ATLANTA, GA (March 7, 2019) – The 15th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given to the most outstanding role models among athletes, has announced the professional, collegiate, and high school honorees for its 2019 award ceremony, to be held April 25 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. Bob Ryan, the famed sportswriter for the Boston Globe and analyst for ESPN, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
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 high school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional 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. The Wooden Cup is becoming one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Previous professional recipients include Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Dikembe Mutombo, Drew Brees, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Yaeger, Shannon Miller and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Since turning pro, Stewart Cink has established himself as one of the most popular and philanthropic players on the PGA TOUR. In 2017, he was awarded the Payne Stewart Award in recognition of his philanthropic endeavors, his commitment to growing the game, his professionalism, and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the values of golf. As a member at East Lake Golf Club, Cink is one of the leaders in the community when it comes to supporting the East Lake Foundation. The foundation provides resources for families of The Villages of East Lake and students of Drew Charter School to build a better life through college education, mixed-income housing, and community wellness. In addition to being a top supporter of the East Lake Foundation, Cink and his wife, Lisa, have created the Cink It Challenge to benefit local charities that are close to the couple’s hearts. All proceeds from the Cink It Challenge support the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Cink has been a full-time player on the PGA TOUR since 1997, playing more than 500 PGA TOUR events with six PGA TOUR victories during that 22-year-span. Cink’s first PGA TOUR victory came in 1997 at the Travelers Championship, with additional victories at the 2000 RBC Heritage, 2004 RBC Heritage, 2004 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, 2008 Travelers Championship, and the 2009 Open Championship. Cink’s Open Championship win at Turnberry came in a playoff over five-time Open winner Tom Watson. He’s also represented the United States on four Presidents Cup teams and five Ryder Cup teams.
The 2019 collegiate Wooden Cup recipient will be announced at the awards ceremony. Finalists for the collegiate division include:
Abigail Abel, Purdue University
Nathan Clayberg, Drake University
Elisabeth Estep, Alfred University
Malani Lee, University of South Florida
The nationally recognized high school recipients are:
Sarah Marie Rauch – Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, Illinois
Evan James Gwozdz – Middleboro High School, Middleboro, Massachusetts
Master of Ceremonies Bob Ryan will bring extraordinary experience and perspective to the evening’s events. He has been named “Sportswriter of the Year” four times in recognition of his work at ESPN and the Boston Globe. He is a member of the College Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, a winner of the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame, and, perhaps most notably, a recipient of the Red Smith Award for sports journalism.
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.