USBWA Most Courageous Award

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USBWA Most Courageous Award
Given forIndividuals associated with men's and women's college basketball who have demonstrated extraordinary courage in life
CountryUnited States
Presented byUnited States Basketball Writers Association
History
First award1978
Most recentMen's: Ericka Downey, Northeastern State
Women's: David Six, Hampton
WebsiteOfficial site

The USBWA Most Courageous Awards are two annual basketball awards given by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) to figures associated with college basketball who, according to the organization, have "demonstrated extraordinary courage reflecting honor on the sport of amateur basketball."[1] Since 2012, the women's version of the award has been named the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award in honor of the legendary Tennessee women's coach who received the award that year.[2]

History and selection[edit]

The award was first presented in 1978, and was not initially restricted exclusively to college basketball, although every winner since 1980 has been associated with the college game in some manner. Through 2009, a single award was presented; starting in 2010, separate awards have been given for men's and women's college basketball. More than one individual can receive an award, with the most recent example being in 2017, when the women's award was presented to Appalachian State coach Angel Elderkin and ESPN broadcaster Holly Rowe. Traditionally, the winners receive their awards at the men's or women's Final Four (as applicable), although the awards can be presented earlier as circumstances dictate; the most notable exception was when the 2015 Summitt Award was presented to Lauren Hill at halftime of her first college game in November 2014, presumably so she would receive the award while alive (at the time, she was not expected to survive until the 2015 Final Four).[2]

Most honorees have been cited for courage as current or former college players. However, the list of recipients also includes coaches, the wife of a coach, two broadcasters, a referee, an athletic program staffer, the widow of a former player (recognized alongside her late husband), and two college basketball programs.

The award's bifurcation by sex is not based on that of the recipient, but rather on whether the recipient was connected to the men's or women's game. In 2019, a woman received the men's award and a man received the women's award.

Winners[edit]

All affiliations listed were current at the time the award was presented; the "Notes" column indicates the situation that led the USBWA to present the award.

Single award (1978–2009)[edit]

All winners during this period were associated with men's basketball unless noted otherwise.

Year Recipient Affiliation Role Notes
1978 John Kratzer William & Mary Player Cancer patient
1979 Bill Wanstrath Batesville High School (Indiana) Player Played despite having only one arm
1980 Phil Scaffidi Niagara Player Cancer patient
1981 Mark Alcorn LSU Player Cancer patient
1982 John Flowers Bowling Green Player Overcame "tremendous personal and physical problems"
1983 Ronnie Carr Western Carolina Player Overcame serious complications of injuries in an auto accident
1984 Reggie Warford Pittsburgh Assistant coach Rescued an elderly couple from a home fire
1985 Dennis Schlitt Army Player Overcame a life-threatening illness
1986 Bob Wenzel Jacksonville Head coach Recovered from emergency brain aneurysm surgery
1987 David Rivers Notre Dame Player Recovered from serious injuries in an auto accident
1988 Steve Kerr Arizona Player Overcame the murder of his father during his college career
1989 Landon Turner Indiana Former player Played wheelchair basketball after being paralyzed in an auto accident
1990 Donald Taylor UMass Player Went from homelessness to a Division I scholarship
1991 Eric Murdock Providence Player Returned from an irregular heartbeat and many injuries
1992 Pete Pavia N/A Referee Officiated college games while battling cancer for 13 years
1993 Jim Valvano ESPN Broadcaster and former coach (Iona, NC State) Battled bone cancer
1994 Orlando Antigua Pittsburgh Player Survived childhood in a difficult New York City neighborhood, including being shot in the head
1995 Nolan Richardson Arkansas Head coach Overcame racial prejudice and the cancer death of his daughter during his career
1996 Cori Carson Marymount (women's) Player Returned to play a year after receiving a liver transplant
1997 Wes Flanigan Auburn Player Recovered from surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his arm
1998 Jacky Kabba Seton Hall Player Went from war-torn Liberia to Division I basketball
1999 Eddie Shannon Florida Player Played despite having only one eye since a middle school accident
2000 Nathan Binam Oral Roberts Player Started despite losing the index finger of his shooting hand in an auto accident
2001 Entire program Oklahoma State Program Dealt with the aftermath of a plane crash that killed 10 team members
2002 Jamel Bradley South Carolina Player Played successfully despite 80% hearing loss
2003 Rayna DuBose Virginia Tech (women's) Former player Survived an infection that led to the amputation of parts of all four limbs after her freshman season
2004 Trey Schwab Marquette Assistant coach Coached despite suffering from a lung disease that eventually required a double lung transplant
2005 Grant Dykstra Western Washington Player Played successfully despite having full use of only one arm
2006 Mike Sutton Tennessee Tech Head coach Continued to coach despite Guillain–Barré syndrome
2007 Entire program Duquesne Program Dealt with the aftermath of a summer 2006 shooting that left five players injured
2008 Josh Porter LSU–Shreveport Player Returned from a major neck injury suffered during a November 2006 game
2009 Kelvin Davis San Diego State Player Played while undergoing treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

