All NACDA Members
James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon
(Monday, June 15, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.)
If you could all take your seats, we would like to begin. Thank you. If you could direct your attention to this side of the room, I would like to welcome our head table, the Officers, Executive Committee members, and today's award winners. Ladies and gentlemen, our head table. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 1998 James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon. For our invocation, I would like to introduce Lee McElroy, the athletics director at American University and a member of our Executive Committee. After the invocation, please enjoy your lunch and we will start the program shortly. Lee.
Let us pray. Our Lord and Savior, we thank you for this food we're about to receive. We thank you for the opportunity to honor and recognize these outstanding people who have inspired great performances through their commitment and dedication to student-athlete excellence. Amen.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'll get started. I would like to introduce our Officers and Executive Committee members. Please hold all applause to the end. On the upper dais, to my right and your left is Mike Cleary, your executive director; Fred Gruninger, recently retired AD at Rutgers University who is completing his term as NACDA's 1st vice president; Jim Livengood, AD at the University of Arizona and NACDA's 2nd vice president; Dave Hart, Jr., AD at Florida State University and NACDA's 3rd vice president; Art Eason, AD at William Paterson College and NACDA's secretary; and also, Richard Schultz of the United States Olympic Committee and sponsor of today's luncheon; and Bob Byrnes of Manhattan College, who is representing the National Invitation Tournament, who is also one of the sponsors of the luncheon.
Additionally, the current leadership of NACDA, the Executive Committee is seated at the lower dais. Starting on the end, from my right and your left is Louise O'Neal, AD at Wellesley College; Jennifer Alley, executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators; Tricia Bork, group executive director of championships at the NCAA; Dana Craft, associate AD at Southwest Texas State University; Mark Dienhart, men's AD at the University of Minnesota; Brian Farrell, AD at Catonsville Community College; Greg Feris, AD at Wayland Baptist University; Theo Gregory, AD at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; Jerry Hughes, AD at Central Missouri State University; Mike Jacobsen, AD at Utah Valley State College; Betty Jaynes, chief executive officer of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association; Roger Maisner, AD at Mansfield University; and Lori Mallory, AD at Johnson County Community College.
On the lower dais, to my left and your right is Bob Marcum, AD at the University of Massachusetts; Bobby May, AD at Rice University; Lee McElroy, AD at American University; Beth Miller, associate AD at the University of North Carolina; Porter Miller, AD at Earlham College; Ron Prettyman, AD at Cal State Dominguez Hills; Judy Rose, AD at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte; Randy Spetman, AD at the U.S. Air Force Academy; John Stauff, AD at Ocean County College; Betsy Stephenson, senior associate AD at UCLA; Pat Thomas, associate AD at Georgetown University; Miechelle Willis, associate AD at Ohio State University; and Dick Young, AD at Lynn University. And, seated on the second level to my right is James Frank, commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for the Officers, Executive Committee members, sponsors and guests.
We will begin our program with the Collegiate Olympic Coaches Recognition Awards. As you know, at the 1993 Convention, NACDA teamed with the USOC in creating a medal to honor the coaches who led teams or individuals to medals at the Olympic Games. It is not widely known that the coaches who lead these exceptional athletes do not receive any medals. So, once again this year, NACDA and the USOC will present a medal to all college Olympic Coaches of Record who led a team or individual athlete to a gold, silver or bronze medal at the 1994 or 1998 Winter Olympic Games or the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. And now to present our recipients, I would like to bring up our master of ceremonies, Mike Moran.
Mike was named the USOC's assistant executive director for media and public affairs in 1997 and has served as the organization's chief public media relations executive since joining the USOC in 1979. Mike oversees all USOC functions dealing with public and media relations, government relations, publications and graphic services and public and tour programs at the three USOC facilities in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lake Placid, New York; and Chula Vista, California.
In 1995, Mike was appointed to the International Olympic Committee's Press Commission by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Moran.
Thanks a lot Vince. It's great to be in a room full of such outstanding talent in the college ranks. I come from a great college background myself. I was a sports information director for a couple of years at my alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and for 10 years, at the University of Colorado until 1979, when Chuck Fairbanks became the head coach. I had a difficult time deciding to leave Colorado when Chuck was coming because Chuck won a couple of national championships at Colorado and I thought this might be a bad time to leave. Looking back on it, of course, I realized that I missed the Titanic at the dock and it was a wise move.
