Words Unlimited, the statewide organization of sports writers, sportscasters and sports publicists, will hold its 65th annual Sports Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 20, at The Radisson on Post Road in Warwick.
The reception will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.
Tickets are priced at $35 each and may be obtained by contacting Johnson & Wales University director of athletics John Parente at (401) 598-1604, or any Words Unlimited member.
The evening’s festivities will include a tribute to the late Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor. The Community Service Award has been named in his honor.
A silent auction also will be held to support the Words Unlimited Scholarship Fund. Memorabilia up for auction will include items donated by the Boston Celtics, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the New York Jets.
Following is a list of award recipients for the 2010 calendar year:
Amby Smith Award, Jean Angell – One of the pioneers of girls’ high school athletics in Rhode Island, Angell’s contributions span nearly four decades. She coached softball and girls’ basketball at Scituate High School where she also served as the athletics director for 23 years. She continues to serve as the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s director of field hockey.
Frank Lanning Award, Billy Andrade & Brad Faxon – The Rhode Island natives have enjoyed tremendous golf careers, both as PGA Tour players and as television commentators for the sport. But they have made some of their greatest contributions as the co-founders and co-hosts of the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, which has raised more than $14 million for numerous charities in southeastern New England over the course if its 12-year history.
Bill Cawley Award, Emo DiNitto – Over three decades, Emo DiNitto coached football at Hendricken, Warwick Vets and Toll Gate and for almost two decades he’s been the driving force behind the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame. Because of his efforts, some Rhode Island schools have benefitted from the National Foundation’s “Play it Smart” program, an education program targeted at economically disadvantaged high school football players.
Male Athlete of the Year, Matt Hansen – A University of Rhode Island senior linebacker (out of La Salle Academy), Matt Hansen made a career-high 114 tackles including a single-game, career-high 20 against then-No.4/5 William & Mary. Hansen was named to the All-CAA Second Team and to the New England All-Star Team for the second time in his career.
Female Athlete of the Year, Liz Beisel – One of four swimmers nominated for USA Swimming’s Female Athlete of the Year, this 18-year-old North Kingstown native won gold medals in the 400 individual medley and the 200 backstroke in the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships last August. She also became the first female freshman in SEC history to win the Swimmer of the Week Award three times in one season.
Men's Sports Coach of the Year, Pat Loughlin – Brown University’s Pat Loughlin in his initial season as the Bears’ soccer coach, guided the team to its 25th NCAA Tournament appearance, a 10th-place final national ranking and a berth in the NCAA’s Sweet 16 – the result of victories over Boston College and Connecticut.
Women's Sports Coach of the Year, Jamie Marcoux – Jamie Marcoux guided the Johnson & Wales University volleyball team to its fifth GNAC championship and its fifth NCAA berth where the seventh-seeded Wildcats almost upset second-seeded Steven’s Tech before bowing, 3-2. JWU finished 24-13 overall and 11-1 in the GNAC.
Team of the Year, Hendricken High football – The 2010 Hawks became the first Hendricken football team in 15 years to complete a perfect season (13-0) as they captured the Division I state title with a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over Portsmouth in the Super Bowl.
Story of the Year, Brian Boucher – This Woonsocket native began 2010 way down the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie depth chart. After two goalies went down with injuries, Boucher backstopped a stretch drive to a Stanley Cup playoff berth. He then out-played future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur as the Flyers upset the heavily-favored Devils in the opening round.
Small College Achievement Award, Rhode Island College men’s basketball – The Anchormen went 22-9 en route to winning The Little East Conference regular-season championship for the fourth time in six years. They also annexed the LEC Tournament title for the third time in four years and earned an NCAA Division III Tournament berth for a fourth consecutive season.
Community Service Award, Kevin Jackson and Thom Spann – Kevin Jackson and Thom Spann comprise the foundation of the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field team which is a self-supporting program that was launched in 1978. It helps inner-city youth develop track and field skills as well as learning life lessons.
Schoolboy Athlete of the Year, Ryan O’Dell – Lincoln’s Ryan O’Dell led his hockey team to the Division I-A finals by topping the league with 28 regular-season goals and adding five in the finals. He earned Second Team All-State honors in baseball and also quarterbacked the Lions to the Division III Tournament with a division-leading 2,183 yards of total offense.
Schoolgirl Athlete of the Year, Rebecca Curran – Bay View’s Rebecca Curran went undefeated in her final season of high school tennis. She became one of only eight players in the 33-year history of the Interscholastic League state singles tournament to win at least two titles as she successfully defended her state crown with five straight-sets victories. Curran also led Bay View to the Division I state team title.
Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year, Keith Croft – While Hendricken football compiled its first perfect season (13-0) in 15 years and captured the Division I Super Bowl crown, Keith Croft dealt with a more serious family issue. He had to cope with the news that his four-month-old son, Caden, had hydrocephaulus which required brain surgery.
Schoolgirl Sports Coach of the Year, Lindsay Fish – Lindsay Fish assumed a fragile situation with former La Salle coach Joe Avila passing away last summer. Fish not only helped the girls deal with the grief of losing their former coach but also guided the Rams to an undefeated season plus their third consecutive Division I state soccer title.