Feb. 16, 2000
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) today announced the names of the five finalists for the 70th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, Sponsored by LamisilAT. This year's five finalists are: Kelly & Coco Miller (women's basketball), Ron Dayne (football), Stephen Neal (wrestling), Stacey Nuveman (softball) and Mark Ruiz (diving). The winner will be formally announced on April 6, 2000, during a ceremony at ESPNZone in New York City.
The Sullivan Award recognizes athletes who have achieved athletic excellence, exhibit leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the AAU, James E. Sullivan. Past winners include last year's recipient Chamique Holdsclaw, Peyton Manning (1997), and Presidential hopeful, William "Bill" Bradley (1965).
"This year's group of finalists represents the best of the best in amateur athletics," said Bobby Dodd, AAU President. "Given their outstanding athletic performances, along with their fine display of honor and integrity in every day life, we couldn't be more proud of these fine young athletes. It's just a shame there can only be one winner announced on April 6th."
1999 James E. Sullivan Memorial Award Sponsored by LamisilAT Finalists Kelly & Coco Miller are the first twin sisters to be nominated for the award. Together, they represent one selection. The two teammates led Georgia University's Lady Bulldogs to last season's NCAA Women's Final Four, and now have the chance to become the second winner of the Sullivan Award to represent women's college basketball. Last year's recipient, Chamique Holdsclaw of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, was the first.
Ron Dayne is the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner, and a two-time Rose Bowl MVP. The University of Wisconsin running back has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Peyton Manning and Charlie Ward as Sullivan Award winners in the 1990's representing college football.
Three of this year's finalists will represent the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia: Stephen Neal, named this year's United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Male Wrestler of the Year, will take on the world's best wrestlers in this summer's Olympic Games. Before that, he has a chance to become just the third wrestler to win the Sullivan Award, which would put him in the company of Bruce Baumgartner and John Smith.
Stacey Nuveman, a member of UCLA's national champion softball team, will play on the USA 2000 Olympic squad. She can become the first softball player ever to win the Sullivan Award.
Mark Ruiz, member of the 2000 US Olympic Diving Team, holds the most US national diving titles of any active diver with 13. Often compared to diving legend and former Sullivan Award winner Greg Louganis, Ruiz has a chance at becoming the fourth diver to take home the Sullivan trophy.
"We are honored to be the proud sponsor of such a prestigious award," said MJ Weldon, senior brand manager for LamisilAT. "It's great to be part of an award that recognizes athletes who can be relied upon to be positive role models for amateur athletes of today and tomorrow."
Voting for the 1999 James E. Sullivan Award Sponsored by LamisilAT is completed by the AAU Board of Directors, the USOC Board of Directors, the AAU Sullivan Award Committee and members of the sports media. The accounting firm, Accurate Business Services of Marietta, GA, officially tabulates ballots. This year's award recipient will receive a bronze replica of the original Sullivan trophy mounted on a black pedestal, depicting a runner carrying a laurel branch.
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs for all ages. Its philosophy of "Sports for All, Forever," is shared by nearly 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers. Divided into 58 distinct associations, the AAU sanctions more than 32 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 10,000 local events across the United States annually. For more information on the AAU please visit its web site at www.aausports.org.
The AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award is sponsored by LamisilAT Cream, the best way to cure your athlete's foot. LamisilAT Cream is manufactured and marketed by Novartis Consumer Health, which is headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, and is a leading consumer pharmaceuticals and food company. The Division includes Gerber Products Company, Novartis OTC (over-the counter medicines), Health and Functional Nutrition and Medical Nutrition. Focusing on consumer needs and preferences, each NCH Sector provides well-known, high-quality products to enhance overall health and well-being for millions of American consumers each day.