I saw Cedric Dempsey earlier this week and it reminded me of one of the little known facts that made me comfortable. One of my last college jobs was as a restricted earnings basketball coach at Colorado. I've had the privilege of working for Dick Schultz for the last three years. Everybody in the room knows Dick Schultz from his days as athletics director at Cornell and at Virginia and, of course, his executive directorship with the NCAA, until he joined the USOC. We coaxed him out of retirement. Dick was a guy who was a basketball coach and a baseball coach at the University of Iowa at the same time, which, of course, is unheard of now in modern college athletics.
But you know I look back at some stories about Dick and I found out that he pulled off one of the greatest stunts I ever heard of. He had a great player at Iowa in the 60s that was on the verge of being ineligible because he was taking a summer math course. The professor called Dick and told him that this player was on the verge of becoming ineligible, but I'm a Hawkeye booster and I want to do the right thing. He was going to give Dick a chance to make it right, all up and up, but he needed some direction. Dick said, "Thank you for calling. This guy is important for our plans, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and this is going to make the difference." The professor was with him. He asked Dick what he had in mind. Dick said, "I'll tell you what. We open against Drake on Saturday and let's get him out there at the tip-off, center court and you can ask him a question, any math question you want. If he answers it, he's eligible and if he doesn't answer it, he's ineligible and we'll buy that." That professor agreed with that.
Minutes before the tip-off, Dick walked out there with his player. The math professor grabbed the microphone and explained to everyone what they were doing. The professor turned to the Iowa star and asked, "Son, what's seven and seven?" The kid grabbed the microphone and said, "Well, that's 14, professor." Unbelievable. Dick breathed a sigh of relief and the crowd erupted, but then there was a look of confusion on Dick's face and the math professor's. The crowd chanted in unison, "One more chance, one more chance."
It's a great opportunity to introduce these great Olympic coaches who have come from the colleges. Dick told you this morning in his address at the Opening Session how vitally important the college system is, from Jesse Owens to the great athletes now. They've all come through our college system. That's why we're engaged in the programs we are with the USOC and the NCAA Grant Program to bolster Olympic sports at your campuses where there's a problem.
We love this opportunity to be here today with NACDA and join in honoring the 1994, 1998 and 1996 Olympic coaches who have come from the college ranks. Eight are here with you today. If you look at your program, you'll see the biographies on all of them, including those who couldn't be with us today.
Our first coach is Randy Ableman, who is the men's diving coach at the University of Miami. He led athletes to gold, silver and bronze medals in men's diving at the Olympic Games. Randy has coached at least one diver to an NCAA title in seven of his nine years at Miami. He has guided 24 all?Americans and 10 national champions and has been named the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year six times. Ladies and gentlemen, Randy Ableman.
Our next Olympic Collegiate Coach is Charles Craig. He has been the men's and women's track and field coach at California State University-Bakersfield for more than 26 years. He led the men's Olympic team to gold, silver and bronze medals. He has coached 177 all?Americans, 16 national champions and two Olympians. Charles was named the San Joaquin Valley Coach of the Year in 1982 and was inducted into the Fresno State Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1986. Ladies and gentlemen, Charles Craig.
Our next coach is Bobby Cremins from the 1996 Olympic basketball team, the men's basketball coach at Georgia Tech. He led the men's Olympic team to the gold. In 16 seasons there, Bobby has led the Yellow Jackets to three ACC tournament titles, one ACC regular season crown and a share of another and a Final Four appearance in 1990. He has coached Tech to 13 winning seasons and 12 postseason invitations. He is Tech's all?time winningest coach, with a record of 301?190 and has been named ACC Coach of the Year three times. Ladies and gentlemen, Bobby Cremins.
Next, we have Curtis Jordan, the rowing coach at Princeton University for the past 18 years. During his tenure, the Tigers have won two Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges titles and the 1996 national championship. In 1997, Princeton won its second consecutive Eastern Sprints title, third straight points trophy and its first perfect season in 116 years. Curtis was named the EARC Coach of the Year in 1995 and the EARWC Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1990. Ladies and gentlemen, Curtis Jordan.
Our next recipient is Tony Naclerio, the men's assistant track and field coach at Rutgers University. In more than 35 years of coaching track and field, Tony has established himself as an authority on throwing. He has been named the U.S. High School Coach of the Year and was part of the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year in the spring of 1996. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Tony Naclerio.
Our next honoree is already a legend in women's basketball, Marian Washington, who has been the women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas for 25 years. She led the women's Olympic squad to the gold. She's also coached one of the greatest players in women's history, Lynette Woodard. In 1997, Marian was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year as the Jayhawks won the conference title, and for the sixth consecutive year, qualified for the women's NCAA tournament. Her teams have had 18 winning seasons and eight NCAA tournament appearances. She has a career record of 457?258. Ladies and gentlemen, the fabulous Marian Washington.
