J. Rosandich

Dr. T.J. Rosandich, the Academy’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, has worked for the institution for 33 years. In his previous role as the Vice President of the Academy, he provided administrative and financial oversight, as well as managed the institution’s technology and extensive international programs.  His reach extended even further within the Academy and outside of it.  Dr. Rosandich has served in many roles in the Middle East, including as the developer of sports programs in the Arabian Gulf region and as the Advisor to the President of the General Organization for Youth and Sports of the Kingdom of Bahrain.  A veteran who served four years in the Army, including a tour with the 101st Airborne as a paratrooper, Dr. Rosandich has been active with civic and social organizations as well, which includes serving on the Steering Committee for the development of the Mobile Sports Authority in Ala.

Golf Sculpture

Bruce Larsen stands next to the new golf sculpture he created for the Academy’s Sport Sculpture Park.

Following the Awards of Sport Program, the Academy unveiled the newest addition to its Sport Sculpture Park by Bruce Larsen, a local Gulf Coast artist and the 2009 Sport Artist of the Year.  This 20-foot, “found object” sculpture depicts golf in celebration of the sport’s return to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil after an absence of 100 years.  Larsen’s sculptures are collected by presidents, royalty, and music legends, and can be found in museums around the country.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service.  The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.  For additional information on the Academy, visit or call 251-626-3303.