Feb. 20, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Women's award named in Pat Summitt's honor
Bookmark and Share  

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Dau Jok of the University of Pennsylvania and Dan Peters of the University of Akron as co-winners of the USBWA's Most Courageous Award for men's basketball and Kirsten Moore of NAIA Westmont College as the recipient of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award for women.

All three exemplify what the USBWA's courage award stands for: inspiration, hope and an undeniable spirit to persevere.

Jok, a senior guard at Penn, grew up in a world of violence in war-torn Southern Sudan, the son of a Sudanese army general who was murdered when Jok was 6.

Three years ago as a freshman at Penn, Jok established a foundation in his father's honor to educate Sudanese youth through sports.

Since then, Jok has been able to provide soccer balls and basketballs for kids in Sudan. One day he hopes there will be a secondary school, built with money from his foundation.

Jok has a goal to bring peace to his home country. He was named a recipient of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis 100 Projects for Peace award and received a $10,000 grant to help his cause to fight poverty and violence in Southern Sudan.

"I am optimistic because I think I am blessed with some of the resources at my disposal, whether it be human connection, people willing to help or having the solid foundation of people supporting me," Dau told the Penn Courant in 2011. "I think motivation, passion, (are) contagious. ... I have 1,000 reasons to smile rather than 100 reasons to be angry, so I have to keep that in perspective."

Peters, the Director of Basketball Operations for Akron and a 30-year veteran of the coaching profession, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a five percent chance to live.

Peters underwent surgery in December for a cancerous tumor in his pancreas but doctors were unable to remove it. Now, it seems as though the entire college landscape has rallied around him, hoping and praying for his survival.

During the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness weekend in January, 26 collegiate programs across the country, including Arizona, Indiana, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Akron, among others, wore lapel pins with the phrase "4 Pete's Sake" on them. Peters' story of support throughout the coaching community has helped create awareness for those battling pancreatic cancer.

"Whatever happens is OK," the 59-year old Peters told the Akron Beacon Journal. "I believe God has always taken care of me. I'm in his hands. As much as I would like to live, that may not be the option. I have no regrets. I'm going to try as hard as I can to fight this."

Moore's life changed forever two years ago. Happily married and coaching another successful team at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., Moore was eight months pregnant when in May 2012 her husband Alex, age 31, died of a pulmonary embolism following colon surgery.

Seven weeks later, a baby girl was born. Kirsten named her Alexis.

Kirsten feared what might happen for herself, her child and for her team if she didn't go on. So she continued to coach and the Warriors rallied around her, winning an NAIA women's national championship for the 2012-13 season and finishing with a record of 30-4.

"It's not just what I do, but who I am and how I can do some good in the world," Moore told a local television reporter. "I didn't care what the scoreboard said at the end of the (national championship). We were already champions. We had overcome. What I felt when we won was ... just a lot of love.

"Extraordinary love can accomplish extraordinary things."

Jok will receive his most courageous award at the USBWA's honors breakfast at this year's NCAA Men's Final Four in Dallas on Monday, April 7. Peters will be presented with his award at an Akron home game in March, while Moore will receive the Pat Summitt award prior to the semifinals of the women's Final Four on Sunday, April 6 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

The women's most courageous award is named in honor of the former Tennessee coach who received the award in 2012 after revealing she was suffering from early onset dementia.

The USBWA will make a contribution to a charity as selected by each award recipient.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

Related link:
Most Courageous Award