The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame handed out four Director’s Awards for outstanding sports achievements on Tuesday for range of successes -- from championships at the highest level of sport to decades of leadership.
Winners will be honored along with the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 inductees on Feb. 26 at the Anchorage Museum. The winners:
• Joe Floyd Award for significant, lasting contributions to Alaska through sports: Don Dennis took over as general manager of the Alaska Goldpanners of the Alaska Baseball League in 1967 and helped the club become the most successful team in amateur baseball history. Now the team’s chief operating officer, Dennis has guided the Goldpanners for 50 years.
• Trajan Langdon Award for leadership, sportsmanship and inspiration: Paul Tandy: As a sophomore at West Anchorage High School, Tandy decided to join the wrestling team during the 2011-12 school year despite the challenge of being blind. A 4.0 student in the classroom, Tandy progressed quickly from novice to a respected competitor, ultimately winning five matches during his first season.
• Pride of Alaska Award (female) for consistent competitive excellence: Nunaka Valley Girls Softball Team: The team won the first-ever World Series crown by an Alaska team of any age group or gender. After finishing fourth in the 2011 World Series, many of the 12 to 14-year-old players returned to claim the world championship with a 6-2 win over a team from Victoria, British Columbia.
• Pride of Alaska Award (male): Mario Chalmers: Chalmers became the first Alaskan to win an NBA Championship in 2012. As a starter for the Miami Heat, Chalmers was a steady contributor throughout the season but saved his biggest moments for the biggest games, including Game 4 of the Finals when Chalmers scored 25 points and sealed the game with a last-minute basket. That championship gave Chalmers a rare title trio -- including a high school crown when he played for Anchorage's Bartlett High School and an NCAA championship at the University of Kansas.