The Reception honored a number of minority "firsts" with the 2012 Pioneer Award, as well as the recognition of seven John McLendon Hall of Fame inductees and the Bud Selig Mentoring Award. The reception was emceed by Fox Sports Analyst Charles Davis.
The following individuals received the Pioneer Award:
Linwood Sexton, Missouri Valley Conference
First African-American to be named to the Missouri Valley All-Conference team three times (1945-47); First African-American to graduate with a bachelor's degree in education from the Missouri Valley Conference (1948)
James Cash, Southwest Conference
First African-American to play basketball in the Southwest Conference; 1965-first African-American to sign a basketball athletic letter-of-intent in the Southwest Conference at TCU
Carlton Cooper, Lonestar Conference
First African-American Athletics Director in the Lone Star Conference
Rudy Davalos, University of New Mexico
First Hispanic AD in Southwest Conference, WAC and MWC; First Hispanic to serve on the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Committees; Named one of the top 101 Most Influential Minorities by Sports Illustrated
Dr. Evie Dennis, USOC
First African-American female to be the second VP of AAU; First African American female to be Chef de Mission for the USOC for two Pan American Games and the 1988 Olympic Team
Herman Frazier, USOC
First African-American to win a Gold Medal and return as Chef De Mission of the U.S. delegation at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece
Dennie Hoggard and Wallace Triplett, Penn State
First African-Americans to play in the Cotton Bowl as juniors in 1948 for Penn State
Beverly Kearney, University of Texas
First African-American, female or male coach, to ever win a Division I Track and Field National Title
Jerry LeVias, Southern Methodist University
First African-American football scholarship athletes to play in the Southwest Conference
John Thompson, Georgetown
First African American President of the NABC (1985-86); First African-American Division I Basketball Coach of the Year (USBWA-1982) (NABS-1985) (UPI-1986-87); First African American Basketball Coach in the Big East Conference (1979-80); First African American Big East Coach of the Year (1980)
Rick Villarreal, North Texas
First Latino Athletics Director in the Sun Belt Conference
Alfred White, Southern Conference
First African-American to be Commissioner of the Southern Conference and of an NCAA Division I Conference that was not an HBCU (1998)
Beverly Kearny, head track and field coach at the University of Texas, responded on behalf of the 2012 honorees.
"When you think pioneer, you also think responsibility. The responsibility each of you has taken on as pioneers, because you had to be excellent, you had to succeed," said Kearny. "When I was growing up, my mother always told me you had to be 'better than'. Being ‘as good as' is not good enough as a minority. Somewhere along the line, we lost that. Mr. McLendon knew that, and he did that in everything he did and expected that in every person that he worked with."
Also honored at the Reception was the 2012 Class of the John McLendon Hall of Fame. Inductees included:
Vice President of Communications
President & CEO, Dallas Mavericks
Clarence E. 'Big House' Gaines
Former Director of Athletics, Winston Salem State University
Director of Athletics Albany, NACDA Past President
Consultant, Dallas Cowboys
Sport Performance Team Leader, USOC
Ruben Amaro Jr.
Senior VP/General Manager, Philadelphia Phillies
Calvin Hill, consultant with the Dallas Cowboys responded on behalf of the Hall of Fame inductees using an analogy of planting trees to make a difference.
"The people who plant the trees, don't always enjoy the shade. It seems we are enjoying the shade because of Mr. McLendon," said Hill. "The charge that we all have as we leave the shade, is to go out and plant another tree. We might not be able to go out and enjoy the shade, but someone will be able to enjoy it and that's how you make progress." The night closed with the presentation of the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Mentoring Award, given biennially to a deserving athletics administrator who has been at the forefront of creating opportunities for young minorities seeking to enter the field of athletics administration.
This year's recipient was Grant Teaff, Executive Director, American Football Coaches Association.
"My whole life has been predicated on trying to make a difference. If you could describe me in any way, I sincerely, deeply, passionately want to make a difference," said Teaff. "There is still too much too do. We've accomplished a lot, but we have a long way to go."
Some of Teaff's efforts include hiring the first full-time minority employee of the AFCA in 1995, Walter Abercrombie; helping establish the AFCA Minority Issues Committee and initiating the Trailblazer Award. Teaff had an outstanding coaching career with head coaching stints at McMurry, Angelo State and Baylor, placing him in eight halls of fame.
As executive director of the AFCA, Teaff continues to be involved in nearly every issue that affects college football and continues to be a strong spokesman for the game.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 47th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,300 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. For more information on NACDA and the 13 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.