Our next honoree is George Williams, the men's and women's cross country and track and field coach at St. Augustine's College. In 23 years, his teams have combined to win 24 indoor and 27 outdoor track and field championships and 29 cross country titles in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The men's track team has won seven NCAA indoor and seven outdoor titles, while the women's team has won two indoor championships. He was named NCAA Outdoor Coach of the Year six times and Indoor Coach of the Year 10 times. Ladies and gentlemen, George Williams.
Our final recipient had a great Olympic Games in Atlanta. One of the great stories out of those games, the games of our women. Our women have attained absolutely the premiere status in the world in Olympic sports. She's Margie Wright, the women's softball coach at Fresno State. In 18 years, Margie has never experienced a losing season, and has coached nine teams to 50 wins or more. Her career record is 770?269?3, which ranks her third for all?time victories in Division I. In 13 years at Fresno State, she has three NCAA championship runner?up trophies. Her teams have averaged 52 wins a season, have been to eight College World Series, won eight conference titles, eight regional championships and have advanced to postseason play 12 times. Ladies and gentlemen, Margie Wright of Fresno State.
Thank you Dick and thank you, Vince. Of course, we expect a response from our Olympic coaches. If you read the front page of USA Today, you'll see a story as we begin a celebration of last night's NBA championship by the Chicago Bulls. There was a very sobering story on the front page. It talks about the impending labor situation within the NBA and it also has some very aggressive language by USA Basketball President Russ Granik, about the possibility that by the time we get to Sydney, we'll be back to using college players in the Olympic Games. Nonetheless, it's an interesting bit of reading and you'll want take some time.
To respond on behalf of these Olympic coaches is men's assistant Olympic coach and Georgia Tech's head coach, Bobby Cremins.
Thank you Mike. I don't know how I got this great honor. I don't know if it's because I'm the oldest or the youngest. Being part of the Olympics for me, and I'm sure all of the recipients, is one of the greatest honors of our life. Personally, it was a really tough sacrifice being with the Dream Team, staying in the best hotels and flying on the team planes.
Seriously, I was very proud of the Dream Team. I know there's been some controversy about professional athletes playing. First, I was excited to see how excited they were. Their number one goal was to bring home the Gold medal. Everyday they would talk about bringing home the Gold medal. Obviously, we were heavy favorites. The thing that made me the most proud of the Dream Team was the way they treated the other USA athletes. I'll always remember the Opening Ceremonies how so many athletes came all over to the Dream Team and how great they were. My proudest moment was, unfortunately, at a bad time, when we had the bombing. We found the daughter of the mother who was killed. The Dream Team brought that young girl up to the hotel, spent a couple of hours with her, talked to her, gave her autographs, and to me, that was a big part of watching the Dream Team in action.
Another highlight, and I noticed this in their faces, was when we came to Atlanta and were issued our first USA gear. I watched all of the athletes receive their gear, put it on and were fitted. We then entered the Atlanta Olympic Stadium. That is something I'll always remember coming down that ramp. With our USA jackets on and marching around that Stadium was really something.
It takes a lot of sacrifice to get to the Olympics. We've all done things prior to the Olympics. I was fortunate to be the assistant at the World Games. I coached a World qualification game with college players and those are the times I remember the most. But, just being able to put USA on your chest and represent your country is such a great honor for us. On behalf of all of the recipients, I want to thank NACDA for this luncheon and for this acknowledgment. It means a lot to all of us. Thank you.
Thanks Bobby, for those compelling remarks. On behalf of the Olympic Committee, I'd like to personally apologize to you for the airline accommodations, the finest hotels and the food being a step down from what you're used to at Georgia Tech during the season.
Once again, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for allowing the U.S. Olympic Committee to be a part of the NACDA program and for sponsoring this luncheon today. Let's offer a round of applause for these outstanding coaches who led our Olympic teams.
Now to speak on a new awards program NACDA will be initiating next year is Jack Lengyel, athletics director at the U.S. Naval Academy and NACDA's president in 1989-90. Jack.
