Earlier today, Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski were named the 2011 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year. But the conversation for who should receive this year’s award began long before that thanks to contributions from a bevy of writers and input from fans everywhere.
Since 2004, Sports Illustrated’s writers and editors have submitted nomination essays for who they deem to be deserving candidates in a month-long SI.com package called “My Sportsman,” spearheaded by media writer Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch).
“It gets people thinking about it a month out, and it’s a nice way to acknowledge sports figures for their great years,” Deitsch says. “It also provides a water cooler discussion prior to the decision. Debating who should win is more fun that debating who won.”
Time Inc. Sports Group editor Terry McDonell announced today that Tennessee’s Pat Summitt and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski are the 2011 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year. The NCAA’s all-time winningest women’s and men’s basketball coaches join an elite group of sports immortals, including Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King, Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Orr and Pete Rozelle to receive this award.
The magazine’s editors have chosen each honoree based on the principles established in 1954, when runner Roger Bannister was honored as Sports Illustrated’s first Sportsman: “While the victory may have been his or hers, it is not for the victory alone that he or she is honored. Rather, it is for the quality of their effort and manner of their striving.”
Says McDonell: “The voices of those who have been inspired by Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski echo from everywhere and will continue for decades. What they have achieved through their coaching and, more importantly, their teaching places them among history’s transcendent figures. It is an honor to now include them in the select group of Sportsmen and Sportswomen.”