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.”
Ten Things You Need to Know from This Week’s Issue: Peter King’s NFL Awards Forecast, the Best Quotes from Training Camp, the Best Tacklers of Today and All Time, The Smartest Players in Baseball and MorePosted: August 31, 2011
You’ve seen the six regional covers for the NFL Preview and read Peter King’s regular and postseason predictions. Here are ten other things you’ll learn from this week’s Sept. 5 issue:
- If Peter King’s soothsaying abilities hold true from last year (when he correctly predicted a Steelers–Packers Super Bowl), put your money on Philip Rivers. He’s King’s pick for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
- King is also high on the Lions. Jim Schwartz is his Coach of the Year, and Matthew Stafford is a runner-up for Comeback Player of the Year.
- “I’m a winner. I don’t care about stats. I never have. In the first game of the year, if I catch no balls and we win, I’ll be thrilled. If they tell me the game plan is to go out and block the safety in the mouth 60 times and we win, I’ll be thrilled. To me, football’s been about winning and nothing else.” – Falcons WR Julio Jones
- Ravens–Steelers might be the fiercest rivalry in the NFL. Want proof? LB Terrell Suggs says his team refers to the Steelers as “that team from Pennsylvania. It’s forbidden to say their name around here. It’s an unspoken word.”
- Speaking of the Ravens, Ray Lewis is listed by senior writer Tim Layden as one of the five best tacklers both today and in history.
- Among Layden’s list of five best tacklers in history, four are linebackers; among his list of the five best tacklers today, only two are linebackers.
- If you’re an okay quarterback but not a great one, the NFL will kick you to the curb. So says senior writer Phil Taylor, who writes, “So, kids, you want to grow up to be an NFL quarterback? A word of advice: Don’t.”
- Pirates starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf is baseball’s smartest player—according to 24% of the 281 MLB players who responded to SI’s survey.
- SI’s fans thought differently. On Facebook, fans overwhelmingly voted Derek Jeter as the smartest (37%), followed by Roy Halladay (20%).
- Senior writer Lars Anderson says that the seasons of four traditional college football powers—Alabama, Texas, Penn State and Notre Dame—will hinge on who wins their respective quarterback battles.
Read on for more after the break.