Thank you very much. It is my privilege to announce that in 1998-99, NACDA will be honoring administrators at all levels with the NACDA Athletics Director of the Year Awards. There will be four Regional Administrators of the Year in each division of I-A, I-AA/I-AAA combined, II, III, NAIA and Junior/Community College, for a total of 24 directors of athletics who will be honored annually in their local communities. From this group, one administrator from each division will be selected as the national Athletics Director of the Year and will be honored at this luncheon next year. This will be followed up with local presentations on each campus at a home football or basketball game. We want to announce this to alert all of you to participate in this program. We'll be sending out applications and forms in the fall. We hope you will take your regions and find who you think is the best person to honor for these awards next year. Our goal is to recognize the people who work so hard at the local level for the outstanding job that they're doing with their student-athletes on the national level. Thank you very much.
Now, to present the NACDA/NIT Athletics Directors Award, Bob Byrnes, athletics director at Manhattan College, representing the NIT.
Thank you Mike. It's an honor to be here to represent Jack Powers, our executive director and the NIT committee to present this year's NACDA/NIT Athletics Administrators Award to Frank Rienzo, currently the senior athletics director at Georgetown University. Many of you have known Frank for many years. He started at Georgetown in 1969 as their track coach, coming from Archbishop Malloy High School in Queens where he had built Malloy into a track powerhouse. He was a great track coach at Georgetown for four years in an era of great coaches and great teams. A number of them seem to have nicknames. There was this guy, Jumbo Elliott at Villanova, Pee Wee Greenfield, Clemson and the coach at Georgetown's nickname was, the Pope because he did his undergraduate at Maryknoll and served a novitiate. He was truly a great coach and Georgetown continues to be a great powerhouse in track and field.
In 1972, he became the athletics director. One of his first major moves, and what a great move it was, was to hire John Thompson, then a high school basketball coach at St. Anthony's in Washington, D.C. John Thompson and Coach Rienzo really have kept Georgetown and the sport of basketball in national prominence for more than 25 years.
Frank has guided Georgetown for tremendous growth and change. He's spearheaded a drive to build their Yates Fieldhouse. He's been a champion for women's sports, witnessed by their tremendous championship performance at the Commissioner's Cup level in the Big East. He's really set his mark in the area of fund raising and marketing on a national level. How often do you see someone on your campus in the airport, in a mall with a Georgetown University sweater, sweatshirt or various other paraphernalia? That all goes back to someone wise enough in licensing and marketing years ago to get involved and get going, Frank Rienzo.
He's known by many as one of the founders of the Big East, along with Dave Gavitt, Jake Crouthamel and Jack Kaiser, the original four. That conference is synonymous with the success of college basketball today. But for me personally, I best know Frank from eight or 10 years ago at the NCAA convention, where I felt he called for common sense and fairness as it applies to utilizing SAT scores as the critical benchmark in determining initial eligibility. He spoke up then and still speaks out today where he felt it was unfair and some were prejudicial and, in my opinion, was proved correct about the SATs.
He's done a great deal at Georgetown, but probably is as proud of his four children attending there. Francis, graduating in 1989; Theresa in 1990; Cecilia in 1993 and in law school in 1997. Most recently, Matthew in 1997, who also put his mark athletically on the university and himself by being an all-American lacrosse player. Just to show you how much this man has endured change, the high school and college coach who was known as the Pope attended his daughter's wedding and was greeted with the music from the "Godfather."
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the NACDA/NIT Athletics Administrator of the Year, Frank Rienzo, Georgetown University.
I told Bob that if he released too much information about me, I'd be at the microphone last. Those of you who have been at NCAA conventions know I've never seen a microphone I didn't like. Thank you Bob.
In 1972, after being track coach at Georgetown for three years, I was appointed as acting director of athletics and I've been acting ever since, for 21 years, as director of athletics, five years as senior director of athletics. I want to take this opportunity to thank Georgetown University for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. I want to thank my family for giving the time to me to do such a wonderful professional occupation as director of athletics. They've given their time so I could work in the profession of athletics in higher education and what I consider to be the most demanding job on our campuses.
I'm very honored today and I want to thank NACDA, Vince Dooley and Mike Cleary, NACDA's executive director. I especially want to thank the NIT, Bob Byrnes, the president and the executive director, Jack Powers for selecting me for this award. To receive the NACDA/NIT Award is very special to a kid from New York. I listened to the NIT on the radio before there was a NCAA basketball championship. So, I am extremely honored to be selected to receive this award.
I am very honored to be in the same company with the other 16 previous recipients of this award, all of whom have had a dramatic effect on me, personally, on my growth as a director of athletics, but more importantly, they have had a dramatic impact by the leadership and inspiration on all of college athletics. This is, indeed, I consider to be a great contribution by NACDA as it provides a forum for us to get to know one another personally and to have access to the Management Institute. I do believe that we stand on the shoulders of those athletics administrators who came before us. I believe that I have had an opportunity to stand on some of the broadest and strongest shoulders in the business.
