Bobby Bowden

The United States Sports Academy welcomes retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden to campus as part of its Awards of Sport celebration.

Bowden, who coached 44 seasons and finished second on the all-time list for coaching victories, received a 2009 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) from the Academy. During his 34 seasons at Florida State, the Seminoles emerged as one of the dominant programs in college football. Bowden’s teams finished in the top five of the Associated Press poll an astonishing 14 straight seasons.

Bowden will accept his award during his stay on campus, and also headlines a Sport Summit to be hosted at 1 p.m. Friday, 22 January.

The Sport Summit will also include the following honorees: James Vilade, the Academy’s Alumnus of the Year and athletic director and baseball coach at the University of Texas at Tyler; and DSA winners Robert Kanaby, the executive director of the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS); Wallace Renfro, the vice president and senior advisor to the president for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); and Philippa “Phil” Raschker, the holder of 200 world and U.S records in women’s senior track and field.

Two former Alabama and Auburn football standouts will also be on hand for the summit. Dr. Gaylon McCollough, a center for the 1964 Alabama national championship team, and Jackie Burkett, a center on the 1957 Auburn national champions, are also participating. They will help the Academy unveil a monument honoring the Iron Bowl at 4 p.m. that same day.

The panel will discuss current topics in sports and take questions from the Academy’s staff and gathered guests.

Activities get underway on Thursday, 21 January with an art show honoring the American Sport Art Museum and Archives’ 2010 Sport Artist of the Year, TAFA, starting at 5 p.m. Also being honored on 21 January is All My Children actor and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez, who is being given the Academy’s 2009 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson-Zaharias Courage Award.

Martinez was wounded in Iraq when a Humvee he was driving was struck by a land mine. The resulting injuries left him with burns over 40 percent of his body. He endured more than 30 surgeries over 34 months while trying to recover. He uses his scars to “get people’s attention” and provide a positive message of life and faith.

The public is invited to any of the Academy’s events on 21-22 January by calling 251-626-3303 or emailing and reserving a seat. Admission is free.