Collegiate Athletes to be recognized April 28, 2022 at 17th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Awards

Samantha Thomas, University of Arizona
Samantha Thomas, University of Arizona
Joshua King, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Joshua King, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The 17th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given to the most outstanding role models among athletes, has announced the collegiate honorees for its 2022 award ceremony, to be held April 28th at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

The 2022 Collegiate female recipient is Samantha Thomas of the University of Arizona. In the classroom, Sam is maintaining a 4.0 graduate school GPA in Educational Leadership, having earned a 3.9 GPA undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Special Education. She was the 2021 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. On the basketball court, Sam is on the 2021-2022 Naismith Watch List to accompany numerous All-Pac-12 honors. In service to citizenship, she is President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and was awarded the university’s “Community Service Award” for most hours served of all sports/teams athletes.

The 2022 Collegiate male recipient is Joshua King of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and exemplifies the Academy motto of “Deeds not Words.” Josh has a 3.73 GPA in Marine Engineering while serving as the Regimental Commander, the highest student position. Josh’s worldwide internships at sea continued his preparation for his goal of becoming an Officer in the United States Coast Guard. This All-Conference Captain linebacker was a 2022 Finalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy for combined academic success, football performance, and exemplary leadership. In service to the community, Josh was President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and Vice President of the USMMA’s Cultural Diversity Club. He organized peaceful Black Lives Matter marches that involved activists, law enforcement, and religious leaders, plus participated as a guest speaker at anti-racism events.

Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization which celebrates the unselfish generosity of many participants in sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to all athletes in all high school, college, and professional or Olympic sports. Annual nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports, and to athletes in public and private high schools across the country in partnership with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

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 six distinguished athletes: one male and one female professional or Olympic recipient, one male and one female collegiate athlete, and a male and female athlete from the American high schools, for their character and leadership both on and off the field.

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