The state's best in sports for 2001 will be saluted Feb. 24 when the Portland Tribune and Nike present the Oregon Sports Awards.
The event, to be held in the Tiger Woods Center at the Nike World Campus in Beaverton, will follow in the tradition of The Banquet of Champions. The banquet ran for 49 years before it was discontinued in 1998.
Like the banquet, the Oregon Sports Awards will recognize the achievements of professional, college, high school and other athletes, coaches and sports figures. The Oregon Sports Awards, though, will introduce a fast-paced, high-energy format with music and video in a theater setting similar to cable television's ESPY Awards.
The most prominent honors will go to the Bill Hayward Athletes of the Year, the outstanding male and female amateurs with a state of Oregon background. Past winners include Steve Prefontaine, Terry Baker, Gary Payton, Mary Slaney, Alberto Salazar, Tiffeny Milbrett, Don Schollander, Mac Wilkins, Neil Lomax and Dan O'Brien.
The Slats Gill Award will recognize a coach or administrator from an Oregon-based team at any level of competition or an athletic organization. Previous winners have included Bill Bowerman, Dee Andros, Jack Ramsay, Rich Brooks, Ralph Miller and Rick Adelman.
The Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year also returns. It has gone to Mickey Lolich, Geoff Petrie, Bill Walton, Dan Fouts and others.
Also coming back are the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athletes of the Year, honoring the top boy and girl in the state.
New awards are the Ad Rutschman Small College Athletes of the Year (male and female) and the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.
Special merit awards also will be given. A statewide media panel will select all the winners.
In addition, Nike will present the Steve Prefontaine Award.
'The heritage of these awards fits into the psyche and fabric of Nike's culture and history,' says Nelson Farris, Nike's director of corporate education. 'The awards honor individual achievements and team victories. More importantly, these athletes have learned that by giving their best on an individual basis, they have produced team success far greater than they could imagine.
'It's the same way Bill Bowerman taught that a shared commitment returns to each individual more than he or she puts into it. If Bowerman hadn't learned this lesson from Bill Hayward and then passed it on to Phil Knight, Nike might never have been born.'
The awards show will start at 7 p.m. A reception is set for 5:30 p.m. Safeway is a supporting sponsor, and proceeds from the event benefit Special Olympics.