Men's award (2010–present)[edit]

Year Recipient Affiliation Role Notes
2010 Dave Rose BYU Head coach Returned from a battle with pancreatic cancer
2011 Arsalan Kazemi Rice Player First Iranian-born Division I player, despite often-troubled U.S.–Iran relations
2012 Bernard James[3] Florida State Player Went from high school dropout to military veteran to Division I player
2013 Dick Kelley[4] Boston College Sports information director Continued to work despite suffering from ALS
2014 Dau Jok[5]
Dan Peters
Penn
Akron
Player
Director of basketball operations
Jok: Went from war-torn South Sudan to the Ivy League
Peters: Worked while battling pancreatic cancer
2015 Austin Hatch[6] Michigan Player Survivor of two plane crashes that killed the rest of his immediate family, the second of which left him in a coma for two months
2016 Andrew & Samantha Smith[7] Butler Former player and his widow Battled what proved to be fatal non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia, and publicized need for bone marrow donors
2017 Bronson Koenig[8] Wisconsin Player Social activism surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline protests
2018 Sam Dowd[9] Idaho State Player Left homeless at age 13 due to his parents' addictions; also one of the shortest Division I men's players at 5'7"/1.70 m
2019 Ericka Downey[10] Northeastern State Wife of coach Donated a kidney to former Division I men's coach Billy Gillispie, whom she had never met before the surgery

Women's award (2010–present)[edit]

Year Recipient Affiliation Role Notes
2010 Tiffara Steward Farmingdale State Player Believed to be the smallest college player ever (4'6"/1.37 m); survived premature birth, blind in one eye, more than 50% hearing loss, severe scoliosis
2011 Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir Memphis Player Believed to be the first Division I women's player to wear Islamic coverings while playing
2012 Pat Summitt[3] Tennessee Head coach Publicly announced her diagnosis with early-onset dementia, and continued to coach in the 2011–12 season
2013 Beckie Francis[4] Oakland Head coach Publicly acknowledged being a victim of child sexual abuse by her father
2014 Kirsten Moore[5] Westmont Head coach Dealt with the unexpected death of her husband shortly before giving birth
2015 Lauren Hill[2] Mount St. Joseph Player Played while battling what proved to be a fatal brain tumor
2016 Danielle O'Banion[7] Kent State Head coach Survivor of stage 2 lymphoma
2017 Angel Elderkin & Holly Rowe[11] Appalachian State
ESPN
Head coach
Broadcaster
Elderkin: Continued to coach while undergoing treatment for stage 3 endometrial cancer
Rowe: Continued to cover basketball while undergoing treatment for desmoplastic melanoma
2018 Avery Marz[12][13] Saint Joseph's Player Sidelined two seasons after suffering a stroke as a freshman at Saint Joseph's in 2014; returned to active playing duty in 2017–18
2019 David Six[14] Hampton Head coach Continued as head coach in 2018–19 despite suffering a stroke in the 2018 offseason

References[edit]

General
  • Winners through 2011: "Most Courageous Award". United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
Specific
  1. ^ "Most Courageous Award". United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Mount St. Joseph's Hill to Be Honored With Summitt Courage Award" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. October 23, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  3. ^ a b O'Neil, Dana (March 2012). "Most Courageous honors go to Summitt, Florida State's James". The Tipoff. United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Francis, Kelley to Receive USBWA's Most Courageous Awards" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. February 21, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Three Chosen to Receive USBWA's Most Courageous Awards" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. February 20, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "Michigan's Hatch to Receive USBWA's Most Courageous Award" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. February 16, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "USBWA Names Most Courageous Winners" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. February 15, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Walters, Mike (March 2017). "Koenig's social activism is Most Courageous". The Tipoff. United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Idaho State's Dowd Selected as Most Courageous Award Winner" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. February 19, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Ryan, Shannon (January 2019). "Kidney donor Downey is Most Courageous". The Tipoff. United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "Elderkin, Rowe to Receive Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award" (Press release). United States Basketball Writers Association. December 29, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  12. ^ "Marz Named 2018 Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award Recipient". sjuhawks.com. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  13. ^ Greenberg, Mel (January 2018). "Most Courageous Marz recovers from stroke". The Tipoff. United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Greenberg, Mel (March 2019). "Hampton's Six, ACC's Finch earn women's honors". The Tipoff. United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved March 5, 2019.

External links[edit]