ATLANTA (April 26, 2018) – Johann Koss, a four time Olympic Gold medalist and Founder of Right to Play, and Ashley Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania each received the 14th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup at Atlanta’s Cobb Galleria Centre Wednesday night. In the high school division, in partnership with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Cups were awarded to Hope Baldwin, Hackett Catholic Prep in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Ethan Shuster of Shelton High School in Shelton, Connecticut. 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 four distinguished athletes, one collegiate, one professional or Olympic, and a male and female from the high school ranks, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society.
After winning his Gold medals Koss realized that his true passion was making a difference in the lives of children in the worn torn areas of the world. Right to Play now has over 600 staff members, 36,000 volunteers, and touches over two million children in numerous third world countries around the world.
Ashley Marcus, a member of the fencing team at Penn, founded “Just Tell” and “It’s on Us” to deal the problem of sexual assault in our country. She has spoken nationally on the subject, co-authored an amendment to the Florida Anti Bullying Law, and is a Board member of PAVE (Penn Anti-Violence Educator) to prevent sexual assault on campus. She served as an intern at the US Department of Justice and plans to pursue her interests with a career in law.
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 were:
- Hannah Menk, University of Redlands, Soccer
- Patrick Mohorcic, The College of Wooster, Football
- Steven Rizzo, Marist College, Cross Country