Nashville Predators Chairman David Freeman was honored with the Community Spirit Award at the Nashville Sports Council's O'Charley's Dinner of Champions. The Community Spirit Award is presented to "an individual or corporation for their leadership in promoting sports in Middle Tennessee."
From the event's program:
"In the summer of 2007, local investors formed a group to purchase the Nashville Predators. David Freeman led the group to keep the team in Nashville, and by December the local ownership deal was complete, with Predators Holding, LLC, taking over the day-to-day operations of the team. Freeman now serves as charmain and governor of the group."
"Freeman and the local ownership group have set a goal to increase the community's involvement with the Predators; one change fans have noticed immediately is the recognition of Middle Tennessee high school state championship teams on the ice during games."
"Prior to his involvement with the Nashville Predators, Freeman was president and CEO of the company he founded, 36 Venture Capital. Freeman is a Knoxville native and a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Law."
Nashville Sports Council's Press Release
10th ANNUAL O’CHARLEY’S DINNER OF CHAMPIONS HONORS THE BEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE SPORTSNashville, Tenn. March 12, 2008
- The Nashville Sports Council tonight honored the best in Middle Tennessee sports at the 10th Annual O’Charley’s Dinner of Champions.
Award recipients were honored at the event attended by more than 800 people at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. “We applaud all of the nominees and award winners for their good sportsmanship, outstanding achievements and for being a part of Middle Tennessee’s defining sports moments in 2007,” said Gregory L. Burns, chairman and chief executive officer, O’Charley’s Inc.
PGA Tour rookie sensation Brandt Snedeker won Sports Person of the Year. Snedeker was named the 2007 Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour and became the 15th rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship, finishing 20th overall in the final FedEx Cup standings.
David Price was named the Amateur Athlete of the Year. Price completed his final year at Vanderbilt in 2007, piling up numerous school records along the way. He was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and SEC Male Athlete of the Year after posting an 11-1 record with a 2.63 ERA on his way to being the first overall pick in Major League Baseball by the Tampa Bay Rays.
In a heartfelt moment, Siegel High School Basketball center Neal Carroll was presented with the Kaia Jergenson Courage Award. Carroll’s life took an unlikely turn when he suffered a stroke in 2004. He received a heart transplant in 2006 and was medically cleared to return to basketball at the beginning of the 2006-07 season.
Butch McCord was the recipient of the Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. McCord spent 14 years playing professional baseball, in both the Negro Leagues and Minor Leagues. During his 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues he won two batting titles, two Silver Gloves and three pennants. Today, he serves on the board of Nashville RBI, where he works hard to encourage inner-city kids to play baseball.
The Community Spirit Award was awarded to David Freeman, chairman and governor of Predators Holding, LLC. In 2007, Freeman led a group of local investors who joined forces to keep the Nashville Predators in Nashville. The ownership deal was completed in December of 2007. The group has set a goal to increase the community’s involvement with the Predators; one change fans have noticed immediately is the recognition of Middle Tennessee high school state championship teams on the ice during games.
The High School Athletics Award was presented to Smyrna High School football and baseball star Sonny Gray. In 2007, Gray was a member of the state championship football team and the baseball team that made it to the state tournament for the first time since 1987. Both state championships were the first in school history. On the diamond, Gray had a 0.78 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 72 innings as a pitcher and hit for an average of .474 with 9 home runs and 42 RBI. Gray will attend Vanderbilt and play baseball.
Goodpasture Girl’s Softball was awarded the High School Team Athletics Award. Goodpasture made its 11th trip to the state finals in 14 years and came away with the team’s fifth consecutive state championship. Goodpasture finished the season with a 38-14 record.
The inaugural Sergeant York Trophy was presented to Tennessee State University. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the quadrangular season football series between the four Ohio Valley Conference schools located in Tennessee: Austin Peay State University; University of Tennessee at Martin; Tennessee State University; and Tennessee Technological University.
The Top Ten Sports Moments of 2007 were also unveiled during tonight’s event. The #1 Moment was when Brandt Snedeker, the PGA Rookie not only won the first tournament of his short career but did so with a 9-under par 63. In 29 events, Snedeker has 13 Top 25 finishes with 6 being Top 10 finishes. He was also named PGA Rookie of the Year.
Art Staehling was awarded the Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Sports Council. Mr. Staehling has volunteered and been a fixture during Nashville Sports Council events for close to a decade. Mr. Staehling cites the Country Music Marathon and ½ Marathon as his favorite event volunteering his time for.
As part of the Good Sports Program, the Nashville Sports Council Foundation awarded two $2,500 scholarships, one to Sloane Fry and the other to Michael Yokosuk, both from Donelson Christian Academy. The two were awarded scholarships for their athletic, academic, and community achievements.
The O’Charley’s Dinner of Champions was created in 1999 and is Nashville’s premier sports awards event saluting amateur and professional sports in Middle Tennessee.
The Nashville Sports Council is a private, non-profit, membership-based organization of area corporations and individual sports enthusiasts. Created in 1992, the Nashville Sports Council’s mission is to positively impact the economy and quality of life of the Greater Nashville Area by attracting and promoting professional and amateur sporting events. The Nashville Sports Council has hosted more than 100 events that have produced nearly $300 million in direct economic impact and is The Driving Force of Sports in Nashville. For more information, call 615.743.3120 or visit NashvilleSports.com.