I am personally delighted to be included in a group of such successful administrators, which includes two colleagues of mine in the formation of the Big East Conference, Jack Kaiser of St. John's University and Bill Flynn of Boston College. Bill Flynn was a giant among giants and had such a dramatic impact, not only on the Big East, but more importantly, the NCAA and all of the athletics opportunities that are available to all of our administrators today.
I also would like to take this opportunity to thank NACDA again, because if it hadn't been for the Management Institute and especially Francis Bridges at Level I, I never would have been able to make the transition from a track coach to an athletics administrator. The transition can be very difficult when you come from a sport that has no money to all of the sports that demand a lot of money. I want to take this opportunity to thank Francis Bridges and NACDA for what they have given me through the Management Institute. Those of you that are just starting on your careers, if you haven't had an opportunity to participate in the Management Institute, I think it's the most important thing you can do in the next year.
During my 30 years at Georgetown, many people have played important roles in my development, but especially in the sport of basketball. Dave Gavitt, founder of the Big East Conference taught me the business of basketball. One other thing he taught me was to take a nap every afternoon. Those of you know, it's almost my nap time and you can rest assured I will not miss my nap today.
In addition, Jake Crouthamel provided me with all of the information I never wanted to know about Division I-A basketball. He helped me to understand the important role that I-A basketball plays, not only in the Big East Conference, but also in America. Finally, John Thompson taught me that the game of basketball was very important, but more importantly, he taught me how athletics can play an important social and educational role in providing opportunity to education.
We all know that sports provide a laboratory for life, the teamwork that we learn in athletics is the paradigm for success in life. I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of my team, the athletics department staff at Georgetown University who did the work, who put up with me and let me take the credit for their outstanding performance. It is on behalf of all of these people that I accept this award today. I thank them for their support, their understanding and encouragement.
In closing, I would like to leave you with one thought about our profession as I see it relates to me personally. I view it as a sandwich. The bottom piece of bread is the foundation. That's all of those athletics administrators who have preceded us and have provided the foundation upon which we can build. The top piece of bread is our staffs. They cover up all of our mistakes. That leaves me in the middle, a piece of bologna. Thank you very much.
Congratulations Frank and your remarks were terrific. To present the next award, the James J. Corbett Memorial Award is John Toner, the
former director of athletics at the University of Connecticut and NACDA's president in 1980-81. John.
Thank you Mike. Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, Olympic heroes and heroines, it's a pleasure for me to be here today. I wasn't party to the selection process that picked our Corbett winner this year, but I had a visit from him at my home in Savannah asking me to be the presenter on his behalf this afternoon. In your program, there's a biographical sketch of Jim Frank's accomplishments, Jim Frank's attainments and he'll probably have something to say about that. I urge you all to read them, if you haven't done so. I will not go through any part of his biographical sketch now, except to point out the fact that the Corbett Winner is to honor that athletics administrator, that director who exemplifies all of the principles of athletics administration. As you read Jim's records, it's not difficult to note that he's never been an athletics director in title.
But, you know, he's from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, he captained the teams in that very competitive greater Pittsburgh league to state championships in some sports. He's coached. He coached his alma mater, Lincoln University, he coached in New York City for Hunter College and Lehman College. He coached winners all during that time. During that period of time that he was coaching, he obtained his master's and his doctorate degrees from Springfield College. As soon as he completed those, he was invited back to his own alma mater, with no previous experience, as a president of that university, where he served for 10 years.
In the early years of that service, he was asked to become a part of the NCAA at a time when college presidents shied away from involvement at the NCAA and at a time when NCAA council members and memberships were urging presidents to become more involved in the volatile workings of that organization. Jim Frank was not only the first president to serve as president of the NCAA, he was among the first to commence what we used to call Steering Committees that met only twice per year and encouraged college presidents to give the time to attend the two meetings per year. When Jim was president, he was given 87 days per year in pursuit of NCAA business away from Lincoln University. That is the type of dedication he has.
So when the NACDA committee nominated Jim Frank for the Corbett Award, there was absolutely no dispute in anyone's mind that he was deserving of it. Here it is, a man who was never a director, is getting our highest award. I believe he deserves it. I believe he is fully entitled to it. He's been a mentor to me in a way. We worked together a lot. I finally determined that if those of you ever think to read the remarks made by Jim when he finished his tenure as NCAA president, it's in the book of January 1983. The most important thing I remember about Jim is that he never felt there was a problem that couldn't be solved. He never left a meeting with despair. He always felt that morality was the key to answering and serving all problems. He always felt that if you dealt with people fairly and squarely and thought about a non-discriminatory approach to all problems, that you would be a problem solver.
