Hannah Storm Receives Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award
Stars from the worlds of broadcasting, sports, and literature join Marist alumni and friends at NYC gala to celebrate Storm and support the College's Center for Sports Communication
NEW YORK CITY – ESPN legend Bob Ley, tennis great Patrick McEnroe, and best-selling author and screenwriter Nicholas Sparks were among those who turned out recently to honor Hannah Storm as Marist President David Yellen presented her with the Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication award at New York City's Edison Ballroom.
The award recognizes individuals who have exemplified excellence over time in the broadly-defined field of sports communication, recognizing the social value and importance of sport and those that cover, analyze, narrate, and otherwise bring us our national pastimes. The inaugural award was presented in 2015 to Bryant Gumbel.
But, as Dr. Keith Strudler, director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, said in kicking off the evening's program, "The Lifetime Excellence Award in Sports Communication isn’t really defined by the boilerplate language in the program." Rather, Strudler, said, it is defined by its recipients. And by that litmus, Hannah’s gracious acceptance of this honor has helped further define the award by its namesake. One of true Lifetime Excellence."
Storm's family, friends, and colleagues took to the stage to share humorous and heartfelt stories about her career and her impact on the industry as a trailblazing woman in what, particularly early in her career, was a field dominated by men. NBC Sports broadcaster and Storm’s husband Dan Hicks led off the dais, while Storm’s father and former American Basketball Associate Commissioner Mike Storen closed the evening, telling the audience that his greatest legacy would be as Hannah Storm’s father. In between, other speakers included former NBA Commissioner David Stern, ESPN host and reporter Wendi Nix, and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Lisa Kerney, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, where she praised Storm for being a consummate professional, a role model, a friend, and an advocate.
"Hannah is one of the most generous and genuine people that I know” and “the woman who’s continued to redefine success in this crazy business” – ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Lisa Kerney
Several others noted the importance of promoting research and education in the field of sports communication, allowing Marist to prepare the next generation of sports broadcasters to follow in Storm’s footsteps. According to Strudler, many of the speakers' remarks sent a strong message about the importance of education in the competitive world of sports media.
“Not only were all the speakers excellent and memorable, as would be expected, but they also stress the importance of the kind of work that happens at the Center for Sports Communication, offering students exceptional learning opportunities in and out of the classroom,” he said. “There is no greater ambassador for that message than our worthy award recipient, Hannah Storm.”
Storm has long been recognized for the quality and range of her work, including coverage of major stars – LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Roger Goodell, and many others – and events, like the Super Bowl, Wimbledon, and the NBA Playoffs. She has spent the past decade at ESPN, where she hosts SportsCenter’s Face to Face with Hannah Storm, a newsmaker interview-driven show, weekdays at 10 a.m., and SportsCenter Sunday Morning during the NFL season. She also hosts Face to Face interview specials, which have aired on ESPN and ABC since 2012. In addition to SportsCenter, she covers major news events for ESPN such as Major League Baseball’s visit to Cuba, the funeral of Muhammad Ali, and the 2016 Olympics. She is also an author and the founder of the Hannah Storm foundation, which supports children and parents of children suffering from debilitating vascular birthmarks and provides scholarships for journalism students at her alma mater, Notre Dame.
Tennis great and commentator Patrick McEnroe; SportsCenter Anchor and emcee Lisa Kerney; NBC sportscaster and Storms husband, Dan Hicks; and former ABA Commissioner and Storm's father, Mike Storen
“When she sees the kids that she’s helped, she sees the energy, and the look on the face is priceless.” – NBC sportscaster and Hannah's husband, Dan Hicks, on Hannah's work with her foundation, which helps children with vascular birthmarks
ESPN's longest-serving commentator, Bob Ley; ESPN host and reporter Wendi Nix; best-selling author and screenwriter Nicholas Sparks; and former NBA Commissioner David Stern
"With all the things you had accomplished in your career, working on major events, the NBA, the Morning Show, Grand Slam tennis events, all the things you'd done at NBC, CBS – but you made it clear that every time the red light went on, you had to prove yourself." – ESPN's Bob Ley
The event was attended and sponsored by many friends of the college as well as other top organizations in the sports and media industry. Event sponsors include the NBA; ESPN; Bond, Schoeneck & King Attorneys; 1-800-Flowers.com; The Pike Company, Daniel O'Connell's Sons Construction; Agua Brands; J.W. Hulme Co.; William Gottlieb Real Estate; The James J. McCann Charitable Trust; Apple Montessori Schools; BSN Sports; Hickey-Finn & Company, Inc.; JTR Transportation; and the Marist Red Fox Club. Proceeds from the event will support the Center for Sports Communication's endowment, which provides much-needed shcolarships, cutting-edge research, and student programming throughout the year.
In addition to the prestigious group of speakers on the dais, several stars sent their best wishes to Storm through video. A video from legendary NBC sportscaster Bob Costas began the evening. In it, he said that when Storm "broke into the business, women in prominent sportscasting positions were still relatively rare, and added that, "She's done so many things so well and done it while simultaneously upholding the best standards of the profession."
In a video from ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, hosts of The Six, Hill called Storm "an elite broadcaster, whose journalistic integrity, passion for news, and storytelling has become the gold standard at ESPN and elsewhere in our business."
Finally, in his video salute from Los Angeles, ESPN commentator LZ Granderson said of Hannah that "the work that you continue to do, whether it's in tennis or breaking some of the biggest sports stories that there are to break -- having your voice, having your presence in that whole universe of sports journalism continues to be very important."
Storm graciously accepted the award from Marist President David Yellen, and she also spoke of the importance of ethics and education. According to Storm, her strong educational background at Notre Dame gave her preparation for her life and career; she noted that she was thrilled to support Marist in offering students a critical and ethical grounded education.
"I wanted to be here to support you and your efforts," Storm said, "because I believe in what you're doing."
About The Marist College Center for Sports Communication
Founded in 2011, the Marist College Center for Sports Communication is a global leader in the study of and practice in sports communication, helping to prepare an enlightened and engaged group of future leaders in one of society’s most far-reaching disciplines. The center serves a variety of audiences through the creation of important external partnerships, research and creative activity, production of professional sports media, presentations by leaders in the field, instruction and curricular development, and community service.
Since its inception, the Center for Sports Communication has achieved national and international recognition of its activities, helping to extend the reputation of the College and providing unique educational experiences for Marist students. Marist student interns provide industry-standard support for the Center’s work under the guidance of dedicated faculty, allowing students unparalleled opportunities and access. Some Center successes include creating and hosting a weekly sports show called "The Classroom" on a commercial radio network, partnering with both the Marist Poll and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on sports-related survey research, building a unique Speaker Series that brings top leaders in the field to campus, earning the distinction of academic partner to the industry-leading Sports PR Summit, and supporting the launch of a certificate in global sports communication at Marist’s campus in Florence, Italy.