“Sports’ Greatest Citizens:” Drew Brees, Five Collegiate Athletes to be Recognized at 10th Annual Wooden Cup Awards

ABW News, Wooden Citizenship Cup — January 25th, 2014

Drew BreesATLANTA (January 14, 2014) – The 10th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given for the most outstanding role model among athletes, announced its nominees for the 2014 award ceremony according to Fred Northup, President, Athletes for a Better World.

The professional recipient will be Drew Brees, the 2009 Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. A native of Austin, TX, Brees attended Westlake High School and led his football team to a perfect 16-0 record and the 5A State Championship while garnering 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors. He attended Purdue University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management from the prestigious Krannert School of Management. A two-time Heisman finalist, Brees led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance during the 2000 season. In that same year he won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top collegiate player as well as being named Academic All-American Player of the Year and was a recipient of the National Football Foundation’s post-graduate scholarship.  He still holds virtually all of the passing records in the Big Ten.  In his professional career he has been elected to seven Pro Bowls while being named 2004 Comeback player of the Year, 2006 All-Pro Team, 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, 2008 and 2011 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP.

As much pride as Brees takes in his on field performance, he takes even more pride in his community service endeavors. Drew and his wife, Brittany, established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 and since then have contributed and/or committed over $17,000,000 to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.

In New Orleans, he has become “an athlete as adored and appreciated as any in an American city today.”When Sports Illustrated selected him for the 2010 Sportsman of the Year award, it was in large part for his leadership in helping lead the city of New Orleans’ rebirth after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.  As a part of that effort his Foundation worked to help rebuild and restore and recreate academic and athletic facilities, parks and playgrounds, after-school programs, mentoring programs for the intellectually disabled, neighborhood revitalization projects and child care facilities in New Orleans. In addition Drew sponsors the Rebuilding thru Brotherhood program to invite fellow Sigma Chi members to the New Orleans community to build homes with the Habitat for Humanity.

Drew lives with his wife Brittany and sons Baylen, Bowen and Callen in New Orleans.

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, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society.

The Wooden Cup is given to a collegiate and a professional athlete who have made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others. The award recipients will be announced at a ceremony held at the Atlanta History Center on April 23rd.

With Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Dikembe Mutombo, 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 professional sports. Nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports.

The 2014 Collegiate Wooden Cup recipient will be announced at the award ceremony April 22. Finalists for the collegiate division include:

  • Aaron Craft, Ohio State University, Basketball
  • Kelly Dennis, Chestnut Hill College, Tennis
  • Dau Jok, University of Pennsylvania, Basketball
  • Jeffrey Reppucci, Holy Cross, Hockey
  • Elizabeth Tucker, Notre Dame, Soccer

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.

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.

Meet the 2013 Wooden Citizenship Cup Finalists

ABW News, Wooden Citizenship Cup — June 4th, 2013

Professional Recipient, Jack Nicklaus, and five collegiate finalists for the Wooden Cup were introduced at the 9th annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup awards banquet at the Atlanta History Center on April 23, 2013. Watch their videos and meet each of these outstanding individuals and learn the incredible ways in which they made a difference in the lives of others.

Jack Nicklaus Professional Recipient
Jack Nicklaus
Brigetta Barrett Collegiate Finalist
Brigetta Barrett
Track & Field
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Nathanael Franks Collegiate Finalist
Nathanael Franks
Track & Field
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Meghan Lyons Collegiate Finalist
Meghan Lyons
Field Hockey
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Andrea Mingo Collegiate Finalist
Andrea Mingo
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Eric Soza Collegiate Finalist
Eric Soza
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Jack Nicklaus, College Athlete Nathanael Franks Win 2013 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup

ABW News, Wooden Citizenship Cup — April 24th, 2013

Legendary golfer and University of Arkansas track and field athlete’s exemplary actions, both on and off the field, earn Athletes for a Better World top honor 

ATLANTA (April 23, 2013) Professional golfer Jack Nicklaus and University of Arkansas’ track and field athlete Nathanael Franks were announced as the winners of the 9th annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup by Athletes for a Better World at an awards banquet at the Atlanta History Center on Tuesday evening. The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes — one collegiate and one professional — who have made the greatest difference in the lives of others and are regarded as “sports’ greatest citizens.”

Jack Nicklaus with Vince Dooley

Vince Dooley presents Jack Nicklaus with the Wooden Cup as NBC’s Dan Hicks watches.

