NCAA Award of Valor

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The NCAA Award of Valor is presented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to recognize "courageous action or noteworthy bravery" by persons involved with intercollegiate athletics.

Potential recipients of the Award of Valor are current intercollegiate athletics coaches or administrators and current or former varsity letter-winners at NCAA institutions who, when confronted with situations involving personal danger, acted with valor to avert or minimize potential disaster. Valor is described as "the strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to brave danger with boldness and firmness." Members of the armed forces and police forces may receive the award for duty-connected actions if their actions were "clearly above and beyond the call of duty."[1]

The Award of Valor is presented during an award celebration at the NCAA's annual convention. It is not presented automatically on an annual basis. Selection is based on heroic action occurring in the previous academic year.[1]

The recipients of the NCAA Award of Valor are:[2]

  • 1974 – Charles G. "Lefty" Driesell, men's basketball coach at the University of Maryland; in a fire that destroyed four townhouses, broke into a burning building and began evacuating children.
  • 1974 – William J. ("Jeff") Miller; University of Texas at Arlington football player, saved four people from a fire at Gcrhardt-Owens munitions plant in Cleburne, Texas. He made four trips into the plant, despite serious danger to his own life, to save others.
  • 1974 – The Ursinus College 1973 Basketball Team. Every member of the team entered a burning building; their combined efforts led to the rescue of 14 persons.
  • 1977 – Dwayne A. Wright, saved two people who were trapped in a burning automobile.
  • 1982 – Timothy J. McCarthy. A former football player at University of Illinois, United States Secret Service agent wounded on March 30, 1981 during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. McCarthy stepped in front of President Reagan, saving the President from harm at considerable risk to his own life. The shooting occurred hours before the men's basketball national championship game between Indiana and North Carolina.
  • 1984 – Joseph A. Delaney. A former all-American performer in football and track at Northwestern State University and budding star with the Kansas City Chiefs, Delaney died trying to save three youngsters from drowning.
  • 1998 – Shannon Shea Smith. University of Hawaii, Smith gave his life while saving the 6-year-old son of Hawaii's head football coach from drowning in a whirl pool.
  • 2000 – John E. Berry Jr. Williams College, two-sport student-athlete who gave up his final year of eligibility in football to donate a kidney to his older brother.
  • 2001 – Rob Best (1972 graduate of Texas Tech University), Shawn Elliot (1996 graduate of Appalachian State University) and Stacey Searels (graduate of Auburn University), all members of the Appalachian State University football coaching staff, saved a number of people from a fiery crash.
  • 2004 – Jimmy Baxter, University of South Florida, saved two men trapped in a vehicle after a violent crash.
  • 2007 – Derek Hines, 2003 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, who demonstrated valor in Afghanistan before being killed there.
  • 2008 – Emily Perez, 2005 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, who died after an improvised explosive device exploded near her vehicle in Iraq and whose U.S. Army unit recognized her for her leadership after her death.
  • 2008 – Douglas A. Zembiec, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was a major in the U.S. Marines and had demonstrated heroism in several incidents before his death in Iraq.
  • 2009 – Roxana Saberi, a freelance journalist on an alleged espionage charge in Iran. She repeatedly avowed her innocence. She was eventually freed and returned home to the United States, in January 2009. Roxana Saberi graduated from Concordia College Northwestern University and King's College, Cambridge University [3]
  • 2013 – Kirk Rohle, football player at Hampden-Sydney College. Went back into a burning house to save roommate and friend Ben Rogers. Rogers heard Rohle calling for him and was able to make his way out of the building safely, however Rohle did not see him leave and continued searching for him. He left the house after getting severe burns on 47% of his body.[4]
  • 2014 – Cameron Lyle, track and field athlete at University of New Hampshire. Ended his college athletic career early to be a bone marrow donor for a complete stranger for whom he was found to be a genetic match, despite the surgery and recovery meaning that Lyle would not have the opportunity to participate for a predicted gold medal in shot put at his conference championships.[5]
  • 2015 – John Servati, swimmer at University of Alabama. Saved his girlfriend's life by holding up a collapsed retaining wall during a tornado that hit Tuscaloosa in April 28, 2014.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NCAA Award of Valor selection criteria
  2. ^ NCAA Award of Valor recipients
  3. ^ NCAA Awards of Valor go to Phillips, Saberi. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  4. ^ Hampden-Sydney's Kirk Rohle to Receive NCAA Award of Valor for His Heroic Act. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  5. ^ [1] University of New Hampshire. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  6. ^ [2] Retrieved 2015-05-13.