I'm delighted he thinks of me as a friend. Before I turn the microphone over to Jim, I have one other duty to perform, which I'm very proud to do. The Sports Management Institute, the University of Notre Dame, University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California, which form the Sports Management Institute and are directly associated with NACDA, presents to Jim Frank, commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, their Honorary Doctorate Degree.
I fully intend to use that degree since I'll be retiring in about 20 days. I'll have great use for it. Thank you very much John, for that fine introduction and, of course, from a very close friend. I think I'm going to have to put John on my payroll. He traveled to New Orleans about three weeks ago and was one of the presenters at my retirement event. Of course, I called upon him this afternoon to perform a similar task. John, since I'll be going on fixed income, I can't pay you too much, buddy.
To Vince Dooley, to the Officers of NACDA, members of the Executive Committee, to all of the other honorees, ladies and gentlemen, needless to say, I'm overwhelmed. I've been at these events before. One thing I noticed is that past recipients of this award had many friends and family in attendance. During the past two or three months, I've had various salutes made to me. Back in December, the Heritage Bowl Committee saluted me and I had quite a few friends and relatives travel to Atlanta, Georgia to be there. A few weeks ago, my conference gave me a big retirement dinner and I had friends, relatives, sons to come from far and near, California, Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Jersey and many other places. I didn't have the heart to ask them to travel to south Florida. It gets a little bit expensive, but I know their hearts and minds are with me today. However, there is one individual that I would like to introduce to you this afternoon. She has been the wind beneath my wings for 40 years if you count the one-year courtship. I'd like to introduce my wife, Zelma Frank.
I know I'm supposed to tell you what receiving the Corbett Award means to me and I know you probably read it in the booklet you received, but you're going to hear it from me. When I think about being selected to receive the James J. Corbett Award, my first thought is to think about the 30 past recipients of this very prestigious award. The past winners represent a Hall of Fame of excellence in athletics administrators. It is a great honor to join such a group. I notice we have two or three of them here today.
I also think about the organization that gives the award, NACDA, who is committed to improving and strengthening athletics administration in all of our colleges and universities. It's an organization that is comprised of all of the top athletics administrators in this country. It is a great honor to be selected by your peers to receive the highest award given by this Association.
In receiving the Corbett Award, I am inevitably forced to review my involvement in the world of athletics from playing stick ball on the streets of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, moving on through grade school, high school and college as a participant. I can only conclude by saying it's been a tremendous ride, a fantastic high. Again, it is a tremendous honor.
John Toner referred to the speech that I gave 15 years ago, at the 1983 NCAA convention. At the time of that speech, I did not know that I would become a full-time professional in college administration. I said at the time, and in my view, the overriding problem in intercollegiate is not physical, it is not educational, it is not economical, but it is moral, more than anything else. What should characterize all of our theory in practice is what we do right for students and for human beings. For nothing has happened in athletics during the past 15 years to make me change my view. I still believe that educational, economical, physical, and yes, political decisions should be under guided by morality. Simply put, there is no substitute for integrity, honesty and high standards of professionalism in all of our athletics pursuits. What is the right thing to do for the greater good? Preventionalism, greed, selfishness must not be allowed to prevail.
Now, that's the end of my speech. I am well aware that we have a featured speaker today. I've noted that. In closing, I want to repeat what I said at my retirement event three weeks ago. I thank God for all of the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. It's been a long journey from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania to this minute. A journey that consisted of some valleys and some peaks, but many, many more peaks than valleys. I've been blessed to have had the opportunity to always work at jobs I've enjoyed. There's an old saying that states, "Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessedness." I've truly enjoyed my involvement with college athletics. It certainly has been rewarding for me to meet so many great people and to forge so many friendships. I only hope that somewhere along the way, I made a difference, a positive difference. Somewhere along the way, I made a contribution to enhance and to improve college athletics in this country. I give my best wishes to this Association. May it continue to grow and prosper. Thanks for the memories.
Congratulations Jim, and how fortunate college athletics has been to have you in it's midst all of these years. If you look at the inside of your program, you'll see that the past speakers at the NACDA luncheon have been some of the greats in broadcasting, beginning with the legends like Ray Scott, Bud Wilkinson, Curt Gowdy, Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford, etc. Now, there's a new generation of American television sports talent, both current and on the horizon, and we're fortunate to have today's speaker from that ranks. NBC Sports, as you well know, is now the home of the Olympic Games through the year 2008, Winter and Summer. Our speaker today joined NBC Sports in June 1992. In 1996, he handled play?by?play duties for the Olympic swimming and diving events during the network's coverage of the Atlanta Games.
