NEW YORK (April 10, 2016) – Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and UConn forward Breanna Stewart are the 86th AAU James E. Sullivan Award winners, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced today during a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club.
“We are unbelievably honored to call both Keenan and Breanna winners of the 86th AAU Sullivan Award,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “They represent everything that is great about amateur athletics. They are not only phenomenal athletes, but they are extraordinary people as well.”
It was just the second time in the award’s illustrious history that multiple recipients were recognized as the top amateur athletes in America.
The finest Navy quarterback since Roger Staubach, Reynolds led Navy to a school-record 11 wins against two losses in 2015-16 and the school’s best end-of-season ranking (No. 18) in more than 50 years. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named a third-team All-American. Reynolds is the all-time leader in FBS history in touchdowns scored (88) and rushing yards by a quarterback (4,559).
Reynolds led the Midshipmen senior class to 36 career wins, tying the Navy class of 1909. Well-respected by his peers, Reynolds was made a unanimous captain for the 2016 East-West Shrine Game and went on to win the Pat Tillman Award, which is presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service.
Reynolds is the third straight college football player to claim the award. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was on site to present the award this year, claimed the award last year after leading the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship in 2015. Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel took home the 84th AAU Sullivan Award the year prior.
The best in women’s basketball and likely No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 WNBA Draft next week, Stewart just wrapped up her fourth straight NCAA National Championship with the Huskies. She earned her fourth NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors and finished her career with more than 2,500 total points and more than 1,000 career rebounds.
Stewart is the first women’s basketball player to win the award since Coco and Kelly Miller took home the award in 1999.
Stewart was unable to attend the ceremony due to the Huskies’ National Championship parade in Hartford, Conn. She will receive her award during the 2016 Celebrate the Season event at the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“As one of the largest multi-sports organizations in the nation, this award is really the epitome of what the AAU represents,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. “Part of the mission of the AAU is to provide a venue for amateur athletes to promote good sportsmanship and good citizenship. Both of our winners – as well as our finalists and semifinalists – truly embody that mission.”
The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country.
World renowned golfer Robert “Bobby” Jones received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973) and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) have also earned the prestigious honor.
Visit aausullivan.org for more information.
ABOUT THE AAU:
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 35 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. For more information, visit www.aausports.org.
Cody Norman, AAU Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator
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