JIM THOME, SISTER JEAN, OZZIE SMITH AND THOSE CONNECTED TO YEAR’S MOST INSPIRING MOMENTS OF SPORTSMANSHIP TO BE HONORED IN ST. LOUIS ON NOV. 17

ST. LOUIS – Oct. 17, 2018 – They include two Hall of Famers, an NCAA champion coach, and a nun who had an unforgettable road to the Final Four.  They represent six different sports and cover the youth, high school, college and pro ranks.  They range in age from 10 to 99.  From stars and legends to everyday people who do the remarkable, the nation’s best sports will be honored at the Musial Awards in St. Louis on Nov. 17.

The Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who embody class and character.  The event is named for Stan Musial, the late St. Louis Cardinals legend who was beloved for his approach on and off the field.  Produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, the Musial Awards, a national awards show, takes place annually at Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis.

This year’s Musial Awards honorees include recently-inducted Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Thome and Loyola Men’s Basketball Team Chaplain Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.  Thome is receiving the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award, the pinnacle honor bestowed at the event and the highest award for sportsmanship.  The event’s other special award, the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character, will be presented to Sister Jean, who charmed the nation during March Madness with her positive spirit, wit and graciousness.

Thome and Sister Jean will share the spotlight with several individuals who displayed remarkable kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility.  Among them, Florida State Softball Head Coach Lonni Alameda, who this year guided the Seminoles to their first-ever softball national title – and was responsible for an endearing gesture of sportsmanship along the way; and University of Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon, who as a sophomore for the Hawkeyes made his mark with an extraordinary act of class and selflessness.

One of 2018’s most talked-about and widely-shared moments of sportsmanship will also be recognized.  Minnesota high school pitcher Ty Koehn will receive a Musial for the empathy he displayed when he struck out opposing player Jack Kocon to end a section tournament final game.  Instead of celebrating with his teammates, Koehn hugged and consoled Kocon.

And staying true to its St. Louis roots, the Musial Awards will honor Hall of Fame Shortstop Ozzie Smith.  The St. Louis fan favorite will be recognized for the immense impact he is having on area young people and veterans through his work with PGA REACH, the legacy program of the 100th PGA Championship.

Here are all of the recipients of the 2018 Musial Awards:

Jim Thome:  The 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee is receiving the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship.  The award is presented annually to an iconic sports figure who exemplifies sportsmanship and the qualities for which Stan the Man was known.  Thome joins Joe Torre (2014), Arnold Palmer (2015), Cal Ripken Jr. (2016), and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2017) as recipients.  While the stats he accumulated over 22 MLB seasons made him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the integrity, humility and consistency he displayed make him a natural to receive the highest award for sportsmanship.  Thome was beloved by those in the game and in the cities where he played.  In his Hall of Fame bio, former teammate Michael Cuddyer called him, “the nicest, gentlest, kindest guy you will ever meet to everything except the baseball.”

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt:  The chaplain of the Loyola men’s basketball team is receiving the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character.  During the Ramblers’ magical run in the NCAA Tournament last March, Sister Jean – then 98 – was thrust into the national spotlight.  She became a media darling and college basketball sensation.  But she never let the crush of media attention get to her or let age slow her down.  Through it all, she handled her newfound fame with class, grace, humor and humility.  At the Musial Awards, she will be recognized for the graciousness and positive spirit she exuded throughout March Madness – and for the kindness and selflessness she has exemplified throughout her life.

Lonni Alameda:  A five-time ACC Coach of the Year, Alameda guided the Florida State Seminoles to their first-ever softball national championship this year.  It was at the Women’s College World Series that she caught the attention of the Musial Awards with an admirable gesture of sportsmanship.  When the bus transporting the Oregon Ducks suffered a flat tire, Florida State stepped in and allowed the Ducks to take their bus.  With one problem solved, another developed.  Oregon infielder Mia Camuso had left her jersey on the FSU bus.  Alameda came to the rescue.  She noticed the jersey and immediately hopped in a car and drove it herself to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, ensuring Camuso had the jersey back in time for her next game.  That act is consistent with who Alameda is as a person and coach.  She is universally respected for her dedication to her players and to growing the game of softball.

