Athletes to be recognized April 28, 2022 at 17th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Awards at College Football Hall of Fame

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee

The 17th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given to the most outstanding role models among athletes, has announced the honorees for its 2022 award ceremony, to be held April 28th at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Leading the night’s honorees will be Jackie Joyner-Kersee, whom Sports Illustrated for Women magazine named the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. Nationally selected collegiate and high school athletes will also be awarded for their commitment to athletics, academics, and citizenship. Festivities include a buffet, self-guided tour of the Hall, and a silent auction.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee dominated the track and field circuit for 16 years and won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals spanning four Olympic Games. In addition, she won a total of four gold medals at three different World Championships. Jackie received the Jesse Owens Award in both 1986 and 1987. She still holds the world record in the heptathlon (7291 points) and is the American record holder in both the heptathlon and long jump (24-7). On December 3, 2004, she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. Jackie attended college at UCLA and starred in both track & field and women’s basketball from 1980-to-1985, eventually playing professional basketball.

The inaugural recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year, Joyner-Kersee is known worldwide for her interest in aiding others. She has helped to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, IL that has raised more than $12 million.

In 2007, Jackie along with several notable athletes including 2010 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup recipient Mia Hamm, founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization of professional athletes who get involved in charitable causes and inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support their community. Jackie has recently embarked upon a nationwide effort to enhance the comprehensive health of our nation’s communities through the promotion of healthy lifestyles.  She has been asked by the United States Department of Agriculture to promote My Plate, the replacement for the food pyramid.

Jackie was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Dick Enberg Award.  The Award is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America® Teams Program, promoting the values of education and athletics.

Jackie is the author of both A Kind of Grace (1997), her autobiography, and A Woman’s Place is Everywhere (1994). She is married to famed track and field coach Bobby Kersee.

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.

The 2022 High School female recipient is Brianna Brasko from Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando, FL. She is a Plebe at the United States Military Academy at West Point, with aspirations to be a combat physician.  The High School male recipient is Benjamin Bauer from Cloquet High School in Cloquet, Minnesota. He is a freshman at University of Minnesota-Duluth, studying mechanical engineering. Both were highly accomplished high school student-athletes with remarkable records of community service.

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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Media Contact:    Brad Catherman,

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