Feb. 23, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt baseball head coach Tim Corbin was named Middle Tennessee's 2011 Sports Person of the Year Wednesday at the 14th Annual Pepsi Celebration of Champions presented by Kroger. The ceremony, sponsored by the Nashville Sports Council, was staged at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Corbin, the veteran coach who guided the Commodores to their first College World Series appearance last spring during a 54-win campaign, earned the award over Vanderbilt football head coach James Franklin, Belmont men's basketball coach Rick Byrd, Indy car driver Dario Franchetti and Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
In other categories, former Vanderbilt ace hurler Sonny Gray, a resident of Smyrna, Tenn., captured the Ed Temple Male Amateur Athletics Award over two current Commodore student-athletes, men's basketball guard John Jenkins and tailback Zac Stacy, Middle Tennessee State golfer Brett Patterson and former Nashville prep basketball player Demonte Harper.
A former Commodore women's basketball standout, Jence Rhoads, also was a finalist for the Female Amateur Athletics Award.
Corbin became the fourth Vanderbilt personality to capture the Sports Person of the Year Award since it was initiated in 1998. Other Vanderbilt winners were football coach Bobby Johnson, 2008; PGA Tour golf star Brandt Snedeker, 2007; and quarterback Jay Cutler, 2005.
Corbin was recognized after leading the Commodores to their sixth straight NCAA appearance and a No. 3 national ranking in the final polls. The Commodores tied a school record with 54 wins and established a new mark for fewest losses (12).
Gray was Corbin's Friday night ace on the mound, finished the year with a 12-4 record and 2.43 ERA. Gray was eventually selected by the Oakland Athletics as the 18th overall pick of the Major League Baseball draft. He is currently in Phoenix, Ariz., participating in the A's spring camp.
Gray is the sixth Commodore student-athlete to receive the top amateur award. Others are Shan Foster, men's basketball, 2008; David Price, baseball, 2007; Earl Bennett, football, 2006; Jay Cutler, football, 2005; and Chantelle Anderson, women's basketball, 2002.
The event is Nashville's premier sports awards event honoring outstanding achievements in high school, collegiate, and professional sports by Middle Tennessee individuals, teams, and organizations, as voted on by the Nashville sports media, Nashville Sports Council membership and Kroger customers.