ATLANTA (April 28, 2016) – Vince Dooley, the University of Georgia’s former football coach and athletic director, and Luke Romick of Denison University each received the 12th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Center Wednesday night. The Cup, in the words of Athletes for a Better World’s founder, Fred Northup, is “not for the best athlete, or the best student, but for the best person in the world of sports.” Previous recipients, including Jack Nicklaus, Mia Hamm, Cal Ripken, Peyton Manning, Pat Summitt and others, have made the Cup one of the most prestigious awards in sports, given its emphasis on character and its openness to athletes in all sports.
John Wooden, who won ten national championships during the years 1964-1975 as basketball coach at UCLA, is commonly regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave authorization to attach his name to this annual award, and he attended and addressed the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. In his honor, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional or Olympic, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society.
Luke Romick is a two-sport athlete at Denison University, playing on both football and track teams. Off the field he serves as the president of both the Denison Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the president of the North Coast Conference’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee, where he has shown great leadership in facing a variety of campus and community issues. Participating in numerous community service projects, Romick spent the summer after his freshman year as an intern in the Los Angeles-based Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization that educates and activates students to address the global water crisis. Fueled by that experience, Romick went on to begin a Thirst Project organization at Denison and spent the next two summers at Thirst Project headquarters in Los Angeles, playing a major role in raising over one million dollars during that period.
Vincent J. Dooley became the head football coach at the University of Georgia in 1964 at the age of 31. During Dooley’s twenty-five year tenure as head football coach, the Bulldogs won the 1980 national championship title, won six SEC championships, won 201 games, and played in 20 bowl games. He led the Bulldogs until 1988 and is among the “winningest” coaches in the history of college football. In addition to excellence on the field, Dooley encouraged academic excellence in his players. Under his leadership more than 100 student-athletes received academic awards and post-graduate scholarships. Dooley served as the University of Georgia’s athletic director from 1979 to 2003.
Not surprisingly, Dooley has received multiple accolades for his accomplishments in collegiate athletics. He has been a member of the College Football Hall of Fame since 1994, received the NCAA National Coach of the Year award twice, and was named the “Georgian of the Year” by Georgia Association of Broadcasters. He received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, presented by the American Football Coaches Association, in 2001. He was an analyst on ESPN college football telecasts and served as president of the American Football Coaches Association.
Dooley’s accomplishments are not limited to the world of sports. Among Dooley’s many philanthropic interests, he served over 25 years as chairman of the Georgia Easter Seals, earning the title of National Volunteer of the Year, and has been involved with the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, and numerous other charitable organizations. In 2011 Dooley was named a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society, which recognizes those whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees. With a master’s degree in history, he is a Civil War expert and a member of the Civil War Round Table. Additionally, he is a renowned horticulturist and has published several books on plants and gardens.
Bob Ryan, the famed sportswriter for the Boston Globe and analyst for ESPN, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
The other finalists for the Collegiate Wooden Cup recipient were:
- Bonnie Brandon, Swimming, University of Arizona
- Malcolm Brogdon, Basketball, The University of Virginia
- Ty Darlington, Football, University of Oklahoma
- Alexa Hone, Soccer, University of South Carolina, Upstate
About Athletes for a Better World:
Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork, and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW’s vision is to have the Code become a part of every sport at every level, so that it becomes the common language and standard expectation of behavior for everyone. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. “The Code for Living” can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.