March 15, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Athletes for a Better World named Notre Dame baseball senior Tommy Chase a nominee for the 2012 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Thursday. The award recipients will be announced on Wednesday, April 25 in a ceremony held in the Egyptian Ballroom at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and their contributions to sport and society.
Pat Summitt, the esteemed University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols’ basketball coach, will be honored as the professional recipient. Coach Summitt has won more games than any other basketball coach in history, including a record eight NCAA Championships. More importantly, she is regarded as one of the finest role models in sports and has positively influenced countless athletes and young people.
Five collegiate finalists will be honored and recognized during the ceremony but only one will receive the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. The collegiate finalists include:
Tommy Chase – University of Notre Dame – Baseball
Aleca Hughes – Yale University – Ice Hockey
Roddy Jones – Georgia Tech – Football
Josh Nadzam – University of Kentucky – Track and Field
Cody Reichard – Miami University of Ohio – Ice Hockey
Chase not only serves as a Notre Dame baseball co-captain, a unanimous selection by his teammates, but also serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He donates an incredible amount of his time to numerous local, regional and even national community service projects.
Chase has spearhead the Fight for Tide program following the devastating tornadoes in near the University of Alabama campus. The trip took 24 Notre Dame student-athletes and six University administrators to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to work in collaboration with Project Team Up, an initiative to rebuild local Alabama communities partnered with Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban’s foundation – Nick’s Kids.
Chase heads up the Notre Dame Christian Athletes program. The group seeks to unite student-athletes of all Christian faiths. NDCA provides a safe space for students of any faith tradition to share, reflect and process their way of life as Christian student-athletes. The group uses several different methods to fulfill their purpose. He initially got involved with the NDCA as a sophomore in 2009-10 due to his desire to join a faith-based program. Chase has since served as the NDCA President during each of the last two calendar years (2010-11 and 2011-12).
Chase is extremely involved in South Bend’s LifeWorks Dream Team program. A “Dream Team” consists of about three to five Notre Dame student-athletes that engage third and fourth grade classrooms with interactive character development, based in goal setting, vocabulary enhancement, and real-life experiences. The program increases internal motivation of elementary students to strive for classroom success; encourages students toward academic, social and character growth; provides an effective connecting point for high-level college students into local classrooms; presents a simple, outsourced program for educators that requires no prep time on their part; offers a break in both teachers and students days while maintaining educational effectiveness.
Chase has also participated in the Adopt-a-Family, Buddy Walk, Habitat for Humanity, Irish Experience League, Pediatric Christmas Party, Play for Peace and Perley Elementary Tutor programs.
Chase is an acting member of two highly regarded Notre Dame student-athlete groups – the Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
Chase, one of 109 student-athletes representing 26 Irish athletic teams, has participated in the Rosenthal Leadership Academy for each of the last two years (2010-11 and 2011-12), which places him into the veteran leaders program. His group consists of a select 30 student-athletes and provides advanced leadership training and support, teaches the critical skills and insights necessary to be effective vocal leaders and provides a strong peer network. Chase and the other student-athletes meet five times a semester to learn and reinforce leadership principles and share successes, frustrations and lessons learned.
Chase is currently in his first year on the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) board. As one of the two baseball team captains, Chase was selected to participate in the 34-member group. The SAAC meets once a month for about two hours to discuss critical issues that affect the experiences of student-athletes. The topics include NCAA legislation, career opportunities, networking, hazing and healthy nutrition. The group initiates new programming ideas, participates in community service projects and acts as the student-athlete group liaison to athletic administration.
The SAAC promotes efficient communication between the Notre Dame Department of Athletics administration and the student-athlete population. The SAAC gives student-athletes an opportunity to effectively communicate with the athletic department staff while providing suggestions and feedback on programs/services designed to meet student-athlete needs. The SAAC provides and promotes service to fellow student-athletes, the University community and the greater community at large.
Chase also manages to carry a 3.581 grade-point average in the Mendoza College of Business as an accounting major – the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate business school.
Founded by Athletes for a Better World, a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is open to athletes in all collegiate and professional sports.
John Wooden, who won 10 national championships as basketball coach at UCLA, is regarded as the greatest college coach of all time. Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings in the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave permission for his name to be associated with the annual award and spoke at the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005.
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former University of Georgia athletic director, and include more than 100 distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.
The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is one of the most prestigious awards in sports. Previous professional recipients include Dikembe Mutombo, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Jaeger and Cal Ripken Jr.
About Athletes for a Better World: Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW’s vision is to have the code become a part of every sport at every level. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. ABW’s Code for Living can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.
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