ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City Soccer takes home the SPORTY for Team of the Year, while Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath wins Coach of the Year. Winning the USL Pro Championship in 2011, their first year in Orlando, Orlando City advanced to the USL Pro semifinals this season.
“Orlando City Soccer is delighted to accept the SPORTY awards for Team and Coach of the year. We are proud of Adrian Heath, the best coach in the league, as well as our players and front office staff that truly make us such a successful team on and off the field. Central Florida has made this a home for us, and we look forward to another championship season next year,” said Phil Rawlins, Owner and President of Orlando City Soccer Club.
A crowd of more than 350 of Central Florida’s sports elite were on hand to experience the SPORTYS @ Full Sail University, which took place on Saturday, September 22 at Full Sail Live. Hosted by the Central Florida Sports Commission, the event honored the top area teams, high school, collegiate and professional athletes, coaches, deserving local residents and businesses throughout Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties.
Other SPORTY winners were: High School Athlete of the Year – Alexis Prince, College Athlete of the Year – Octavious Freeman, Professional Athlete of the Year – Ryan Lochte, Business of the Year – Orlando Magic, Employee of the Year – Troy Willrick, Volunteer of the Year – Cathy Gahres, Media of the Year – Bright House Sports Network, and Rich DeVos Community Spirit Award – Florida Citrus Sports.
During the show, Vince Carter was inducted into the 2012 Class of the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame. Carter, born in Daytona Beach, was a high school McDonald’s All-American and was voted Florida’s 1995 Basketball Player of the Year. An eight (8) time NBA All-Star, Carter played 1 ½ seasons with the Orlando Magic. Current player with the Dallas Mavericks, Carter continues to support Central Florida through his Embassy of Hope Foundation which offers yearly scholarships as well as support to organizations serving the Central Florida Community.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of the 2012 Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame class,” said Vince Carter. “My mother, Michelle Carter-Scott, and my family have always been very supportive of me. Therefore, I have always believed that I would reach the goals that I set for myself. Above all, I thank God for all of the many blessings He has given me.”
Joining Carter in the 2012 Class of the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame are Jeff Turner and Annika Sorenstam. Turner, who played ten seasons in the NBA with the Nets and the Orlando Magic, currently serves as the head boys basketball coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School here in Orlando. Widely considered the greatest female golfer of all time, Sorenstam rewrote the record books by accumulating 89 worldwide victories. Sorenstam supports the Central Florida Community through the ANNIKA Foundation, which partners with several key organizations to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children.
“We are very excited to merge what is a great sports tradition in the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame, with the SPORTYS, to create a spectacular event featuring all that is great about Central Florida sports,” said John Bisignano, president of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the SPORTYS and our newest members of the Hall of Fame!”
The Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame is the continuation of a great regional sports tradition, where 83 other Central Floridians have been honored for their distinguished accomplishments within professional and amateur sports since 1981. The 2012 class joins past inductees including Arnold Palmer, Dot Richardson, Nick Anderson, Chris DiMarco and Chipper Jones, in a permanent display located on the terrace level of the Amway Center.
“The Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame inductions and the 2nd annual SPORTYS at Full Sail University have once again provided an inspirational and memorable evening for all in attendance,” said Josh Mora, Program Director for Sports Marketing and Media at Full Sail University. “Our congratulations go out to all of the nominees and award winners at this year’s ceremony.”
The SPORTYS will be broadcast on WFTV Channel 9 on Saturday, September 29th at 2pm and on WRDQ TV 27 on Sunday, September 30th at 5pm.
Also during the show, the Sports Commission, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, recognized all of its past presidents for their contributions to the organization and the community. Joanie Schirm: 1992-1993, Diane McGraw: 1994-1995, Randy Johnson: 1995-2006, John P. Saboor: 2006-2008, Sam Stark: 2008-2011.
About the Central Florida Sports Commission:
The Central Florida Sports Commission strategically solicits, creates and supports marquee sports-related events and businesses that enhance our community’s economy. The Sports Commission represents the counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia, as well as the City of Orlando. The Sports Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Central Florida including the Celebrity Mascot Games, the SPORTYS, Breakfast of Champions, Gridiron 5K Challenge and the Daytona Beach Half Marathon.