You are here

2020 Silver Anniversary Award recipients named

Former college athletes to be recognized at NCAA Convention

Six former college athletes will receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of their collegiate and professional achievements.

The Silver Anniversary Award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Representatives of NCAA member schools and conferences, along with a panel of former student-athletes, select each year’s recipients.

The 2020 recipients are Carla Ainsworth, Stewart Cink, Darren Eales, Rebecca Lobo, Jenny Thompson  and Adam Vinatieri. The NCAA will recognize the honorees at the Honors Celebration during the 2020 NCAA Convention on Jan. 22 in Anaheim, California.

Dr. Carla Ainsworth

School: Kenyon
Majors: Chemistry, history
Sport: Swimming and diving

In four years of swimming competition at Kenyon, Carla Ainsworth won 26 NCAA Division III national titles and was the first woman in Division III history to win four consecutive titles in the 200-yard freestyle. She also won four consecutive titles in the 100-yard freestyle. She was a 28-time All-American and the first three-time NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year. Ainsworth set 15 Division III championship records. In conference competition, Ainsworth collected 15 championship titles and was twice named the North Coast Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year. Ainsworth, who double majored in chemistry and history while captaining the swim team, earned four Academic All-America honors, and after graduation received an NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. She went on to earn her medical doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis and later completed a master’s degree in public health with a focus on maternal and child health at California. Ainsworth is a family physician with additional certification in geriatrics, as well as hospice and palliative medicine. A former chief of the department of family medicine at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Ainsworth is a practice medical director for Iora Primary Care, where she focuses on comprehensive primary care for older adults, and a clinical faculty member at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Ainsworth currently serves on the boards of directors for the Washington Academy of Family Physicians Foundation and the King County Academy of Family Physicians, where she works to transform health care by promoting the ideals of family medicine.

Stewart Cink

School: Georgia Tech
Major: Management
Sport: Men’s golf

Former Georgia Tech golfer Stewart Cink was a three-time All-American. In 1995, Cink received three major awards: the Fred Haskins Player of the Year, presented to the top collegiate golfer in the United States; the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year, awarded to the top player in each division; and the Dave Williams Award, which recognizes the top national player of the year. Cink holds the record for most events played in a season (tied with Mikko Rantanen at 15). He won five titles in college, including four during his senior season, and led Georgia Tech to three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and one runner-up finish. In 1995, after earning a degree in management and collecting two academic all-conference accolades, Cink turned pro and has competed in more than 500 PGA tour events. Cink has won multiple tournaments, including the 2009 British Open, when he made a birdie on the final hole of regulation and then beat Tom Watson in a four-hole playoff. He represented the United States 11 times in international competition: five times with the Ryder Cup team, four times with the Presidents Cup team and twice with the World Cup team. Cink and his wife, Lisa, created Cink Charities, which hosts multiple events and benefits the Gwinnett Medical Center NICU and Breast Cancer Center, as well as Obria Medical Clinics of Georgia. In 2019, Cink was the professional recipient of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, and in 2017 he was recognized with the Payne Stewart Award for his philanthropic endeavors, commitment to growing the game, professionalism and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the sport.

Darren Eales

School: Brown
Major: Economics
Sport: Men’s soccer

Darren Eales, a former men’s soccer player at Brown, was the 1994 Ivy League Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring and carrying his team to its first conference championship in 18 years. Eales was recognized that year as a First-Team All-American and earned Academic All-America honors. The economics major played professional soccer in the U.S. for several years. He earned a master’s degree in law at Cambridge University in 2000 and practiced for six years as a barrister in England before moving on to executive positions in professional sports. He joined West Bromwich Albion Football Club as in-house counsel, director and club secretary. He then became executive director at the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur. In 2014, Eales accepted the position as president of Atlanta United. The MLS expansion team launched in 2017 and has since broken multiple attendance and on-field records, as well as winning its first MLS Cup in 2018. It is now ranked in the top 10 soccer clubs globally in average attendance. Eales established giving back to the community as a core pillar for the franchise. The Atlanta United Foundation has given more than $2 million to local youth soccer organizations to date. Eales was closely involved in the successful North American bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and was twice named MLS Executive of the Year, as well as Best Executive at the World Football Summit in 2019.

Rebecca Lobo

School: UConn
Major: Political science
Sport: Women’s basketball

Former UConn women’s basketball standout Rebecca Lobo led the Huskies to their first undefeated season and NCAA national championship (1995) and was recognized as the 1995 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. The two-year team captain and two-time Big East Conference Player of the Year also was a two-time consensus All-American. Lobo earned unanimous 1995 Player of the Year accolades, including the Wade and Naismith trophies, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Associated Press Player of the Year awards, and the Honda Sports Award. She was named the 1995 AP Female Athlete of the Year, won the ESPY Award for Outstanding Female Athlete, earned Academic All-America of the Year honors and was then named the NCAA Woman of the Year. Lobo went on to play professionally in the WNBA from the league’s inception in 1997 through 2003. In 1996, she helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. Lobo, whose number was the first to be retired at UConn, has served on the UConn board of trustees since 2004. She co-founded the RuthAnn and Rebecca Lobo Scholarship in allied health at UConn and remains involved with the Connecticut Sports Foundation, the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative and the Get in Touch Foundation. Lobo currently works as on-air talent at ESPN, where she covers women’s basketball at all levels, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four each year.

Dr. Jenny Thompson

School: Stanford
Major: Human biology
Sports: Swimming and diving

Jenny Thompson was a 26-time All-American and 19-time NCAA champion in swimming at Stanford, winning 10 titles as a member of a relay team and nine individual titles. She won the 100-yard freestyle all four years of competition, the 50 freestyle twice (1992, 1993), the 100 butterfly twice (1994, 1995) and the 200 individual medley (1995). Thompson is also a four-time Olympian who earned 12 medals: two gold and one silver at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona; three gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta; three gold and one bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney; and two silver at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She won more Olympic medals than any other female in history and won 85 medals in international competition. In addition, she set a world record in the 100-meter freestyle that stood for two years and set multiple world records in the 100-meter butterfly. In 1998, Thompson was recognized as the Swimming World Magazine Female World Swimmer of the Year. After retiring from swimming, Thompson earned her medical degree in 2006 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital before completing her fellowship training at Children’s Hospital of Boston. Thompson is now an anesthesiologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. She also is an active participant in Swim Across America, a nonprofit organization that hosts benefit swims to raise money for lifesaving cancer research and clinical trials.

Adam Vinatieri

School: South Dakota State
Major: Health, physical education and recreation
Sports: Football

Adam Vinatieri, former kicker for South Dakota State’s football team, set five school records in placekicking, including career marks for field goals, points after touchdown, points by a kicker and longest field goal, as well as the single-season record in average yards per punt. He was a three-time selection for the all-North Central Conference team and earned Division II All-America honors in 1994. In 1996, Vinatieri signed with the New England Patriots, where he played through the 2005 season and won three Super Bowls. He became the first kicker to be a deciding factor in two Super Bowl victories. Vinatieri then signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 — where he went on to win another Super Bowl that season. Continuing to play with the Colts, the 2019 season was his 24th in the NFL. A three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, Vinatieri holds the current NFL career postseason records of 56 field goals and 238 points. He is also the league’s all-time leading scorer and holds the NFL records for career field goals and career 100-point seasons. Off the gridiron, Vinatieri has been an active supporter of the Arthritis Foundation and children battling arthritis, donating autographed items for fundraising and providing scholarships to families to attend a camp. In 2017, Vinatieri received the Sagamore of the Wabash, one of Indiana’s highest honors, in recognition of his work in the community and on the football field.