“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
IMPACT Foundation Board Member Ann Meyers-Drysdale To Be Honored as 2014 Dick Enberg Award Recipient
- Updated: March 7, 2014
Ann Meyers-Drysdale, a pioneer in women’s athletics who took her first steps towards the Naismith Hall of Fame during a stellar career at UCLA, will be honored as the recipient of the 2014 Dick Enberg Award, which is presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Meyers-Drysdale, who currently serves as vice president for both the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and NBA’s Phoenix Suns, will receive the award as part of the fifth annual Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame Ceremony on Monday, June 9th at CoSIDA’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., which will be part of the annual NACDA Convention for a second straight year.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, sponsors of the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy awarded to college football’s outstanding defensive player who has had the biggest IMPACT on his team both on and off the field.
“Annie is one of the most accomplished people I have ever had the privilege of knowing,” said John Hamilton, Chairman of the Board of the IMPACT Foundation. “Everything she does is with class and grace. Besides being arguably the greatest female athlete, she is also a great mom and a lovely lady. She is a huge asset to our Foundation and the Lott Trophy. We are all thrilled that she is being recognized for her vast contributions.”
The Dick Enberg Award, named for the world renowned and legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster, is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics. The award was created in part to recognize Enberg’s passion and support of the Academic All-America program, and more importantly, his dedication to education for more than four decades.
“Ann Meyers-Drysdale stands as one of the nation’s outstanding three-sport stars, so skilled in basketball that the NBA offered her a tryout,” Enberg said of this year’s recipient. “Ann epitomizes the qualities of the true student-athlete, dedicated and fully appreciative of the rich results stemming from excellence in the classroom and the athletic arena. She was an early model for women in collegiate sports, and I’m deeply pleased that she has accepted the 2014 Enberg Award.”
“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to receive this great award,” Meyers-Drysdale said of the Enberg honor. “I have so much respect for Dick and everything that he has done in his career. This is an incredibly huge honor in my life and one I am extremely humbled to receive from one of my dearest friends.”
After becoming the first female student-athlete to receive a full scholarship to UCLA, Meyers-Drysdale embarked on a collegiate career that saw her win a pair of national championships in two different sports, as she competed in the high jump and pentathlon on the Bruins’ 1975 NCAA outdoor track & field title squad as a freshman. During her senior season of 1977-78, Ann led UCLA to the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) basketball national championship, amassing a near quadruple double of 20 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and eight steals in a 90-74 victory over Maryland in the title game played at Pauley Pavilion to cap a 27-3 campaign under legendary coach Billie Moore. Earlier that year, she became the first collegiate basketball player (male or female) to amass a quadruple double with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a win over Stephen F. Austin on February 18, 1978. A four-time Kodak All-America while in Westwood, Meyers-Drysdale, who earned a degree in Sociology from UCLA in 1979, won the Honda Broderick Cup as the nation’s top collegiate basketball player and athlete in 1978. She was also a member of the Bruins’ volleyball team during the 1977 and 1978 season and tried out for women’s tennis team in 1979.
Meyers-Drysdale also achieved success at the international level during her college matriculation, as she joined fellow Enberg Award recipient Pat Summitt as starters in bringing home a silver medal for the United States at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, the first year of women’s basketball competition in the Olympics. Ann also won a gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games, and four years later while playing for Olympic teammate Summitt, she brought home gold at 1979 FIBA World Championship as well as a silver medal at the Pan Am Games.
Meyers-Drysdale was the number one pick in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1979, but she chose to retain her amateur status in preparing for the 1980 Olympics. While preparing for the Olympic Games in late summer 1979, she once again made history by being the first (and only) female to sign a free agent contract with a National Basketball Association team, as the Indiana Pacers inked her to a deal in September. Though she didn’t make the team, Meyers-Drysdale once again forged a path of opportunity in women’s athletics, a path that has taken her on a remarkable journey and one that has also allowed her to be an integral part of the community. After working in the Pacers’ front office for a two-plus month span, Ann joined the WBL’s New Jersey Gems after her rights were traded to them from the Houston Angels, and she ended the 1979-80 season as the league’s Co-Most Valuable Player and top scorer.
It was another competition, however, that would change Meyers-Drysdale’s life forever. She entered the ABC Sports Superstars in 1979 and was the only female to participate in the men’s competition, and she took home the title in the event for three straight years from 1981 to 1983. During that inaugural event, she met Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, and the two were married seven years later in 1986, becoming the first married couple to be members of their respective sports’ halls of fame. Drysdale and Dick Enberg were long-time major league broadcast partners for the Angels.
Meyers-Drysdale received her first hall of fame induction in 1985 when she was enshrined into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. She became the first female inducted into UCLA’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988, and her No. 15 Bruins jersey was retired in 1990. In 1993, Meyers-Drysdale was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and six years later, she was a member of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2007, Ann was again part of an inaugural hall of fame class, this time for the FIBA Hall of Fame, as she is one of three United States citizens to have that honor bestowed, joining fellow Enberg Award recipients Bill Russell and Dean Smith. Russell said of Meyers Drysdale, “Annie was one of the best players ever. I didn’t say male or female. I said ever.”
An active member of both the Phoenix and Southern California communities, Meyers-Drysdale has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 30 years and currently serves as a sports ambassador for Special Olympics Southern California. She, along with PGA great Tom Lehman, is also an active member of “Elevate Phoenix”, a program that helps mentor inner city youths by going into schools and helping students of all ages achieve their dreams and goals to attend college. A tireless advocate for Title IX, Ann is an active member of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Additionally, she is active in the Kids In Sports program in Los Angeles.
Meyers-Drysdale has five sisters and five brothers, including brother Dave, who played college basketball at UCLA under legendary coach and Academic All-America Hall of Famer John Wooden. Ann and Don, who passed away in 1993, are the parents of three children: sons Don Jr. (D.J.) and Darren and daughter Drew, who is currently enrolled at UCLA. Meyers-Drysdale published her autobiography entitled “You Let Some Girl Beat You” in 2012.
PREVIOUS DICK ENBERG AWARD WINNERS
2013 Mike Krzyzewski, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Duke University
2012 Joe Paterno, Head Football Coach Emeritus, Penn State University
2011 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, UCLA, United States Olympian
2010 Tom Hansen, Commissioner Emeritus, Pac-10 Conference
2009 Steve Smith, Former Basketball Standout, Michigan State & NBA
2008 Chuck Lee, CEO Emeritus, GTE Corporation
2007 Pat Summitt, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Emeritus, University of Tennessee
2006 President Gerald R. Ford
2005 Father Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
2004 Dr. Ted Leland, Director of Athletics Emeritus, Stanford University
2003 Dr. Tom Osborne, Director of Athletics/Head Football Coach Emeritus, University of Nebraska
2002 Judge Alan Page, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
2001 Dr. Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami/Former U.S. Secretary of Education
2000 Bill Russell, Basketball Hall of Famer, University of San Francisco/Boston Celtics
1999 Dean Smith, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Emeritus, University of North Carolina
1998 John Humenik, Executive Director Emeritus, CoSIDA
1997 Dick Enberg, Hall of Fame Broadcaster