Public Invited to United States Sports Academy’s 33rd Annual Awards of Sport Program

The public is invited as the United States Sports Academy holds its 33rd Annual Awards of Sport program, a celebration of sport and art and “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, 9 November 2017, on the Academy’s campus located at One Academy Drive in Daphne, Ala. A reception will follow. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at (251) 626-3303 or email

The Academy’s Awards of Sport honor those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes and Alumni of the Year awards.

A highlight of the evening will be the unveiling and addition to ASAMA’s permanent art collection works by the Academy’s 2017 Sport Artists of the Year: Painter Mr. William “Bill” Williams of Battle Creek, Mich., and Sculptor Mr. Richard Watkins of Atlanta, Ga. Additional works by the two will also be featured in an art show at the event.

Here is a complete list of all 2017 Awards of Sport honorees:

International Honorary Doctorate: His Excellency Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, President, Republic of Gabon.

National Honorary Doctorate: Mr. Sunil Gulati, President, U.S. Soccer Federation.

Sport Artist of the Year, Painter: Mr. William “Bill” Williams, Battle Creek, Mich.

Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor: Mr. Richard Watkins, Atlanta, Ga.

Alumnus of the Year: Dr. Dave Shrock (Ed.D, Sports Management, 2009), USA Track & Field Leader and Academy National Faculty member.

Eagle Award: Dr. René Fasel, D.M.D., President, International Ice Hockey Federation.

Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award: Mr. Mike Holloway, Head Track and Field Coach, University of Florida.

Carl Maddox Sports Management Award: Mr. Don Garber, Commissioner, Major League Soccer, and CEO, Soccer United Marketing.

C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award: Ms. Patty Gasso, Head Softball Coach, the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award: Dr. Kenneth Cameron, Director of Orthopaedic Research, Keller Army Community Hospital in West Point, N.Y.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award: Mr. Fairfax Hackley, Master Personal Trainer and bodybuilder.

Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award: Mr. Justin James “J.J.” Watt, National Football League player and leader of Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

Jim Thorpe All-Around Athlete Award: Ms. Nafissatou Thiam, World Champion heptathlete, Belgium.

Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award: Ms. Oksana Masters, Paralympic Cyclist, World Para Nordic Skiing Champion.

Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award: Mr. Anthony Rizzo, Major League Baseball player, cancer survivor, and founder of the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.

Ronald Reagan Media Award: Mr. Dave Finocchio, founder, former CEO and Chief Content Officer of The Bleacher Report.

Theodore Roosevelt Meritorious Achievement Award: Mr. Jon Runyan, Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration, National Football League, and former U.S. Congressman.

The Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year will be selected in January with the input of international online balloting.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, 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.

The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit