Dec 29, 2016
Press release from the USBWA:
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has taken a pair of unprecedented steps in revealing today the 2017 Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award that will be shared by Appalachian State women’s basketball coach Angel Elderkin and ESPN sportscaster Holly Rowe.
“When it came to initially consider a recipient for this year honor, there was a sense of wanting to do something exceptional in the aftermath of the Hall of Fame Tennessee women’s coach’s passing last June after a nearly five-year battle against Alzheimer’s disease,” said Mel Greenberg, who Is the women’s representative on the USBWA board.
“By coincidence in announcing dual honorees for the first time since Summitt’s name was placed on the women’s award in 2012 that she won, a way has been found to present the plaques in both Summitt’s spirit and now also her memory.”
Summitt gave a display of her own spirit two years ago when she made a surprise appearance at the mid-November game at Xavier in Cincinnati to help hand the USBWA award in her name to Lauren Hill. The Mount St. Joseph’s freshman was honored for her fight against pediatric cancer, which she ultimately lost at the end of that season after inspiring the entire nation in her battle.
When it comes to spirit this season, Angel Elderkin, has continued to guide the Mountaineers from their Boone, N.C., campus, since being diagnosed with Stage III Endometrial (ovarian) cancer for which she revealed last summer.
Elderkin has continued to coach while taking treatments that at times involve trips away from campus to Chapel Hill, N.C.
And when it comes to doing something memorable, Holly Rowe has been very public in battling desmoplastic melanoma while continuing to stay on air doing the job she loves.
Rowe is the first USBWA women’s most courageous recipient who is neither an athlete, coach, official or team public relations person. And the Utah graduate is one of a very few winners who did not have a direct connection to a university.
In also choosing Rowe as a most courageous award recipient, Greenberg noted,“As someone who spent numerous on-air moments with Summitt around her greatest achievements, why not allow Holly to bask in the Lady Vols mentor’s reflection while her doing so breaks new ground for us.”
Both Elderkin and Rowe will receive their awards at the USBWA Awards press conference in the tournament interview room at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas.