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Nike's Phil Knight Honored with NACDA Merit of Honor Award

Nov. 24, 2009

CLEVELAND - Becoming just the seventh recipient of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Merit of Honor Award in the Association's 45-year history, Phil Knight, Founder and Chairman of the Board of NIKE, Inc., will be honored at the NACDA Convention in June for his unprecedented support and dedication to intercollegiate athletics.

"I have a few awards on my wall, and I wouldn't have picked me to receive any of them. I am especially humbled by this NACDA Merit of Honor award," said Phil Knight, Founder and Chairman of NIKE, Inc. "The only conclusion I can draw is that if you do what you love long enough, somebody will notice."

The Merit of Honor Award recognizes an individual "whose superior integrity is displayed in tireless commitment to the highest ideals of athletics in general and intercollegiate athletics in particular." The inaugural Merit of Honor Award was presented to former National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1989, and was most recently awarded to the late former NCAA President Myles Brand.

A University of Oregon graduate, Knight was a three-time letterwinner on the track and field team. Upon graduation, Knight enlisted in the Army and served one year active duty. He then enrolled in and graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where in one of his classes he developed the entrepreneur intuition that would soon lead to him developing the world's leading athletics shoes and apparel.

The more successful Nike became, the more Knight gave back to the two main inspirations that led to his tremendous success: intercollegiate athletics and postgraduate education. Knight and his wife Penny have given approximately $230 million to the University of Oregon, much of which has gone toward athletics development, including an additional $100 million to the Oregon Athletics Legacy Fund. He also donated $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Not putting any limits on their generosity, the Knights donated $100 million to the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute. Due to their contributions, Knight was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, and the university named its cancer institute the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

 

 

Next month, Knight will receive the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Gold Medal for his efforts that have impacted virtually every athletics department in the country by investing more than $1 billion in colleges and universities through sports marketing, brand marketing, advertising and licensing royalties. Sharing this honor with Knight, posthumously, will be Nike Co-Founder and Knight's college Track and Field Coach Bill Bowerman, who passed away in 1999.

About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 45th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,300 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 11 professional associations for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics directors.