Jordan Bohannon:  In February, Bohannon, an Iowa sophomore, was approaching the Hawkeyes’ consecutive free throws made record.  The record was held by the late Chris Street, an Iowa basketball legend who died in a car accident in 1993 at age 20.  With a chance to break the record, Bohannon intentionally – and selflessly – missed a free throw to honor Street and keep the record in his name.

Gerald Hodges:  As a freshman at Arlington Seguin High School in Texas, Hodges tried out for the school’s swim team even though he didn’t know how to swim.  He nearly drowned in his tryout.  But his coach gave him a shot and kept him on the team.  Buoyed by his work ethic and determination, Hodges not only learned to swim, he eventually excelled.  In a regional meet during his senior year, he overtook several competitors in the 200-medley relay to help his school earn its first-ever trip to the state championship.  Hodges showed the possibilities that exist when someone is given a chance, no matter their ability, and has the fortitude and resolve to overcome the risk of failure to reach great heights.

Ty Koehn:  In June, Koehn struck out opponent and close friend Jack Kocon to end a Minnesota high school baseball section final.  Instead of joining his teammates in celebration, Koehn headed straight to Kocon to hug and console the hitter.  Video of the moment went viral and Koehn’s gesture was heralded throughout the country.

Ozzie Smith:  Long having a track record of approachability and dedication to the community – traits in themselves Musial Award-worthy – Smith will be honored for his efforts to benefit area young people and veterans through PGA REACH.  As president of the Gateway PGA REACH Foundation, the Wizard has been a driving force for the initiative, which aims to improve lives through the game of golf with a focus on impacting youth and at-risk individuals.  His genuine devotion to the program has been a catalyst for its growth and success.  PGA REACH was created in St. Louis as a legacy of the 100th PGA Championship and was a significant factor in St. Louis being awarded the tournament.

Kaiden Whaley:  In a youth hockey game last December in Hagerstown, Md., Whaley, age 9, showed tremendous class, empathy and kindness – not to mention maturity – in helping an opposing goalie.  His counterpart, Leopold Hylton, had volunteered to play in goal because his team’s regular goaltender was sick.  But Hylton had no experience in net, and by the end of the first period, he had allowed seven goals.  So during the intermission, Whaley skated over to the opposing team’s bench.  He offered Hylton a clinic on how to play the position – showing him the proper way to hold the goalie’s stick and how to drop to his knees, get back up and defend the goal.

Kate Wynja:  This past spring, Wynja, a senior at Sioux Falls Christian High School, appeared to win the South Dakota Class A Golf Championship by multiple strokes.  Her victory also helped her school earn the team title.  But after signing and turning in her scorecard, she realized she had made a mistake.  She had entered a 4 as her score on the 18th hole when it should have been a 5.  Despite no one else knowing she had signed an incorrect scorecard, Wynja courageously reported the error.  It was an act of incredible honesty and integrity considering it resulted in her disqualification and her team losing the state championship.

MUSIAL AWARDS TICKETS:
Tickets for the 2018 Musial Awards are on sale through Ticketmaster.  Tickets range from $10 to $50 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Enterprise Center box office and all Ticketmaster ticket centers, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

The Musial Awards also offers an Honoree Circle ticket, which includes prime seating for the show, access to the Musial Awards After Party and reserved parking for $100.  Honoree Circle tickets and event sponsorships can be purchased at MusialAwards.com/tickets or by calling 314-345-5111.

Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of special group pricing by calling 314-345-5121.

Showtime for the 2018 Musial Awards is 7:30 p.m.

TELEVISION SPECIAL:
The Musial Awards is packaged into a one-hour television special, which can be seen in St. Louis on Wednesday, December 19 at 9 p.m. on 5 On Your Side (KSDK Channel 5), St. Louis’ NBC affiliate.  Additionally, the show will air on select TEGNA-owned stations throughout the country.  Last year’s broadcast recently received a Mid-America Emmy Award for Sports – One Time Special.  It’s the third consecutive year that the Musial Awards has been recognized in that category and is the 10th overall Emmy the show has received.

MORE ON THE MUSIALS:
The Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – takes place annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the historic 3,000-seat Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis.  The show is produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.  In addition to keeping alive the legacy of Stan the Man, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society – and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports.

This marks the 13th year the Musial Awards has taken place in St. Louis.  Since 2011, Maryville University has served as the event’s presenting sponsor.  The school’s involvement, leadership and generosity have helped make the show one of the great nights in sports.