2014 Awards Dinner Presented by Southeastern Sports Medicine
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Houston recalls fond memories of MAAC awards banquet
Mike Houston remembers what it felt like, sitting in the audience at the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club Banquet and waiting to hear the announcement of the winner.
An awards finalist as assistant coach on the 1998 Roberson High basketball team and the Rams' head football coach for an undefeated regular season in 2004, Houston enjoyed the event that honors some of Western North Carolina's top high school athletes and teams.
Now the football coach at The Citadel, Houston was the keynote speaker at Sunday night's 53rd MAAC dinner, and he spoke passionately to a sellout crowd of more than 450 at Omni Grove Park Inn.
"I have great memories of those banquets, being part of a group of kids and teams being recognized for their athletic achievements," said Houston, a Franklin native and Mars Hill University graduate who accepted the job at The Citadel earlier this year after posting a 29-8 mark in three seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne, including three South Atlantic Conference titles and a trip to the NCAA Division II national championship game.
Former UNC Asheville basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach was inducted into the WNC Sports Hall of Fame at the event sponsored by Southeastern Sports.
"My time in Asheville was so special, so many friends and wonderful memories, and this really caps that time," said Biedenbach, 68, who will be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame on Friday.
Biedenbach directed the Bulldogs to eight Big South Conference championships, three NCAA tournaments and a NIT bid. He is the program's all-time leader in victories (256-258 record in 17 seasons, 1996-2013).
In addition to the high school winners, Rob Powell was presented the Duke Energy Special Olympics Award.
Powell, 44, and a Weaverville resident, has participated in Special Olympics competitions for more than 35 years and has won 36 medals, including 14 gold, in a variety of sports.
"We have so many talented deserving players and teams in this area, and we're humbled and proud to be able to give them a night like this," said MAAC President Billy Cooper, who spearheaded the movement to reinstate this event that lay dormant for three years after being a WNC tradition since the 1950s.
53rd MAAC AWARDS BANQUET
Winners of 21 high school awards presented by the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club from a list of 68 finalists.
Spring sports winners are from last season, because this year's season is still in progress. Fall and winter winners are from the 2013-14 school season.
- Wells Fargo Award for the top 1A/2A Female Athlete in a Major Sport: Allie Leake, Madison High softball.
- Northwestern Mutual Award for the top 1A/2A Female Athlete in an Olympic Sport: Hailey Cook, Hendersonville track and field.
- Joe Eblen Memorial Award for the top 1A/2A Male Athlete in a Major Sport: Jordan Couch, Smoky Mountain soccer.
- White & Williams Co. Award for the top 1A/2A Male Athlete in an Olympic Sport: Spencer McCoy, Swain wrestling.
- Dixon Hughes Goodman Award for the top 3A/4A Female Athlete in a Major Sport: Izzy McCurry, Roberson softball.
- Citizens Bank Award for the top 3A/4A Female Athlete in an Olympic Sport: Callista Rice, North Buncombe golf.
- Goforth Construction Award for the top 3A/4A Male Athlete in a Major Sport: Austin Stamey, Roberson soccer.
- Massasoit 3A/4A Award for the top Male Athlete in an Olympic Sport: Mitchel Langford, North Henderson wrestling.
- Hampton Inn Award for top 1A/2A Female Team in a Major Sport: Carolina Day basketball.
- Mills Manufacturing Award for the top 1-A/2-A Female Team in an Olympic Sport: Asheville Christian Academy cross-country.
- Home Trust Bank Award for the top 3A/4A Female Team in a Major Sport: Pisgah basketball.
- Arcadia Farms, Inc. Award for the top 3A/4A Female Team in an Olympic Sport: Roberson cross-country.
- BMW of Asheville Award for the top 1A/2A Male Team in a Major Sport: Murphy football.
- Blue Ridge Bone & Joint Award for the top 1A/2A Male Team in an Olympic Sport: Mitchell wrestling.
- Rodeway Inn and Suites Award for the top 3-A/4-A Male Team in an Olympic Sport: North Buncombe wrestling.
- David L. Cappiello, MD Award for the top 3A/4A Male Team in a Major Sport: Roberson soccer.
- David L. Cappiello, MD Award for Academic Excellence: Sarah Spiro, Smoky Mountain cross-country and track.
- Gene Ochsenreiter Lifetime Award Sponsored by Moog Music: Keith Jarrett, Asheville Citizen Times
- Joe Eblen Memorial Scholarship ($1,000): Cameron Pryor, North Henderson volleyball.
- Bill Owen Memorial Scholarship ($1,000): Austin Stamey, Roberson soccer.
- Southeastern Sports Scholarships (two at $500 each): Raymius Smith, Swain football and basketball; Sarah Spiro, Smoky Mountain cross-country and track.