Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter will receive the Community Spirit Award at the Atlanta Sports Awards on March 5.
The Community Spirit Award is given to “an individual who has made a positive impact on the sports world and within his or her community throughout their respective career.”
Hunter led the Panthers to a 22-12 record in his first season. He has twice taken his Georgia State teams on trips to Africa to work with the charity Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that provides shoes and socks to people around the world. Hunter has been involved with the organization for several years.
The Atlanta Sports Awards will be held at the Fox Theatre on March 5. It was previously announced that former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition, West Forsyth’s Jacob Wieczorek and North Springs Charter’s Tori Weprinsky were named High School Scholar Athletes of the Year.
Other potential winners are:
Coach of the Year
• Keith Maloof, Norcross High School football: He led his team to a 21-14 victory over Lovejoy for the Class AAAAAA championship.
• Mark Richt, Georgia football: He led the Bulldogs to the SEC championship game for the second consecutive year. Richt was a finalist for this award last year.
• Mike Smith, Falcons: He led the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.
Collegiate Athlete of the Year
• Kat Ding, Georgia women’s gymnastics: She was the NCAA champion on bars and floor and finished second in all-around competition.
• Sasha Goodlett, Georgia Tech women’s basketball: She led the Yellow Jackets to school bests in overall wins (26) and ACC wins (12).
• Jarvis Jones, Georgia football: He set a new school single-season record with 14.5 sacks. Jones won this award last year.
High School Athlete of the Year
• Alvin Kamara, Norcross High School football: He ran for 2,264 yards and 13 touchdowns this year.
• Carl Lawson, Milton High School football: He had 26.5 sacks, 82 tackles and 36 tackles for loss.
• Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson High School football: He had 46 tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for loss. He won this award last year.
Professional Athlete of the Year
• Tony Gonzalez, Falcons: He had 107 receptions for 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the first tight end in NFL history with 100 receiving touchdowns.
• Craig Kimbrel, Braves: The All-Star led the National League with 42 saves. He won this award last year.
• Matt Ryan, Falcons: The Pro Bowler passed for 5,365 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Team of the Year
- Falcons: Atlanta opened the season with eight consecutive wins to finish 13-3 after the loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.
- Norcross High School football: The Blue Devils won a state title to cap a 15-0 season.
- Georgia football: The Bulldogs defeated Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl.
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