The 11th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, given for the most outstanding role models among athletes, recognized Hall of Fame gymnast Shannon Miller and Madeline Buckley, a soccer star from William Smith College at ceremonies at the Atlanta History Center. Miller was recognized for her efforts in her foundation to combat childhood obesity, and for her efforts in health and fitness. Buckley, an All-American soccer player, was moved in the eighth grade to a commitment to fighting childhood cancer, and has created her own foundation, been a campus leader in countless efforts, and maintained a near perfect GPA.
John Wooden, who won ten national championships during the years 1964–1975 as basketball coach at UCLA is regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. He is universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, and 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.
Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller has a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals and is the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history. Since her Olympic career ended Miller has begun a Foundation to combat childhood obesity, and as a cancer survivor has become a role model and inspiration to many. Shannon Miller Lifestyle is an educational program to help and encourage people in health and nutrition, exercise, and motherhood. In her new book “It’s Not About Perfect” Shannon reflects on her career and her battle against cancer and her belief that our lives are defined by our response to our challenges and not by our accomplishments.
With Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Dikembe Mutombo, Drew Brees, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Yaeger and Cal Ripken, Jr. as previous recipients, the Wooden Cup is becoming one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Recipients are considered role models and athletes of excellence both on and off the field.
Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to athletes in all collegiate and Olympic or professional sports. Nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports.
The other 2015 Collegiate finalists for the Cup in addition to Buckley were: Zach Hyman, University of Michigan, Hockey; Maria Lanyi, Northeastern University, Soccer; Chris Tamasi, Amherst College, Football; and Tiana Woolridge, Princeton University, Volleyball.
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former University of Georgia athletic director, and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.