Sports figures get award named for Iba

Updated: June 14, 2004, 10:11 PM ET
Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. -- Ozzie Smith helps kids, while Jackie Joyner-Kersee is building opportunities on the tough streets of her hometown. John Wooden thought coaches should teach their players off the court, too.

The baseball Hall of Famer, the track and field star and the basketball coaching legend were honored Monday with Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards.

"The only thing it costs is time," Smith said before the awards ceremony of his work with several charities, including the children's charity Variety Club.

"My mom always told me to give something back, to not always take, take, take," said Smith, who was known as "The Wizard" during his baseball career for his gravity-defying defense.

The awards named for the legendary Oklahoma State basketball coach and given to athletes who excel on and off the field were handed out at a black tie ceremony at Tulsa's Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.

CBS Sports' Tim Brando was master of ceremonies, while Olympic gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, who are married and live in Norman, were co-masters of ceremonies.

Smith won 13 Gold Glove awards, stole more than 500 bases and had more than 2,400 hits in his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Joyner-Kersee, who won six medals at four Olympics, including three golds, was recognized for the work her foundation has done in her impoverished hometown of East St. Louis, Ill.

Joyner-Kersee, who missed a pre-ceremony press conference after travel delays, raised $12 million to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, a community and recreation center in East St. Louis.

Wooden received a special president's award. He coached UCLA to 10 NCAA tournament titles, including a record seven straight, and 88 straight wins before retiring in 1975.

He's credited with developing the "Pyramid of Success," a program of principles for his players to follow in basketball and in life.

"He really was such a role model for a lot of coaches not only in how to win but that you have a responsibility as a coach to teach your players some lessons through basketball that will help them in their later life," Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton said.

Past winners of the awards presented by the Rotary Club of Tulsa include Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and LPGA golfer Nancy Lopez.

Iba, who died in 1993, coached the Cowboys to 655 victories, including national titles in 1945 and 1946 and 13 league championships.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press