KINGSTON, R.I., Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On March 1, 2011, the Institute for International Sport (www.internationalsport.com) will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of National Sportsmanship Day, one of its signature initiatives. National Sportsmanship Day was launched in 1991 by Institute Founder and Executive Director Dan Doyle with the objective of engaging athletes and other community members in thoughtful discussions about the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play. On March 1, thousands of schools, universities, teams, conferences and associations throughout the United States will participate in this worthy initiative.
In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of National Sportsmanship Day, a team of Institute staff members and outside consultants has worked to select 20 living Americans, 20 deceased Americans and 20 American organizations/initiatives that have made significant contributions to the practice of fair play and have enhanced the national consciousness regarding the central importance of sportsmanship. States Doyle, "We wanted to recognize individuals as well as organizations and initiatives that have brought fair play to the forefront through their actions and example. We are privileged to announce who we consider to be an extraordinary team of fair play practitioners."
The 20 Living Americans
Jody Conradt. Co-chair of the WBCA Ethics Committee and winner of the Joe Lapchick Character Award, she gave force to the concept of the Student-Athlete as 99% of her players graduated over a 38-year coaching career at Sam Houston State University and University of Texas at Austin.
Tony Dungy. A principled man of character, he consistently demonstrated the ability to coach his players to reach their highest potential with a respectful, even tempered, albeit direct and powerful approach, a style he has continued to use in mentoring in young athletes.
John Gagliardi. While compiling an historic 478 wins during his football coaching career, he followed the principles outlined in his book Winning with No's, which include edicts such as "No Spearing," "No Big Scenes When We Score" and "No Use of Words Like 'Kill.'"
Grant Hill. His impressive contributions to various organizations including the Special Olympics, Vaccines for Teens and Make-A-Wish Foundation reflect the on-the-court characteristics that made him the only three-time recipient of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.
Michael Josephson. The essential values that define sportsmanship permeate—in direct, practical language—his speeches, books, articles, and his "Character Counts" radio commentaries, all of which emphasize respect, responsibility and fairness.
Billie Jean King. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, not only for her accomplishments as a peerless tennis champion, but also for her unrelenting and admirable efforts to champion social programs, especially in support of gender equity.
Richard Lapchick. From his fight against apartheid to his founding of the renowned Center for the Study of Sport in Society and Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, he has been in the vanguard of efforts to promote social change through sport.
Richard Lawrence. Over 40 years as a high school athletic director, he has nurtured a pervasive culture of Honorable Competition that for players, coaches, parents and teachers has influenced behavior on the field, in the classroom and in later life.
Bob Ley. A 30-year veteran at ESPN, he is the host of the eight-time Emmy Award-winning Outside the Lines, where he eloquently confronts progressive and provocative issues surrounding the role of sport in society, including sportsmanship.
Chuck Mitrano. As Commissioner of the Empire 8 Athletic Conference, he established groundbreaking policies on ethical behavior in intercollegiate sports and continues to bring innovative programming, leadership and education to all of the NCAA.
Stan Musial. A Hall of Famer and member of MLB's All-Century Team, he was one of baseball's most self-effacing players, whose athletic triumphs combined with his active support of civic organizations earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Jack Nicklaus. Winner of two "Golfer of the Century" awards, he performed what many believe to be one of the most exemplary act of sportsmanship in the history of sport, conceding Tony Jacklin's two-foot putt, thereby saving Europe a tie, at the 1969 Ryder Cup.
Erin Quinn. As a coach, his lacrosse teams won three national championships and two James "Ace" Adams awards for sportsmanship. As an athletic director, he has fostered in the Middlebury College Athletic Department a culture of sportsmanship that serves as a national model.
Mike Richter. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he has become—for hockey fans, players and coaches who prefer finesse to fighting—an eloquent spokesman who, in the face of strident opposition, has argued for competitive self-restraint.
Cal Ripken, Jr. While playing in a record-breaking 2,632 consecutive games, "The Iron Man" exemplified the highest ideals of sportsmanship and today teaches the virtues of respect and fair play to young players participating in grassroots organizations such as Ripken Baseball.
Donald "Dee" Rowe. A UConn treasure and one of the greatest mentors in American sports history, his consistent message to thousands of mentees—coaches, players and parents alike—has been one of integrity, goodwill and teamwork.
Jim Thompson. Since he founded the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 at Stanford University, the PCA's influence on character building in youth sports has spread across the country with a network of nearly 150 trainers who have conducted close to 10,000 workshops.
Dara Torres. In addition to adding three more medals to her collection in the 2008 Summer Olympics, she exemplified the Olympic "spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play" when she requested a delay in the 50-meter race that allowed her opponent to change from a torn swimsuit and compete in the event.
Dick Vitale. While his captivating color commentaries are emphatic about the value of "Blenders," unselfish players and "Glue Guys" who do things "only coaches appreciate," he is equally passionate and vocal in his support of the principles of fair play.
Rick Wolff. A pioneer in the field of sports parenting, he advises the parents of young players that, rather than high profile athletes, it is they who should strive to be the best role models for sportsmanlike behavior.
