Words Unlimited, the statewide organization of sports writers, sportscasters and sports publicists, will hold its 67th annual Sports Awards Banquet on Sunday, February 24 at The Radisson on Post Road in Warwick.
The reception will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are priced at $30 each and may be obtained by contacting Words Unlimited President John Parente at Johnson & Wales University at (401) 598-1604 or any Words Unlimited member.
A silent auction also will be held to support the Words Unlimited Scholarship Fund.
Memorabilia up for auction will include items donated by the Boston Celtics, the Pawtucket Red Sox, the New York Jets and the New Jersey Devils as well as several framed photos (autographed and not autographed) by Sports & More which is located in the Providence Place Mall.
Cash and checks are accepted for all items (no credit cards, please). For questions about the auction or to request certain items for the auction contact Pete DiVito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following is a list of award recipients for the 2012 calendar year:
Men's Sports Coach of the Year, Arnie Beyeler - Beyeler led the Pawtucket Red Sox to the 2012 International League's Governors' Cup Championship in 2012. The team swept Charlotte in three games in the finals. During the course of the regular season, he used 69 players (one short of the franchise record) and saw 23 different players promoted to Boston.
Team of the Year, Pawtucket Red Sox - The PawSox captured their first Governors' Cup championship since 1984 when they rolled through the I.L.'s post-season, winning six of their seven playoff games. Pawtucket had the I.L.'s best record for much of the first half of the season before players like Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, Daniel Nava, Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa were called up to Boston. The PawSox got hot again down the stretch to make the playoffs and then beat the Yankees and the Knights in the playoffs to bring home the Cup.
Hall of Fame inductees, Bill Wanless, Pete Connell (posthumously) and Chris Humm - Wanless began his Pawtucket Red Sox career as an intern in 1985 after his junior year at St. Anselm College. He was hired full time in May of 1986 upon graduation from college and was promoted to Vice President of Public Relations in 1992.
Connell was a state employee for 31 years before, in 1991, embarking on a second career as a sportswriter for The Observer and Valley Breeze newspapers. For 21 years, he was a fixture at high school sporting events in the western part of the state. He also umpired softball and baseball through his adult life.
Humm joined the Brown University staff in 1988 as Director of Sports Information and head golf coach, a position he relinquished after the 1993 season. He's responsible for the implementation of a media relations program including publication of media guides/interactive magazines and programs, social media, video streaming and daily maintenance of Brown's athletic website for the school's 37 varsity teams.
Amby Smith Award, Dick Magarian - A legend in the Rhode Island wrestling community, Magarian revived the wrestling team at Coventry High and guided the Oakers to 11 state championships and three New England titles. He coached eight All-Americans during his tenure and twice was honored as Words Unlimited's Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year. He last served as the R.I.I.L.'s assistant executive director.
Frank Lanning Award, Ann Morris - Morris had an outstanding career as a teacher, coach and official. While at Greenfield (MA) High and Warren High, she coached cross country, gymnastics, track, basketball softball and field hockey. She's a long-time track, field hockey, basketball and gymnastics official. At 80 years old, she competes in track in the Senior Olympics.
Bill Cawley Award, Kim Bissonnette - The Portsmouth native and 1977 University of Rhode Island graduate is in his 22nd year at his alma mater. During his career as the head athletic trainer and associate athletics director for health and performance, he's been in charge of the overall athletic training program. He received the URI Staff Excellence Award in 2001.
Male Athlete of the Year, Bobby Allen - The Cranston native won the 2012 NJCAA Division III cross-country championship in national record-setting time of 25:23.46 and earned First Team All-American honors. He was the Division I National Indoor Track champion in the mile and 3000 meters and the Division III Outdoor Track champion in the 1,500 with a record time of 3:55.99. He was named a Second Team All-American in the 5,000.
Female Athlete of the Year, Kaitlyn Birrell - The Salve Regina senior from Hope, R.I., captured her second consecutive CCC Offensive Player of the Year Award for women's soccer as she led the conference with 46 points. She was named to Division III All-Star teams for the CCC and New England. In basketball, Birrell earned the CCC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Women's Sports Coach of the Year, Marcus Reilly - Reilly led Rhode Island College's basketball team to a 25-4 record (a school record for wins), the 2012 Little East regular-season and tournament championships and to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament.
Small College Achievement Award, Salve Regina's men's rugby team - The Seahawks captured the National Small College Rugby Organization championship by beating California Maritime, 22-15. In addition, they won the New England Rugby Football Union title and the Region I Northeast championship which earned them a bid to the NSCRO nationals.
Story of the Year, Elizabeth Beisel - Saunderstown's Elizabeth Beisel in the 2012 Summer Olympics earned a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley and a bronze in the 200 backstroke. She was honored as the 2012 SEC Female Swimmer of the Year after winning the NCAA championship in the 200 backstroke and leading Florida to third place in the NCAAs.
Community Service Award, Rhode Island Interscholastic League Unified Sports - The varsity program allows special needs student-athletes to participate with varsity athletes at a competitive level. Basketball and soccer teams are a mix of athletes and helpers.
Schoolboy Athlete of the Year, Trevor Crawley - Cumberland's Crawley won the state 3000-meter outdoor track championship last spring and was both the state and New England cross-country champion in the fall.
Schoolgirl Athlete of the Year, Hannah Saris - Moses Brown's Saris earned All-America and All-State honors in lacrosse, All-State honors in field hockey and multiple All-Division honors in basketball. In 2012, she led the Quakers to the Division I state title in lacrosse and the basketball team to the Division II semifinals.
Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year, Todd Keefe - Under Keefe's guidance, Central beat Hope, 66-59, in the finals of the Division I basketball championships. The 19-5 Knights' victory broke the parochial schools stranglehold on state basketball titles. Parochial schools had won 16 of the previous 17 titles.
Schoolgirl Sports Coach of the Year, Leo Bush - Bush led Coventry to its second consecutive Division I state title albeit with a completely different team. Coventry graduated every starter from the 2011 squad but still finished with a 14-2 regular-season record. Bush also coached Coventry's baseball team to its first Division I semifinal appearances in over 20 years.