When the Dapper Dan Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards are presented on February 6th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, there is a decent chance that the winner will have some type of Penn State connection.
Bill O’Brien is one of the six nominees for Sportsman of the Year along with Pitt Panthers defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and Steelers tight end Heath Miller.
Taylor Schram, a junior on the Women’s Soccer team from Canonsburg, PA is one of the nominees with Penn State ties for the Sportswoman of the Year award along with Christa Harmotto, a former middle hitter and national champion on the Women’s Volleyball team, who now plays for the U.S. Women’s National team. The two other nominees are WNBA star Swin Cash and Olympic diver Cassidy Krug.
These awards are certainly not strangers to Penn Staters of the past. Joe Paterno won it in 1982 and 1998 while former football players Dick Hoak and Franco Harris took home the honors in 1968 and 1977 respectively. In terms of the women, former Lady Lion basketball players Suzie McConnell-Serio and Kelly Mazzante were recipients in 1999 and 2003 respectively. The 2009 Women’s Volleyball team that came back to defeat Texas in the finals in five sets also won the award.
Fan voting, open until noon on Friday, will play a part in selecting the winners. The link to vote can be found here. To learn more about the Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, click here.