2017 Champion Within Recipients Announced

March 6th, 2017


 NASHVILLE, February 28—The 2017 Champion Within Recipients are former Tennessee Titan Tim Shaw, radio personality Jeff Jacoby (posthumous), Millington Trojan football legend Mario Reed, Tennessee SC 16 champion soccer team, King University Women’s Wrestling Team and Special Olympic Champion Matthew Drumright.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will host their Champion Within Luncheon, June 3rd at the Omni Nashville Hotel.  The Champion Within Luncheon, gives us the opportunity to celebrate the success of outstanding individuals who display great character and embody the belief that Champions are made from a passion they have deep inside of them – a desire, a dream and commitment. The incredible people that we honor inspire each of us with their dedication and hard work that has led to their success.


Tim Shaw – Character Award

Former Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw has taken on one challenge after another, from his playing career to his battle with ALS.  ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, stealing a person’s ability to speak, eat, move and breathe as it progresses.  He’s now tackled something else – a book.  Blitz Your Life is a collection of reflections from Shaw, who played from 2010-12 with the Titans and was diagnosed with ALS in 2014. The Titans signed Shaw to a one-day contract at the start of the 2016 season, and he retired a “Titan for Life.”

“I didn’t want to write about just Tim Shaw the football player, and I didn’t want to write about Tim Shaw who has ALS,’’ Shaw said. “My hope that by the time people turn the last page, they will have already examined who they are and where they are and who they want to be,” he said.  “For me, it is not about selling books, it is about making an impact.”

Shaw starred at Penn State before a seven-year career in the NFL with the Panthers, Jaguars, Bears and Titans.


Jeff Jacoby – Courage Award

Jeff Jacoby, a Tennessee Tech graduate and former Golden Eagle linebacker (1973-1976), was a radio icon in the Knoxville community, having co-hosted “Doc, Jeff and Heather” weekday mornings on Sports Radio WNML (formerly The Sports Animal).

Jeff’s Knoxville radio career began in the early 1980’s where he quickly became a fixture on the community’s airwaves. In 1985, he joined the Vol Network and in January 2000, Jeff joined the Dick Broadcasting group (now Cumulus Media) as the morning sports reporter and account executive. In 2005, Citadel Broadcasting (formerly Dick Broadcasting; presently Cumulus Media) launched The Sports Animal and Jeff went on air as co-host of “Doc, Jeff and Heather.”

Jeff was an invaluable member of the Dick Broadcasting and Cumulus Media sales and broadcasting teams and is often regarded by his peers as one of the best in the industry. This was made evident when in 2015 he was awarded Cumulus Media’s highest honor – the “Bobby Denton Employee of the Year Award” – an honor given to him by his peers.

For those who knew him best, Jeff’s battle with cancer was indicative of the caliber of person he was. Shared over social media, his struggles and triumphs were a source of inspiration and motivation for his community of followers as he willingly and generously shared his faith and feelings throughout his two-year battle.

Tennessee SC 16 – Championship Award

Tennessee SC 16 is the most decorated team in Tennessee Soccer history, boys or girls, winning seven state championships, four Southern Region Championships, and the 2016 USYSA National Championship.  The team was also the first team ever to be inducted into the Tennessee State Soccer Association’s Hall of Fame in December of 2016.

In July of 2016, the Tennessee SC 16 Girls traveled to Frisco, TX to represent Tennessee Soccer and Region III and compete in the US Youth Soccer National Championships.  This was the team’s fourth trip to this event in the five years they have been eligible, which brings together the best eight teams in each age group from across the United States.  Only two other teams from Tennessee have won region championships.  Tennessee SC 16 has won four.  At the 2016 USYS National Championships, Tennessee SC 16 outscored their opponents 11-1, taking out two former National Champions on the way to the final, where they dispatched Carlsbad Elite from California 3-0 and became the first Tennessee team to win a USYSA National Championship.


Mario Reed – Perseverance Award

Mario Reed is on the rise, both literally and figuratively. Reed gained attention in Shelby County back on September 12, 1997. He was a Millington Central High School football player, making what he thought was a routine tackle on a kickoff return. After the collision, he heard his teammates and his coaches shout to him to get up. But he couldn’t. “I couldn’t move,” he remembers. “I could only feel the wind in my face.”

Reed was told he would never have movement from his neck down.

“I’m a fighter,” Reed says. “You tell me I can’t do it and I want to prove I can do it.” More than 13 surgeries later, with a total commitment from Reed and his family, he continues to prove his initial diagnosis wrong. After nerve transfer surgery, Reed now has feeling and movement in both of his arms. He says he’s not done. He has several goals in life. His ultimate goal is to do what he hasn’t done since the football accident: “Goal number one is to walk,” he says. “If I can take a step on my own, then my dream will be fulfilled.”

Some of Reed’s other goals include directing a youth center and raising paralysis awareness. He’s working to do the former by volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis. He hopes to achieve the latter through his non-profit, the Mario Reed Foundation. He is also producing a documentary about his life.


King University Women’s Wrestling Team – Champions as Pioneers

The nationally prominent King University Women’s Wrestling team took home their seventh and eighth national championships during the 2016-17 season, all coming in the last four years. The top-ranked Tornado earned their fourth straight National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duals championship, when they defeated No. 4 ranked McKendree University 24-19 in the championship dual. A month later, King took their fourth straight Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship, defeating their nearest competitor, Simon Fraser University, by nearly 20 points. At the WCWA National Championships, King had three individual national champions, three runners-up and 9 All-Americans. Over the four year run, King has had 14 WCWA National Champions and 47 WCWA All-Americans while winning the WCWA Team Scholastic Award each season. Jason Moorman, the Tornado head coach has been named WCWA Coach of the Year three times. In the history of the program, the Tornado have had 19 WCWA National Champions, all coming since 2011, and 85 All-Americans as well as winning six WCWA Team Scholastic Awards.


Matthew Drumright – Heart of a Champion

Matthew Drumright began participating in Special Olympics at age eight in the Williamson County gymnastics and swimming programs.  At age 12 Matthew was selected to represent Special Olympics Tennessee in the 1995 Special Olympics World Games as a gymnast competing in the six men’s individual events. He won 3 gold medals, 2 forth place ribbons and the gold medal in his division for the Men’s All Around.

Matthew went on to train and compete in multiple sports and was selected two additional times to represent Special Olympics USA in World Level competitions.  He competed in equestrian in the 1999 Special Olympics World Games in North Carolina and bowling in the 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai, China. Winning a silver and bronze medal in both events.  Matthew has also competed in three Special Olympics National Golf competitions.

Matthew’s passion for sports and the joy of competition drives him to train with intention.  He loves the comradely of his teammates and the lifelong friendship he has made through Special Olympics.

Matthew has volunteered for 18 years with the Brentwood High School Football Team where he is known as Coach Drummy and he serves on the Special Olympics Young Professionals Board.


Take the opportunity to be inspired by our amazing 2017 award recipients.  Doors will open at 11:00 a.m. and lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $50.00 and must be purchased in advanced by calling Lynn Toy at 615-202-3996 or lynnpowelltoy@gmail.com

One Response to “2017 Champion Within Recipients Announced”

  1. March 07, 2017 at 1:10 am, Michael Gomez said:

    This news is so great. Thank you for recognizing my friend Matthew Drumright for the 2017 hall of Fame. He is such a special gift to this world and does have the heart of a champion.


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