His Olympic duties were expanded in March 1998, when he was named the host of "The Olympic Show," a weekly program produced by NBC Sports and aired on CNBC, which is a permanent addition to the worldwide Olympic television. His initial Olympic experience was in 1992 at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, when he served as one of the studio hosts on NBC/Cablevision's Olympic Triple Cast.
Dan's role at NBC also includes play?by?play for the NBA and course reporting on NBC's Golf Tour. Additionally, he has covered the Gatorade Ironman Triathlon, the French Open, McDonald's American Cup Gymnastics and the NFL. Prior to joining NBC, Dan had been a sports anchor at CNN since 1989 and always part of a great broadcasting duo too. If you read television columns, you know that he's married to one of the new outstanding sportscasters, a woman who has fought her way up the ladder and one of the great talents in the business, Hannah Storm. Dan told me they're expecting a child in August, so he's adding additional duties. Ladies and gentlemen, we're fortunate to have one of the outstanding talents in the world of television broadcasting, Dan Hicks.
Thanks very much Mike. Thanks for the nice introduction, but it is my job as the featured speaker here today to get the program back on track, so I'd like to thank you for coming, have a great afternoon.
Seriously, I do travel a lot in my career as an NBC sportscaster. Since 1992, I've been whisked around the country and around the world, really. I haven't been exposed to the kinds of rules and regulations that are enforced here at the Marriott Hotel on Marco Island. Upon getting to my room last night, I had to miss the game, because I flew in from a Senior PGA Tour at Nashville. I was surprised at the turtle lights-out rules. I guess the turtles are mating this season so, okay, that's all right. I really went over the edge when I went down to the beach for a morning jog and read a sign that said, "you have to shift your feet to avoid the sting rays while shell collecting." So, before you go to bed tonight, be sure to turn your lights out and shift your feet and you will be safe during your stay at the Marriott.
It is a privilege to be here and I'd like to begin by congratulating all of the honorees, Jim Frank, for his outstanding award for service in the world of college athletics. College athletics is very near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and, as you know, there are not a lot of professional franchises there. In fact, there are zero. You don't want to count the Cleveland Indians who come in for Spring Training.
I was a sports-crazed kid. The first thing I reached for in the newspaper was the sports page. The only team I was ever exposed to was the University of Arizona Wildcats. They, in turn, became my New York Yankees, like any kid growing up in New York. The Arizona Wildcats were my team. It's what I followed and later I would go on to cover them in my young career as a sportscaster.
I do have to mention there is a person in this room who gave me my first broadcast break. There was an ad in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the student newspaper. It said that for $25 a game, you could be the public address announcer for the Arizona women's basketball team. I had made it clear to the guys in the fraternity that I wanted to be a sportscaster. A guy came up, gave me the copy and said, "Dan, this is you. You've got to do this." So Rocky LaRose is sitting in the audience today and I go back a long way with her. She conducted the interview. I went to McKale Center and got on a microphone. There were some 35 or 40 guys who tried out and this was a big gig in Tucson. I wanted to make sure I got this job, so I sparked up the tryout. I did the whole like Ray Clay, ala Chicago Bulls' thing, and ended up getting the job. It's funny how you come full circle. I had a chance to talk with Rocky and a couple of other people from the University of Arizona. It's nice to be here and have a chance to see all of those people.
While some of the people I knew in college were going for commercial real estate and other jobs that were supposed to be lucrative in the early 80s, I had a passion for sports and I was lucky I knew what I wanted to do. I went after it. College athletics is really an extension of the Olympics and vice versa. We're in the business, from a television perspective, of recognizing the great moments. The feelings which encompass these Olympic collegiate feelings are dreams, youthful innocence and the unexpected.
I got into sports television to be a part of those moments. I love sports. I knew I wasn't going to make my living as a starting shortstop in Major League Baseball. Once I realized I wasn't going to do that, sports is still what I wanted to be a part of, be a part of those moments. I don't think there's any arena in sports that has a great impact than the impact collegians and Olympians leave on us.
