Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Announces 2012 Athlete of the Year Honorees

July 10th, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN — The 2012 induction class of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame already includes Gene Bartow and Coach David Walker along with Tennessean of the Year Pat Summitt, but the list of honorees keeps growing.  The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame announced today the names of the Honorees to be recognized at its annual awards banquet and induction ceremony on Saturday, May 19th at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

The Male Professional Athlete of the Year:  Dan Uggla Atlanta Braves standout who graduating from Columbia Central High School in Columbia, TN, in 1998, Uggla attended the University of Memphis where after his junior season he was named an All-American by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, and Collegiate Baseball.  During the 2011 season with the Braves, Uggla became the 23rd player in MLB history to have a hitting streak of at least 33 games. Uggla along with rookie Freddie Freeman became the first Braves in the modern era to have concurrent 20-game hitting streaks. On August 12, 2011 Uggla hit two home runs in a home game against the Chicago Cubs to break the Atlanta Braves record for longest hitting streak.
The Female Professional Athlete of the Year: 2011 was a great year for former University of Tennessee standout Tamika Catchings.  Not only did the WNBA award Tamika with the MVP Award as she led the Fever to the playoffs, but she was voted by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.  Catchings is a 5-time WNBA All-Star, a 5-time All-WNBA selection and is famous for recording the only ever quintuple double (25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks in 1997). She is also President of the WNBA Players Association.

The Professional Team of the Year is being awarded to two Tennessee teams.  The first is the Nashville Predators, and Coach Barry Trotz.  Trotz, the second-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind only Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff, guided the Predators to playoff series victory for the first time in franchise history in 2011, topping the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals before pushing the Stanley Cup Finalist Vancouver Canucks to six hard-fought games in the conference semifinals. Trotz is the only coach to lead his team to the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons, averaging nearly 98 points per season. The Predators also boast the League’s sixth highest win total (272) and third-most home victories (155) in the League since the start of the 2005-06 season.  The second is The Memphis Grizzlies.  For the 2010-2011 Memphis Grizzlies, it was a year of firsts: first playoff win in franchise history, first playoff series win in franchise history, and first career trip to the playoffs for head coach Lionel Hollins. All of this coming after a season ending shoulder injury to star small forward Rudy Gay. With all that said, it was definitely a hectic and historic campaign for the Grizz, one that did require a lot of perseverance and toughness to get through.

Female Amateur Athletes of the Year:  Jamie Achten  Over the course of her four-year tenure at Lee, Achten earned numerous awards, both on and off the field, headlined by NAIA Player of the Year honors in both her junior and senior seasons, the first NAIA player to accomplish the feat twice. The second Female Amateur Athlete of the year is Jenny Connolly.  In the 2010-11 she earned six more All-America certificates, four of which were first team accolades, to bring her overall total up to 16 and was named First Team All-SEC and SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll.

The Male Amateur Athlete of the Year is Vanderbilt University’s John Jenkins. Jenkins, a Hendersonville Tennessee native led the SEC in scoring for the last two seasons, is one of the program’s best sharp shooters from beyond-the-arc and one of Vanderbilt’s most decorated players of all time.   Jenkins led the SEC in scoring in two consecutive seasons for first time since 1995 and 1996, while also pacing the nation in threes made with nearly four per game.

Two collegiate Tennessee teams will be recognized as Amateur Teams of the YearLee University Lady Flames Soccer and Vanderbilt University Baseball Team.  The Lee women’s soccer team made NAIA history in capturing its fourth consecutive national championship.  Vanderbilt University Baseball team made school history when they made their first appearance at the College World Series in Omaha this year.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is also recognizing Belmont Bruins Basketball Team and Tusculum College standout Bo Cordell as recipients of our Outstanding Achievement Award.  The Bruins Compiled a 30-5 record, the most victories and highest winning percentage in Atlantic Sun Conference history and were only one of nine NCAA Division I programs to record 30 victories in the 2010-11 season.  They also led the NCAA in scoring margin and ranked in the Top 10 nationally in five statistical categories.  The other recipient, Bo Cordell passed for over 400 yards in nine consecutive games in 2010, which set TC, SAC and NCAA II records. He was named SAC Offensive Player of the Week four times and twice honored as national offensive player of the week by D2football.com and D2 Sports Insider.

In addition to Bartow (Basketball) and Walker (Track) the induction class of 2012 previously announced includes Tim Jackson (Golf), Rick Insell (Basketball), James Marsalius (Football), Zan Guerry (Tennis),  Gibby Gilbert (Golf), Bill Dance (Professional Fisherman), Jeff Byrd (Motorsports) and Brig. General Austin Shofner (Football and Wrestling).

The induction festivities will begin on Saturday May 19th with a lunch to honor our Tennessean of The Year Coach Pat Summitt.  Tickets to the luncheon are $40.00.  The Induction Banquet will be held Saturday, May19th at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Tickets for the awards banquet $125.00 each. For more information concerning the event, call the Lynn Toy, TSHoF at 615-202-3996.

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