Theodore Roosevelt Award

2021 Theodore Roosevelt Award: John McLendon

History won’t forget legendary basketball coach John McLendon, who will be posthumously honored as the 2021 Theodore Roosevelt Award recipient during the NCAA Convention in January.

2020 Theodore Roosevelt Award: Bob Delaney

Former undercover policeman has spent his life supporting post-trauma survivors throughout his accomplished career as a highly decorated New Jersey state trooper and respected NBA referee and executive.

2019 Theodore Roosevelt Award: Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr.

The single most important lesson Caslen took away from Army West Point was taught on the football field.

2018 Theodore Roosevelt Award: Capt. Barry “Butch” Wilmore

A typical day at the office carries a slightly different meaning for NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore.

2017 Theodore Roosevelt Award: Beth Brooke-Marciniak

Making a difference, particularly through inclusive leadership, is what drives Beth Brooke-Marciniak.

Mannie Jackson: 2015 Theodore Roosevelt Award Honoree

Born in a boxcar, Jackson’s talent on and off the court led him to the highest levels of the game, the board room, and now the NCAA. Jackson attributes much of his success to his experiences at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and is now giving back to his alma mater in a unique way.

May 2 Deadline Approaching for 2015 NCAA Honors Nominations

Top award winners to be recognized in January at Association’s Convention.

Nominations now open for 2015 NCAA Honors awards

NCAA member schools are invited to nominate current and former student-athletes for the 2015 Theodore Roosevelt Award , Silver Anniversary Award , Award of Valor and Inspiration Award . The awards recognize current and former student-...

Billy Mills speaks after being presented the Theodore Roosevelt Award.
NCAA celebrates inspiring honorees


From recent student-athletes who exemplified excellence both on the field and in the classroom to a renowned former runner at Kansas who overcame poverty and racism to become an inspirational Olympian, 19 individuals were celebrated Friday night at the NCAA Honors Celebration.

The Theodore Roosevelt Award was presented to Billy Mills, a Native American who spent his early years on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota before earning an athletics scholarship to the University of Kansas. Mills went on to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympic Games, serve in the military, become a successful businessman and co-found a nonprofit organization that serves Native American youth.

The award is named after the former U.S. president whose concern for the conduct of college athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906. The award is given annually to an individual for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being afterward have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.“I am humbled to be considered a colleague of tonight’s honorees,” Mills said while accepting the Theodore Roosevelt Award. “Your sports performances have inspired many. But when I sat and listened and watched your passion for humanitarian deeds, I was taken on a journey, a powerful journey, to the center of my soul.”

 “Sport helped me in so many ways,” Mills said. “As a young person, sport helped me meet the winds of change that continue to occur in our rapidly changing world. It helped me take advantage of opportunities that ultimately await all of us. I was fortunate to have great leaders, great coaches, great teachers and mentors throughout my sports career.”

Other awards presented Friday recognized Today’s Top 10, given to 10 student-athletes who completed their athletics eligibility in the 2012-13 academic year to salute their excellence both in and out of their respective fields of play.

Additionally, the Award of Valor was given to Cameron Lyle, a New Hampshire track and field student-athlete (discus, shot put, hammer and weight throw) who donated bone marrow to a complete stranger. Jason Church, a former football player at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who joined the Army and lost his legs below the knee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan, received the Inspiration Award.The Silver Anniversary Award was given to six individuals who are 25 years removed from completing their college athletics eligibility and have gone on to notable accomplishments in their careers.

Theodore Roosevelt Award

The “Teddy” is the highest honor the NCAA may confer on an individual.  It is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, whose concern for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906.

Award Criteria

The “Teddy” is presented annually to a distinguished citizen of national reputation and outstanding accomplishment. To be eligible the recipient must have graduated from an NCAA member institution and earned a varsity athletics award, or participated in competitive intercollegiate athletics. Furthermore, the awardee, by personal example and contributions to society, exemplifies the ideals to which collegiate athletics programs and amateur sports competition are dedicated.

Nominations from Member Institutions

All NCAA member institutions are encouraged to nominate individuals for this award. The selection of the Theodore Roosevelt Award recipient is made by the NCAA Honors Committee in June.

Nominees need not be alumni of your institution.  A current employee of an athletics department at an NCAA member institution, or of a member athletics conference office or the NCAA national office, or anyone who has been so employed within the last three years, is not eligible for the award. Nominations submitted the past three years are included automatically among the candidates for the current year's award.

  • Nominations are submitted through the NCAA Program Hub. (Nominations will be accepted March 22 to April 28, 2021.)

Contact Information:

Melody Lawrence
NCAA Honors Program
Phone:  317-917-6387



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