Human Spirit Award to Calhoun

NEW ORLEANS – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday that Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has been named one of the 2012 recipients of The Mannie Jackson – Basketball's Human Spirit Award.

Also honored with the award were Phoenix Suns guard Grant Hill and Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. All three will be recognized on Sept. 6 during events leading up to the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Mass.

The award is named for Mannie Jackson, chairman of the board and owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and former chairman of the board of trustees of the Hall of Fame. Criteria for award winners includes, "embracing the core values of the game through hard work, dedication, and resilience; striving to continuously improve the community they serve, and making an ongoing commitment to others."

Winners must reflect the values of Mannie's Jackson's life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for personal actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.

"It means a great deal to me personally," Calhoun said Monday. "Mannie Jackson has been a big player in the Hall of Fame and he has been one of the real stars as far as black business men and kind of leading the charge. He has set a good example for so many people, including in community service. "I feel terrific about. It's a great group. When I was told that last week, I thought it was very cool."

The Hall of Fame announcement cited Calhoun for using "his success to champion many causes during his tenure" at UConn. Calhoun, a three-time cancer survivor, has devoted his time and money to help raise millions of dollars for cancer research and education.

Calhoun and his wife, Pat, established the Calhoun Cardiology Research Fund in 1998, donating $125,000 to the UConn Health Center. The Calhoun family also hosts the annual Jim Calhoun Holiday Food Drive, which has raised over $1 million for the Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare and providing over 1.6 million meals to families in need.

Calhoun also has been a national voice for Autism Awareness. And since 1994, Calhoun has served as honorary chairman for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Calhoun, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, received the award for his work in the amateur ranks. Hill represents the professional game and Lapchick the grassroots ranks. They were chosen from a group of six finalists.

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