The Seattle Sports Commission Monday announced the recipients of five special awards at the 77th Annual Sports Star of the Year program, presented by ROOT Sports Jan. 25 at Benaroya Hall. Each of the candidates were selected by the Sports Star Committee.
Keith Jackson Award: Bob Robertson, WSU football — This award is presented to a member of the media for excellence in communicating the sports stories of Washington.
At 82, Robertson has been the voice of Cougar football for 44 years. His sports broadcasting career spans six decades with teams throughout the state of Washington.
In addition to Robertson’s long association with Washington State, he spent 25 years calling Pacific Coast League baseball games in Seattle and Tacoma; broadcast professional soccer in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland; and served as a television sports anchor in the Seattle market for 25 years. Robertson’s signature line: “Always be a good sport, be a good sport all ways.”
Sports Executive of the Year: Gary Wright, Seattle Sounders FC — This award is given to an individual for contributions to the success of the regional sports industry. Wright helped launch two Seattle sports franchises.
An original employee of the Seahawks, Wright was the team’s vice president of administration when he left in 2008 to become the Sounders’ senior VP of business operations.
Wright currently oversees all business operations for the Sounders, including ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, community outreach, charities and communications.
Prior to joining the Seahawks, Wright served as publicity director of the California Sun of the World Football League. Upon his retirement from the Seahawks, the team named the press box at the football stadium in his honor.
Sports Citizen of the Year: Detlef Schrempf, UW basketball/Seattle SuperSonics — The Sports Citizen of the Year is given to an individual who has made a significant or compelling contribution to the local community.
Schrempf, who starred for the Huskies and Sonics, started his namesake foundation in 1996. Since then, the Detlef Schrempf Foundation has raised more than $9 million for Northwest charities.
Schrempf was an All-Pac-10 guard/forward under Marv Harshman (1975 Man of the Year) in the early 1980s, then embarked upon an NBA career that took him to Dallas, Indiana, Seattle and Portland.
Schrempf played in three NBA All-Star games and retired following the 2000-01 season.
Royal Brougham Legend Award: Bob Houbregs, UW Basketball — Introduced at the 75th Sports Star of the Year banquet two years ago, this award is given to an individual for a lifetime of achievement in sports.
A 6-foot-7 hook shot specialist, Houbregs led the UW to its only Final Four appearance in 1953, when he was named the NCAA Player of the Year. Houbregs averaged 38.4 points per game in the 1953 NCAA Tournament.
Houbregs played five years in the NBA with three teams from 1953-58. Houbregs entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, and was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
He is also a member of the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame and Husky Hall of Fame.
Seattle Children’s Inspirational Youth Award: Jake Finkbonner, Assumption Catholic School — This award is given to an inspirational student who has overcome major medical obstacles and returned to the sport he/she loves.
The Ferndale youth nearly died when he was five years old, his face ravaged by flesh-eating bacteria.
Now 11, after years of recovery, “his indomitable spirit is an inspiration to all,” according to the Seattle Sports Commission.
Awards for Professional, Male, Female and Sports Story of the Year will be announced during the Jan. 25 show at BenaroyaHall. Sports fans can vote for nominees through Friday at seattlesports.org/sportsstar.
Tickets to the Sports Star event, created the late Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Royal Brougham in 1936, cost $75 (includes the pre-show reception). Show-only tickets run $35, and may be purchased at the Benaroya Hall Box Office, at benaroyahall.org, or by calling 206-215-4747.