On behalf of all of the volunteer members of the All Sports Association, welcome to the 49th Annual All Sports Association Banquet! This event is the highlight of our year where we identify and honor the finest athletes from Northwest Florida. In addition to their athletic success, our award recipients exemplify characteristics that extend well beyond the field, court, or pool in which they compete.
The All Sports Association is made up of dues-paying volunteers who contribute their time and talents toward our primary mission of supporting local youth-oriented, non-profit organizations with an emphasis on sports-related programs. There is no paid staff and all funds beyond expenses are used to further this mission. We encourage you to take a minute and browse the All Sports Website to learn more about who we are and how you can assist our team. Through this banquet and other fundraising events throughout the year, All Sports is able to support numerous local non-profit organizations.
Four primary beneficiaries supported by the All Sports Association will be acknowledged tonight:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
- Special Olympics Florida — Okaloosa County
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Okaloosa and Walton County
- Eleanor J. Johnson Youth Center in Fort Walton Beach
All Sports also has the privilege this evening of presenting the Wuerffel Trophy, a.k.a. “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” to Courtney Love of the University of Kentucky, who was selected this year as the top college player excelling in athletics, academics and community service. He joins a select roster of past winners which have included Rudy Niswager (LSU), Joel Penton (Ohio State), Paul Smith (Tulsa), Tim Tebow(Florida), Tim Hiller (Western Michigan), Sam Acho (Texas), and last year’s recipient, Trevor Knight (Texas A&M). The Association will also recognize this year’s winner of the Colonel Al Byrne Award, our most prestigious local award which recognizes an individual who has made sustained and outstanding contributions to youth athletics in our area.
We hope you were able to join us in this morning’s incomparable Buck Smith Fellowship of Christian Athletes Prayer Breakfast, a highlight of our banquet week where nearly 1,500 area students participating in FCA gathered to hear a message provided by former Wuerffel Trophy winner Barrett Jones (Alabama) and personal testimonies from their peers. The Taylor Haugen Trophy was also presented to South Walton High School’s Maddie Hiers, a volleyball player who best exemplifies the scholastic and athletic accomplishments of a local young man, Taylor Haugen, who tragically lost his life on the football field in 2008. “Don’t quit—Never give up” represents the basic principle which guided both Maddie and Taylor.
I am forever grateful to my loving wife, my family, and my colleagues for their support over the past year and the untold sacrifices made on my behalf as this year’s President. The honor to lead the All Sports Association this year is a blessing that I will never forget. Our team of selfless members have worked tirelessly throughout the year to support our local youth and to prepare for tonight’s events. My sincere appreciation goes out to them all as well as our local military members and other countless heroes in our local community who continue to support our mission. We especially thank our banquet and program sponsors from across the country who continue to make all of this possible.
Welcome and please join me this evening in honoring a group of well-deserved athletes from Northwest Florida.
All Sports Association