Editor’s note: On June 29, The National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force announced its 2009 Class of the Sam Lacy Pioneer Awards, the group’s highest honor. These are the recipients.Maritza Correia — She is the first Black female to make US Olympic team as a swimmer, and a silver medalist (400m relay) in the 2004 Games. Correia attended Tampa Bay Technical High School and joined the school’s swimming team. In 1999, she became the U.S. National Champion in the 50m freestyle in the 18 and under category. She was also a six time Florida High School State Champion in the 5 different events. In 1999, Correia joined the University of Georgia Lady Bulldogs Swimming and Diving Team. She aided the team when they won their title in the 400m freestyle relay. She earned a share of the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy for high point honors. First and only swimmer in SEC history to win an SEC title in all Freestyle events. During her college career she was a 27-time All-American, and 11-Time NCAA Champion.
Doug Williams — Williams was drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the Tampa Bay Bucs and led them to three playoff appearances, including the 1979 NFC title game. Later, he became the first and only black quarterback to win the Super Bowl, when he led the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl XXII. Today he is director of professional scouting for the Bucs.
Ken Riley — Riley was a top NFL cornerback who played his entire 15-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Riley recorded 65 interceptions in his career, which was the fourth most in Pro Football history at the time of his. Before his professional career, Riley played quarterback for Florida A&M University. In addition to being a skilled athlete, Riley also excelled academically. He earned his team’s scholastic award and a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy. In 1986, he took over as the head coach of his alma mater, Florida A&M. Riley coached Florida A&M from 1986-1993, compiling a 48-39-2 record, with two Mid-Eastern Athletic conference titles and 2 MEAC coach of the year awards. Riley then served as Florida A&M’s athletic director from 1994-2003. He is now retired and living in his hometown of Bartow, Florida.
LeRoy Selmon — Selmon was a two-time national champion at Oklahoma, and the first pick of the 1976 NFL draft for the Tampa Bay Bucs. In 1976, Selmon was the first player picked in the NFL draft, the first-ever pick for the then-brand-new expansion team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined older brother Dewey, who was a second round pick of the Bucs. In his first year, Lee Roy won the team’s Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. Selmon went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. A back injury made the 1984 season his last, and the Bucs retired his number, 63, in 1986. He finished his career with 78.5 sacks. The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway is named for him, as is a chain of restaurants. The chain, aptly titled Lee Roy Selmon’s, was named one of the 10 best sports bars in America in 2009 it’s motto is Play Hard. Eat Well. And Don’t Forget to Share. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jim Dent — Dent was born in the golf mecca of Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters Tournament, though as an African American he wouldn’t have been allowed onto the Augusta National course at the time, except as a caddie. He caddied both at Augusta National and at Augusta Country Club as a boy. Dent turned pro in 1966. During his regular (under 50) career he was Florida PGA Champion three times. However he is mainly notable for his success on the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour), where he won 12 tournaments between 1989 and 1998.
Fred Goodall — Goodall is a long time sports journalist and mentor, writes for the Associated Press in Tampa. He will be honored with the organization’s journalism award.
A merit award will be presented Brian McIntyre of the NBA, who has helped provide long time support for the Pioneer Ceremony and NABJ.
The winners will be honored at the NABJ Convention in Tampa on August 7. The ceremony also includes presenting two students with Larry Whiteside Scholarships.