There are reasons for that. You don't really know these people before they emerge onto the scene. We all watched the NBA finals last night. It's different. We know Michael Jordan. You've come to expect those great moments and they are great moments. It's a different feeling when that person from wherever, small cities, small population, comes to the limelight of a national television telecast or a big game at a big arena. It has a big impact. You can trace it through college sports history and you can really trace it to the Olympics, from 1984, when Mary Lou Retton arrived on the scene; in 1988, Janet Evans, just out of high school, a 17-year old came in and dominated the swimming events; and even with Michael Johnson's double-double at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, it's a special moment. It's those moments that we have to protect.
I've had to interview people in the NBA, the NFL and other professional sports, but you really get a glimpse of how special these young people are when you sit them down in an interview and they talk about their dreams and what they want to accomplish. They're always accommodating, usually. I think those moments, in interacting with the athletes from a collegiate perspective, are just so much better. They have more impact to me.
The challenge to everybody in this room, and everybody affiliated with this Convention is to protect those moments. You have a huge responsibility. I know that big business has not only infiltrated professional sports, but it has come down to the collegiate level and there are big challenges and big issues to discuss. It seems like every time I pick up a newspaper, there's another issue that confronts Ced Dempsey and the entire NCAA. I remember Ced back at Arizona as the athletics director, and if he can bring the
Arizona athletics department out of the red like he did, he's the man for the job and is doing a great job.
That's the key. Keep on fighting though all of these things that pop up. From a person in an industry which broadcasts the moments I referred to earlier to millions of people, I want to thank all of you coaches for molding young people, for believing in young people, and obviously, you don't get paid the salaries of the Pat Riley's or Rick Pitino's, almost. That's really not why you got into it. You got into it to share in those moments. You got into it to see that athlete get on the Olympic podium, tears streaming down his or her face and it's quite a powerful moment. You're attached to the kids and to the program you manage.
I'd like to thank the administrators, as well, who continue to tackle the seemingly insurmountable problems. Watching young people realize their dreams, learn from that what hard work can do, learn what they can achieve if they put their minds to it, is something that society can never afford to lose.
I'd like to thank everybody for inviting me here. It's been a great, quick trip. I'm on my way to the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. NBC will be broadcasting the Open Thursday through Sunday. Check the local listings for tee times in your area. I have the privilege of going around the country and meeting a lot of people and a lot of athletes and get to be at a lot of big events. Forever in my roots, going back to Tucson, Arizona and what I talked about, the collegiate field and the Olympic field is a feeling that I'll get no other place no matter where I go in my career. Thank you very much.
Thank you Dan, and thank you for coming to join us. Now, for a very special presentation as we near the end of our program, I'd like to re-introduce the executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Dick Schultz.
I'd like to invite Dan to come back up for a minute. Dan, on behalf of all of us at the USOC, we really appreciate your making a special effort to be here today, even though you had a big commitment yesterday that some people can't fulfill.
Vince, it's very special for all of us at the Olympics to have NACDA honor our coaches this way. It's an honor justly deserved and we thank you for that.
We'll continue the shifts, so I'd like you, Mike, to come back to the podium. On behalf of NACDA and the USOC, please accept these gifts as a token of our appreciation.
Dan, I'd like you to come back up here to accept a small token of our appreciation. Now, we're just getting warmed up. I'd like to ask Fred Gruninger to come to the podium. As you know, Fred is our 1st vice president and did an exceptional job organizing this Convention. Fred retired this year from Rutgers. He had been the dean of Division I-A athletics directors, having served at Rutgers for 25 years, longer than any other active Division I athletics director. Frank Broyles is next on the list, having started at Arkansas three months after Fred. Fred, in recognition of your outstanding years of service, please accept this from NACDA.
More to come. Now, I would like to ask Barbara Hedges to come to the podium. It is my privilege to give the Past Presidents clock to Barbara, the athletics director at the University of Washington, for her service to this Association as president last year. As I said last year, I'm in the habit of following Barbara, so Barbara, thanks for all you have given to college athletics.
Let's have one final round of applause for all of today's honorees. Just a quick reminder, the Spouses' Hospitality Suite is located on the Voyager Lawn, at the north end of the hotel by the Voyager Restaurant. It is sponsored by Outback Trophy Suites. They have installed a portable luxury suite. Please inform your spouses. Barbara, if you would stop by there. I'm informing you and everybody knows I'm informing you. Also, remember to browse the Exhibit Hall and drop your business cards in the
boxes at each exhibitor's booth. The drawing for
the grand prize will be held on Wednesday
morning during the Business Session. One lucky winner will receive two round-trip airfares and four nights accommodations in Frankfurt, Germany. Our grand prize is once again sponsored by International Sport, Inc., located in Booth 12. Thank you for your attendance. We are adjourned.