Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – (April 11, 2014) – In ceremonies tonight at its national headquarters, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced Penn State Football Guard, John Urschel, has been named the 84th Annual James E. Sullivan Award winner, which honors the nation's outstanding amateur athletes. Presented annually since 1930, the Sullivan award is based on character, leadership and sportsmanship. Notable recipients of the AAU Sullivan Award include: Mark Spitz, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Joyner, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, J.J. Redick, Tim Tebow, Shawn Johnson and last year’s recipient Missy Franklin.
“It is an honor to receive this award. I thank the National Football Foundation who nominated me for this award, I am extremely grateful,” said Urschel in his acceptance speech. “Words can’t describe how honored I am to be named the most outstanding amateur athlete of the year. I am honored to represent all that is good about athletics and the lessons you can learn through sports; lessons of discipline, commitment, toughness and perseverance in the face of adversity.”
Urschel was selected for his athleticism and sportsmanship as outstanding football player for Penn State, as well as for his achievements off the field of play. In 2013, John was honored on the field during the BCS National Championship in recognition of winning the Campbell Trophy, was named to his second First Team Academic All-America Team and received his third Academic All-District selection. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics in May 2012, a master’s in mathematics a year later, and he is currently working on a second master’s degree in math education – all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Notably, John Urschel is the seventh football player to win the AAU Sullivan Award in its 84-year history. He will be in the company of football greats and past Sullivan recipients Peyton Manning (1997), Tim Tebow (2007), and Andrew Rodriguez (2011) to name a few.
In addition to his numerous athletic achievements, Urschel excels in the community and in the classroom. He taught two college-level math courses, Integral Vector Calculus and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry, in 2013 and had several research papers published in major academic journals. He jointly ran a 2013 summer program in computational mathematics and is a member of a genome re-assembly research group. He was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon where he addressed nearly two thousand attendees on the four qualities he wished for all college student-athletes: 1) master your craft in your sport; 2) make a mark in the community; 3) help young players along their journey; and 4) prepare for the day your athletic career ends.
“I am extremely pleased and would like to congratulate John Urschel for his selection as the 2013 AAU James E. Sullivan Award winner,” said Henry Forrest, President of the AAU. “John is an outstanding athlete whose résumé stands out among the hundreds of thousands of amateur athletes who have worked and trained tirelessly to develop their dreams into reality. John characterizes all of the pillars that this award stands on. He demonstrates character and leadership both in the academic community and on the football field. On behalf of the AAU, we welcome John as the 84th member of this elite group of amateur athletes – Sullivan award winners – who have earned the highest honor the AAU bestows.”
Three finalists were selected from personal nominations following a review by the AAU Sullivan Award Executive Committee. Urschel was chosen through a public voting, accounting for one-third of the votes, as well as voting by the United States National Governing Bodies and Division I Athletic Directors and Sports Information Directors.
Finalists for the 2013 James E. Sullivan Award from the AAU:
Cory Ann McGee
University of Florida Track and Field
Cory Ann McGee began the 2013 season after a freak accident during the 2012 Olympic Trials that many thought could be a career ending injury. However, Cory worked to make a full recovery. She ended the year with 5 first place finishes, 6 second place finishes, and two third place finishes to round out an amazing and inspiring year of competition She became the All-Time University of Florida record-holder in the women’s 1,500 meters, running a 4:06.67, which qualified her to run at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Russia as a member of Team USA. Cory is also an active member of Athletes in Action.
University of Nebraska Volleyball
In her senior season at the University of Nebraska, Kelsey Robinson owned the court. She played and started in all 33 matches during the 2013 season, totaling 530 kills and averaging 4.45 kills per set. Robinson hit at a clip of .318 for the year, with 396 digs and averaging 3.33 digs per set. She led the Big Ten in kills (4.69) and points (5.41) per set during the conference season and to add to her conference success, she tallied 352 kills and had a hitting percentage of .349. She ended her senior season ranked ninth in hitting percentage, second in kills and fifth in aces in the Big Ten. Over the season she collected 19 double-doubles and was named the Big Ten Player of the Week four times in 2013. Kelsey is also an active volunteer for Red Ribbon Week and Lincoln Public Schools.
About the AAU
Founded in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. The philosophy of “Sports for All, Forever,” is shared by over 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers. The AAU is divided into 57 distinct Districts which annually sanction more than 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.
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