The Atlanta Sports Council honored the area’s best athletes and teams last Thursday during its 12th annual Atlanta Sports Awards ceremony at The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University.
Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank was honored and chosen as the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Coca-Cola. After 23 years, Blank retired from his role with The Home Depot and shortly after solidified himself in the world of professional sports with the purchase of the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. Blank has grown the team to be a $2.1 billion franchise in just 15 years. Blank also brought Major League Soccer to Atlanta with the Atlanta United FC, which kicked off its inaugural season on 2017.
Awards wen to the Falcons. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Falcons gained recognition in three other categories, including Team of the Year presented by PrimeSport. Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn was awarded Coach of the Year presented by The Home Depot and quarterback Matt Ryan was named Professional Athlete of the Year presented by SunTrust Sports & Entertainment.
First-time category, Moment of the Year presented by Mercedes-Benz USA was awarded to the Atlanta Falcons for their NFC Championship win. The Moment of the Year was selected by the audience during the live text-to-vote portion of the show.
The University of Georgia was also was front and center as running back Nick Chubb was recognized as Collegiate Athlete of the Year presented by AT&T. Chubb ended the 2016 season with 1,130 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
Longtime sports broadcaster Craig Sager, was awarded the Community Spirit Award presented by Georgia Power, a Southern Company. Sager was known for his standout suits and his remarkable 26-season career as a National Basketball Association (NBA) sideline reporter for Turner Sports’ broadcasts on TNT. His accepted the award on his behalf, as he lost his battle to acute myeloid leukemia in December 2016. Sager helped form the Sager Strong Foundation, a charity designed to help fund clinical trials and cancer research for leukemia and other blood cancers.
Former Buford High School volleyball star Gabby Curry, now a libero at the University of Kentucky, took home High School Player of the Year presented by Mizuno. Curry, a two-time Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year, helped lead the Wolves to two Georgia state volleyball championships.
“We are proud to celebrate tonight’s winners who represent the best Atlanta sports has to offer on the high school, collegiate and professional levels,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council. “We were thrilled to honor Atlanta’s champions and championship moments. We sincerely thank our award sponsors and event partners for making this another successful and memorable event.”
Atlanta Sports Award winners:
Coach of the Year Presented by The Home Depot
Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons
Collegiate Athlete of the Year Presented by AT&T
Nick Chubb – University of Georgia Football
High School Athlete of the Year Presented by Mizuno
Gabby Curry – Buford High School Volleyball
Professional Athlete of the Year Presented by SunTrust Sports & Entertainment
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Team of the Year Presented by PrimeSport
Moment of the Year Presented by Mercedes-Benz USA
Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship
Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Coca-Cola
Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner
Community Spirit Award presented by Georgia Power, a Southern Company
Craig Sager, longtime sports broadcaster
Time to look ahead. The Atlanta Sports Council created a special moment for the next big sporting event coming to Atlanta. In honor of the upcoming College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8 2018, the Atlanta Football Host Committee (AFHC) in partnership with the CFP Foundation have dedicated efforts to elevate and inspire teachers across the Atlanta community through donations, development and support of school programs. During the show, Bunche Middle School was surprised with a $75,000 donation to the school’s scholar athlete program. With this donation, the AFHC and CFP Foundation has donated $705,000 to Atlanta Public Schools so far in 2017.