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Cleveland native and 1991 Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will host the 16th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards presented by Medical Mutual and FirstMerit Bank, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced Wednesday. The Sports Commission also announced January 28, 2016 as the date of its annual fundraiser celebrating Cleveland sports. The event will again be held at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel Grand Ballroom.
“A talented individual like Desmond will bring excitement, professionalism and entertainment to the Sports Awards, which serves as our organization’s primary fundraiser,” said David Gilbert, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission President and CEO. “It’s icing on the cake to be able to secure a native Clevelander as the emcee and we are excited to welcome Desmond home in January for what is always a great event.”
Tables and tickets for the event are on sale now at www.clevelandsportsawards.com.
Honors for professional, collegiate, amateur and high school (presented by University Hospitals) athlete of the year will be handed out at the event. Jim Donovan will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Additional awards include the Best Moment presented by Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and Courage Award presented by Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. Award nominees and winners will be announced at a later date.
The Sports Awards will also feature the drawing of the annual Golden Ticket winner. The Golden Ticket contest awards one lucky fan a pair of season tickets to every Indians, Browns and Cavs home game next season. Entries for the Golden Ticket are $100 each, with a maximum of 400 entries being sold.
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While playing for the University of Michigan, Howard – a graduate of Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School - won the 1991 Heisman by the second largest margin of victory in the trophy’s history (85 percent of the vote). The Washington Redskins selected Howard fourth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft. Howard spent three seasons with Washington, then moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. Howard was named the 1997 Super Bowl MVP, the only special teams player to earn the honor. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2000 while playing with the Lions.
Since the end of his playing career, Howard has been a staple of ESPN’s college football coverage and has been a member of the popular College GameDay crew since 2005. He continues to work alongside Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Coach Lee Corso each Saturday during college football season.
Howard is the latest in a line of nationally-known Sports Awards hosts. Past emcees include Jim Nantz, Scott Van Pelt, Bob Costas and Mike Tirico.
The Greater Cleveland Sports Awards is Cleveland’s top entertainment event of the year. The event features sports celebrities and personalities, an outstanding sports memorabilia and experience auction, and Cleveland’s top sports performers and moments from 2015. The event is the primary fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. For more information, visit www.clevelandsportsawards.com.