Franks, a redshirt sophomore track and field decathlete from Damascus, Oregon, helped his Razorback team during his first year of competition claim the 2012 SEC Triple Crown (Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Titles). Franks was a 2013 SEC Indoor Champion and the Razorbacks were indoor national champions. Despite training five days a week for four hours every day, and busy weekends as a core leader with the International Culture Team, Franks accelerated his studies with heavy course loads that allowed him to graduate this past December after only 2.5 years of college. The unused portion of his Chancellor’s Scholarship became available to benefit others. Franks had a double major in Chemistry and Physics with a 3.9 GPA and minor in history and was able to graduate this past December in only 2.5 years.

Handpicked to perform a trumpet solo at the German Chancellery, office and home of Angela Merkel, Franks prepared Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. When he visits grade schools and retirement homes he prefers the surprise factor of his 14 feet telescopic alphorn. Franks is also involved with Recess, a respite program promoted by 99balloons.org for special-needs children and their families. Vacation time has allowed him to work a week with children in unique settings in Oregon and in Amish Kalona, Iowa. In Guatemala, he taught at Escuela Urbana de Educación and in Mansourieh, Lebanon he was a counselor and instructor at two adventure camps.

“The decathlon has instilled in me the values of tenacity, discipline, team-work, and time management. Mastering the 10 events requires extreme dedication and time, which is especially challenging while balancing a demanding academic schedule,” said Franks. “The decathlon is unique among sports because of the close bonds created among opponents during the two-day event. It is not uncommon to give each other advice and pointers, share food and drink, and even offer motivation, applause, and a clap down the runway. This camaraderie that transcends the competition is priceless.”

2013 Wooden Cup Finalists

Wooden Cup finalists and recipients: L-R: Andrea Mingo, Purdue University; Brigetta Barrett, University of Arizona; Nathanael Franks, University of Arkansas; Jack Nicklaus; Meghan Lyons, University of North Carolina; Eric Soza, University of Texas, San Antonio; Fred Northup

Nicklaus, regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, is also known for his strong leadership capability and his constant examples of character and service. At his first PGA Tour in 1962, Nicklaus received the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award and his fame grew from there. Nicklaus holds the record for major championships with a total 18 PGA Tour titles and has the third most PGA Tour victories with 73. His history of reaching out and mentoring young golfers is par to none and he and his wife Barbara currently sit as honorary chairman and active chairwoman of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which is based in their current place of residence North Palm Beach, Florida.

“We are so pleased to have awarded these two outstanding athletes with the Coach Wooden Cup tonight,” said Fred Northup, founder and president of Athletes for a Better World. “It’s rare to find such brilliant athletes who succeed not only on the field, but also strive to make the world a better place. Jack is regarded as probably the best golfer of all time and throughout his time in the professional world he’s been an amazing inspiration and role model.

“Nathanael and the other finalists are leading the way for the next generation and their academic and charity work go above and beyond the expectations of many student athletes. These two are truly admirable and their uplifting natures are exactly what Athletes for a Better World looks to showcase for a brighter future,” Northup said.

Nominations for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are solicited from all colleges and universities from all divisions. The nominations are reviewed by a screening committee and narrowed to a list of semi-finalists who are then voted on by the Vincent J. Dooley selection committee and the National Electors, representing a group of 100+ voters from around the country.

About Athletes for a Better World: Athletes for a Better World (ABW) was founded by Fred Northup in June of 1998. The organization arose out of a need for positive mentoring of young people in sport.  As a result, ABW staff and members have been working to create a sports environment where athletes, coaches, fans, and parents provide leadership that makes an identifiable and measurable difference in society.  Our commitment to the positive values of discipline, integrity, respect, cooperation, and compassion is the foundation of our existence. Today, athletes, coaches, and parents involved in more than 20 sports from youth leagues to professional leagues in every state have joined ABW and are following the Code for Living.

More Information:


2012 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Awards

ABW News, Wooden Citizenship Cup — May 29th, 2012

Professional Recipient, Pat Summitt, and the five collegiate finalists for the Wooden Cup were introduced at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 24, 2012.  Meet each of these distinguished individuals and learn the incredible ways in which they made a difference in the lives of others.

Fred Northup President of ABW
Fred Northup
Welcome Speech
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Nan Wooden Coach Wooden’s Daughter
Nan Wooden
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Pat Summit Professional Recipient
Coach Pat Summit
University of Tennessee
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Aleca Hughes Collegiate Recipient
Aleca Hughes
Ice Hockey
Yale University
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Tommy Chase Collegiate Finalist
Tommy Chase
University of Notre Dame
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Roddy Jones Collegiate Finalist
Roddy Jones
Georgia Tech
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Josh Nadzam Collegiate Finalist
Josh Nadzam
Track and Field
University of Kentucky
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Cody Reichard Collegiate Finalist
Cody Reichard
Ice Hockey
Miami University of Ohio
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