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Monday, December 3, 2012

Five sports ‘ambassadors’ to be honored
with second annual Bluegrass Sports Awards

The Bluegrass Sports Commission and Alltech have announced the winners of the second annual Bluegrass Sports Awards, five awards given in celebration of Kentucky’s rich sports tradition and highlighting the achievements of each winner. They will be honored Thursday, Jan. 31at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort.

“These award recipients are some of Kentucky’s greatest ambassadors – individuals who have and continue to promote this state around the country and the world,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.

Lexington native and NBC broadcaster Tom Hammond will present a pair of awards bearing his name during the event:

The Tom Hammond Award will be given to legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg.

Known as one of the most versatile play-by-play announcers in sports broadcasting, Enberg has taken on assignments including NFL football (43 seasons), the Super Bowl (10 times), the Rose Bowl (nine times), the Orange Bowl (six times), the Olympic Games (1972, 1988, 1992, 1996), the Australian Open (seven times), the French Open (23 times), Wimbledon (26 times), the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (10 times), the Masters (seven times), the PGA Championship (five times), the U.S. Open Golf Championship (five times), the Ryder Cup (three times), the American and National League Playoffs (three times), the World Series, heavyweight boxing championships (three times), the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (14 times), the NBA Playoffs and the NBA All-Star Game. Along with football, baseball, tennis, golf, basketball and boxing, he has called gymnastics, figure skating, Breeder’s Cup horse racing, and track and field.

The Tom Hammond Kentucky Sports Media Award will be presented to Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate-Messenger.
A 1970 graduate of Danville High School and a 1974 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Vaught began his career working for his late father, Bill, in the sports department at The Danville Advocate in 1975. He became the sports editor in 1996 upon the death of his father. Vaught has served as the president of the Kentucky Sports Writers Association and third vice president of the national Associated Press Sports Editors Association. He is a member of the Danville School’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the 12th Region Hall of Fame and in 2010 was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. Vaught is also a six-time winner of Kentucky’s National Sportswriter of the Year, which is named by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Recent National College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Host will also present a pair of awards in his name at the event.

The Jim Host Sports Business Award will be presented to Keeneland legend, Mr. Ted Bassett.

Bassett began working for the Keeneland Association in 1968, initially as an assistant to Louis Lee Haggin II. In 1969, Bassett became president and served in that capacity until 1986 when he moved to chairman of the board. In 2003, Bassett became a Keeneland trustee and he now holds the title of trustee emeritus. The entirety of his Keenalnd tenure currently spans 42 years and coincides with the association’s greatest period of growth. From 1988-1996, Bassett also served as president of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. He was chairman of the World Series Racing Championship from 1994-2004. He remains a Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup director and a member of The Jockey Club. He is a past president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of America and formerly served as a trustee of the National Museum of Racing, UK Equine Research Foundation and Transylvania University. A decorated veteran of World War II, Bassett was awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation. He was the director of the Kentucky State Police for four years and was one of the founders of the College of Justice and Safety at Eastern Kentucky University.

The Jim Host Youth Sports Award will honor the late Louis Stout.

Stout worked for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) for 23 years. In 1994, he became commissioner of the association and was the first African-American to head a state high school athletic association in the country. In 2011, he was named to the position of president of the National Amateur Athletic Union, an organization geared toward the development of youth through sports, his lifelong passion. Just as with all of his works, he would strive to make the AAU a better organization that it already was. In a life dedicated to youth sports, Stout was also a softball, baseball and college basketball official. He is a member of the 11th Region Basketball Hall of Fame, Kentucky Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, AAU Softball Umpire Hall of Fame, AAU Hall of Fame and the KHSAA Hall of Fame.

The awards evening will conclude with the live announcement of Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. The award was presented to Kenneth Faried in 2012 and has been given annually since 1981 when Roy Kidd received the prestigious honor. The voting is done by print, radio and television sports media from around the state and is coordinated by the Herald-Leader.

“We are thrilled to honor this year’s very deserving award winners” said Terry Johnson, executive director of the BSC. “This event gives us an opportunity to recognize individuals that have contributed so much to Kentucky through sports and serves as an opportunity for us to showcase what sport does for our state and our region.”

The Youth Sports Award and Kentucky Sports Media Award winners were selected by the Bluegrass Sports Awards Committee from a list of nominations submitted by the general public and Kentucky sports media members, respectively. The Tom Hammond Award and the Jim Host Sports Business Award winners were nominated and selected by the committee.

From BSC