ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers
Association is pleased to announce that its annual Women's
National Player of the Year Award from this moment forward will
be named the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the
The award honors one of the all-time greats of the game. Meyers
Drysdale was the first four-time All-American out of UCLA (1975-78),
where her brother Dave was also an All-American and she helped bring
the Bruins a national title in 1978 while playing in the AIAW.
"I am quite thrilled and excited to become part of this,"
said Meyers Drysdale on learning of her choice by the USBWA for
the honor. "It's nice to be considered along with the other
names being talked about for these awards. It is nice to be regarded
as one who has helped grow the women's game."
"I know some of these young winners probably never heard
of me," Meyers Drysdale quipped. "But it's nice to link
women's notables from the past with the stars of the present day."
Meyers Drysdale, currently vice president of the WNBA's Phoenix
Mercury and NBA's Phoenix Suns, is an inductee of the Naismith Memorial
and Women's Basketball Halls of Fame, among numerous other honors
such as induction in the FIBA Hall of Fame.
This year's winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be announced
on Tuesday morning at the USWBA Women's Basketball Awards Breakfast
sponsored by ESPN, in Denver, the site of the NCAA Women's Final
Four, at the Hyatt Hotel at 9 a.m. MT.
Meyers Drysdale, the first woman to receive an athletic
scholarship at UCLA, will be on hand to present the award to the
winner, who will come from one of the 10 USBWA All-Americans announced earlier
this week. Several of the finalists are expected to attend the event.
The USBWA's National Coach of the Year Award will also be presented
to Baylor's Kim Mulkey as well as the Most Courageous Award, which
is going to legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for her ongoing
battle with early onset dementia.
Meyers Drysdale has also had a distinguished broadcasting career
for more than 30 years, with emphasis on broadcasting the
Olympics for NBC and NCAA tournament games as well as regular-season college
games for ESPN. She has also been an analyst for CBS and also worked
WNBA games for NBC and ESPN prior to her hire by Phoenix.
Fittingly, this honor comes on the 40th anniversary of Title
IX, the landmark federal legislation in 1972 that increased opportunities
for women on the playing fields in collegiate sports.
All credentialed media for the NCAA Women's Final Four are invited
to attend the presentation, and limited extra space allows for other
interested individuals to also attend.
"Honoring Annie is the first of an initiative begun this
year to start putting names of some of the greats of the women's
games on annual awards in almost the same manner on the men's side
that now offers the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy and
Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award," said Mel Greenberg, the
women's representative on the USBWA board of directors.
"In mentioning potential candidates for the women's honor
to prominent persons in both the men's and women's games, as well
as media members of USBWA covering both men and women, Ann's name
was the one which was overwhelmingly endorsed as a top choice,"
"One other naming will be announced at the awards breakfast
and planning is under way to add future names on the coach of the
year and freshman of the year awards as well as the creation of
a few other honors in the next year," Greenberg said.
Meyers Drysdale, who turned 57 on Monday, was married to the
late Los Angeles Dodgers pitching great Don Drysdale, who also was an
Olympian. She is the only woman to have signed an NBA free-agent
contract when the Indiana Pacers inked her in September 1979, though
she did not make the team.
Meyers Drysdale, who has two sons, Don Drysdale Jr. and Darren,
and a daughter Drew, is co-authoring a book on her life, "You
Let Some GIRL Beat You," which is set to come out in June.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association, formed in 1956,
has named a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season.
The association has also named a national player of the year since
1987-88 and a national coach of the year since 1989-90. This season
marked the first time the USBWA named a weekly national player of
the week. In 2002-03, the USBWA initiated an award for the nation's
top freshman. For more information about the USBWA and its award
programs, contact Executive Director Joe Mitch in the Missouri Valley
Conference office at 314-444-4325.
2011-12 USBWA Women's
All-America Team (Ann Meyers Drysdale Award finalists)
All-Time USBWA Women's
National Players of the Year