By Kyle Cottam
BYU had its very own taste of the ESPY”s and the Academy Awards during the first Y-Awards presentation Wednesday, April 7, 2004. The evening, which replaced the annual Athletic Awards Banquet, was an event to honor student athletes, coaches and citizens who excelled in scholastic, academic or service to the community and university.
Nominations for each award were collected from coaches and members of the athletic administration. Those nominations were narrowed down to three finalists by the athletic department”s Cougar Council, a student group comprised of athletes from each of BYU”s 21 athletic teams. Student athletes then voted for one of the three nominees to determine the winner of each award.
The night began with a reception in the Skyroom for all the nominees and presenters. Some of special guests at the event included LaVell Edwards, former BYU football star Chad Lewis, Elder Merrill J. Bateman, President Cecil O. Samuelson, Sheri Dew and former BYU and NBA basketball player Fred Roberts.
The women”s soccer team came away with the most awards, four, followed closely by the men”s volleyball and basketball teams with three. The first award of the night went to Claire Thomas, a freshman on the women”s soccer team who was awarded Rookie of the Year.
Aleisha Rose, a departing senior, also from the women”s soccer team, earned two awards during the course of the evening: Deseret Book Female Athlete of the Year and Lu Wallace Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award. Rose, who earned All-American honors each of her four years at BYU, said she was grateful for a second chance for an acceptance speech.
“I”m really happy that I am up here a second time because I really shot myself in the foot last time,” she said. Rose went on to thank her husband for all his support, something she forgot to do last time.
The women”s soccer team also won the award for Women”s Team of the Year after climbing the collegiate ranks and advancing to an unexpected birth in the elite eight. On the flip side, the men”s volleyball team came away with the Men”s Team of the Year award after posting 20 straight victories, a single season record for the Cougars.
The men”s volleyball team also had some individual winners. Fernando Pessoa was given the Ed Stein Outstanding Senior Male Athlete award; the award is the oldest recognition bestowed upon a BYU male athlete. Fellow teammate Carlos Moreno was named Male Crowd Pleaser and was named winner by the knitting lady (a BYU super fan) who had knitted Carlos” name into a scarf.
The Female Crowd Pleaser award went to Brogan Jacobsen, a member of the gymnastics team. In her acceptance speech she said she wasn”t sure that putting the shimmy, moonwalk and robot in a floor routine would be over the top – a routine that was scored a perfect 10.0 – but figured that the award was a representation that the crowd really did enjoy the performance.
Jacobsen”s coach, Brad Cattermole, was awarded Coach of the Year. When Patty and LaVell Edwards gave Cattermole the award after watching highlights of the team”s season, LaVell joked that coaching the gymnastics squad looked a lot more appealing than coaching football.
Bronco Mendenhall, the defensive coordinator for the football team, came away with Assistant Coach of the Year honors. Quarterback Todd Mortensen earned the Kimball Memorial Award. The award is given to the outstanding male or female athlete who letters at least twice and who has the highest scholarly achievement of those who qualify.
Rafael Araujo received the award for Male Athlete of the Year, but was unable to attend the event because of his participation in pre-draft workouts for the NBA.
Other members of the men”s basketball team also came away with some awards. When Mike Hall accepted the award for Play of the Year, he graciously thanked Air Force”s Nick Welch for being unable to stop his dunk. Hall”s teammate, Mark Bigelow, came away with the Dale McCann Spirit of Sport Award; an award given to the senior male athlete whose participation best exemplifies the true spirit of sport in athletics and life.
For the women, Sahara Castillo of the women”s volleyball team was given the Leona Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award. Another member of the women”s volleyball team, Ulia Crabbe, was awarded Walk-on of the Year.
Special awards were given to Don and Elaine Davis and Elder Bateman for their contributions to BYU athletics. The Davis”s were recognized as the Volunteers of the Year.
Elder Bateman was honored with the Dale Rex Memorial Award. The award is given annually to the individual thought by the Cougar Club to have contributed the most to amateur athletics in the State of Utah.
Track athlete Jeff Hopkinson won the Floyd Johnson Service Award and Lindsey Metcalf received the Cougar Club Memorial Award to round out the awards ceremony.