Former SEC Athletes Named Sullivan Award Finalists
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 20, 2021)-----Three former Southeastern Conference standouts have been named finalists for the Amateur Athletic Union James E. Sullivan Award, it was announced Wednesday.
Former Florida swimmer Caeleb Dressel, former Arkansas pitcher Kevin Kopps and former Texas A&M track athlete Athing Mu were named three of the five finalists for the award. US Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and water poloist Maddie Musselman were also named finalists.
The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is presented annually to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S. and aims to recognize athletes who demonstrate qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Dressel is a two-time Olympian who won five of his seven career gold medals in Tokyo this past summer. He was a 28-time All-America swimmer for the Gators and a 10-time NCAA champion from 2015-18. He was named the 2017-2018 Roy F. Kramer SEC Male Athlete of the Year.
Kopps finished the 2021 season with a 12-1 record, 11 saves and a nation-best 0.90 ERA. Kopps was named winner of the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy in addition to being named SEC Pitcher of the Year and National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and D1Baseball.
Mu ran an American 800m record time of 1:55.21 to become the first American female to win Olympic gold in 53 years. She set six all-time collegiate records for the Aggies this past track and field season to go along with three SEC titles and three NCAA titles.
The 2021 AAU James E. Sullivan Award winner will be announced Friday at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla., with a special recognition for all finalists during the halftime of Orlando Magic's home opener against the New York Knicks. This year's event will be hosted by 1981 AAU Sullivan Award winner Carl Lewis.