Longtime friend, supporter, board member, and founder of the Heath Shuler Foundation has been known for many things – husband, father, college and NFL gridiron star, entrepreneur, businessman, coach, congressman, community leader, and philanthropist.
And now as the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards given in the world of sports – the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.
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, conferences and past awardees select the recipients each year.
The 2019 honorees joining Heath are Tim Cullen, Mia Hamm, David Hirsch, Lisa Leslie, and Jason Varitek.
The NCAA recognized the recipients on January 23 at the Honors Celebration during the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.
The Silver Anniversary Awards are given each year by the American National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) to recognize six distinguished former student-athleteson their 25th anniversary as college graduates. The Silver Anniversary Awards were first given in 1973, when five distinguished former student-athletes were honored. In 1986, the number of annual honorees was increased to six.
In order to be eligible, the nominee must be a college graduate and a varsity letter-winner at an NCAA member institution and must have achieved personal distinction since his or her graduation.
Former recipients of the Silver Anniversary Awards include Troy Aikman, Dara Torres, Gail Devers, Chad Hennings, David Robinson,Joe Girardi, Bo Jackson, Doug Flutie, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Steve Young,Mike Singletary, Mark Johnson,John Naber, Steve Largent, Archie Griffin, Bill Walton, Sally Ride, Jack Youngblood, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Ryun, and Dick Butkus.
“This is a tremendous honor for Heath, his family and for all of western North Carolina. His leadership and community service is second to none. Through the work of the Heath Shuler Foundation tens of thousands of families have been assisted in their times of need including nearly 13,000 meals distributed thorough the Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving program with Ingles, Duke Energy, Friday Staffing, iheart Media-Asheville, and Eblen Charities,” says Bill Murdock, executive director of Eblen Charities.