The 20 Deceased Americans
Arthur Ashe. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor, he was one of our country's most prominent tennis players, whose stand against racism inspired young African-American athletes in all sports.
Clair Bee. A highly successful and innovative basketball coach who created the popular Chip Hilton book series whose hero, a "good sport," reflected the virtues Bee practiced as a person and as a coach.
Patty Berg. Winner of the first U.S. Women's Open and first president of the LPGA, she received the Bobby Jones Award for Sportsmanship, just one of many such awards honoring her exemplary behavior on the course.
Paul "Bear" Bryant. He cautioned coaches, "You're coaching people not football," and demonstrated an exemplary act of sportsmanship when he accepted, without argument, a controversial call that resulted in an Alabama loss to Texas in the 1965 National Championship game.
Walter Camp. Widely regarded as the "Father of American Football," he was a member of the first American Football Rules Committee where he vigorously supported standards of fair play, a principle he continued to emphasize in numerous books and magazine articles.
James "Doc" Counsilman. His exceptional achievements and innovations as a college and Olympic swim coach were always characterized by his quiet, innate dedication to the principles of fair play and good sportsmanship.
Lou Gehrig. His stature as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame extends beyond statistics and must include his innate qualities of courage, humility, determination and grace. The "prototype of sportsmanship and citizenship," he set the standard for future generations of athletes.
Althea Gibson. During a period of intense racial hostility, her fierce competitiveness combined with a disciplined, controlled demeanor made an indisputable contribution to breaking the color barrier, not only in tennis but throughout the sporting world.
Bobby Jones. Although he dismissed it as unworthy of praise, his calling a two-stroke penalty on himself in the 1925 U.S. Open has become a touchstone for proper, professional adherence to the rules of a game most often played with the individual golfer as the only arbiter.
Christopher "Christy" Mathewson. One of the "First Five" inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he is recognized not only for his superlative pitching, but also for faithfully following a strong regimen of ethical behavior, one that young players can use as a model of proper conduct.
Dr. James Naismith. The inventor of basketball included in his original "13 Basic Rules" a system of fouls and free throws (tackling was a foul), to create a game rooted in the concept of fairness, which remains central to the sport even today.
Byron Nelson. During his remarkable career that included winning 11 consecutive tournaments, his nickname "Lord Byron" reflected the dignity, grace and gentlemanly conduct inherent in the practice of sportsmanship.
Harold "Pee Wee" Reese. A ten-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, he is credited with accelerating the breakdown of racial barriers in baseball through his vocal and demonstrative support of Dodger teammate, Jackie Robinson.
Grantland Rice. A great sportswriter whose clean, clear prose set an especially high standard, and a poet whose poem "Alumnus Football" popularized the oft-quoted expression, "Not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game."
Branch Rickey. He was far-sighted in many ways, nurturing and broadening, for example, the "Knothole Gang" which gave seats to poor children, but his most profound and lasting legacy is integrating baseball, even before military and school desegregation.
Wilma Rudolph. The first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field in a single Olympic Games, she received, among many accolades, the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award which recognizes leadership, character and sportsmanship.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she created a lasting and inspirational legacy by guiding the Special Olympics from Camp Shriver to a competition that is now endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.
Byron "Whizzer" White. A Rhodes Scholar and gifted athlete who led the NFL in rushing for two years, he served as a Supreme Court Justice for 31 years, adamantly supporting both school desegregation and affirmative action, thereby helping to open up opportunities for minorities in all sports.
John Wooden. An All-American guard at Purdue and a legendary coach whose "Pyramid of Success" incorporates the essence of sportsmanlike behavior and remains a ubiquitous motivational tool that is posted in locker rooms throughout the world.
Kay Yow. Her courageous fight against cancer demonstrated the discipline, the grace under pressure and the honor her players so greatly admired as she coached them to 737 wins over 37 years and led the 1988 USA team to an Olympic Gold Medal.
The 20 Organizations/Initiatives
American Football Coaches Association: www.afca.com
Boys & Girls Club America: www.bgca.org
Center for Drug Free Sport: www.drugfreesport.com
Center for the Study of Sport in Society: www.northeastern.edu/sportinsociety
ESPN Outside the Lines: www.espn.com
First Tee Organization: www.thefirsttee.org
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport: www.tidesport.org
The Josephson Institute of Ethics: www.josephsoninstitute.org
Little League Baseball and Softball: www.littleleague.org
National Alliance for Youth Sports: www.nays.org
National Association of Independent Schools: www.nais.org
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character Program: www.championsofcharacter.org
NCAA Foundation: www.ncaa.org
New York Catholic Youth Organization: www.archny.org
Peter Westbrook Foundation: www.peterwestbrook.org
Positive Coaching Alliance: www.positivecoach.org
Special Olympics North America: www.specialolympics.org
St. Louis Sports Commission: www.stlsports.org
USA TODAY Sports Department: www.usatoday.com/sports
Women's Sports Foundation: www.womenssportsfoundation.org
For additional information on National Sportsmanship Day, visit www.internationalsport.com/nsd. To arrange interviews, please contact Kim Kennedy at [email protected] or Caitlin Lauletti at [email protected].
SOURCE Institute for International Sport