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"Aim High Academy combines FITNESS and FAITH to help build bright FUTURES in urban children and youth from the North Tulsa community and beyond."

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Scene Writer on Jan 18, 2006

Tulsans honored at Bill Connors Sports dinner

Linda Bradshaw will receive the Haney Community Service Award.


Being honored at a dinner that carries the name of the late Bill Connors is a huge honor.

The Tulsa World sports editor lived his life with character, truth and respect. He was often called a true gentleman and a man of great integrity.


Two people who share many of these characteristics, Oral Roberts University Athletic Director Mike Carter and Linda Bradshaw, owner of Tulsa World of Gymnastics, will be in good company when they are recognized at the Bill Connors Sports Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills.


The evening will include a reception, followed by dinner and a program featuring Winnercomm's Chris Lincoln as emcee and Rick Dickson, Tulane University director of athletics, as the keynote speaker.


"In our community, Bill Connors wrote the column everyone anticipated following a big sports weekend," said Mike Dodson, executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission. "Whether it was a controversial play, a missed call or reliving a big win, Bill Connors' admirable values invariably flavored his writing. Mike Carter's leadership and Linda Bradshaw's community service pay tribute to the Connors legacy, and the Tulsa Sports Commission is proud to recognize them with these awards."


Carter will be recognized as sportsman of the year for his visionary dedication to ORU's athletics program. He was a guiding force behind the university's acceptance into the Mid-Continent Conference in 1997 and has led ORU to four Mid-Con Commissioner's Cup titles and several all-sports awards.


On campus, Carter has been a catalyst for dramatic enhancements in every area of ORU athletics in the last 10 years -- from competitiveness to support structure to facilities. And throughout all its success, the ORU athletic department's grade point average has exceeded 3.0 for seven of the past eight years.


Carter earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa and has practiced law since 1973, counseling players at Oklahoma State University, TU, ORU and players with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins on agents and basic financial management. He serves on the national board of advisors of Coaches vs. Cancer and the national board of trustees of Childhood Cancer Foundation. Carter's many volunteer contributions in Tulsa include serving as past director of Leadership Tulsa, past director of Operation Aware and a past president of both Theatre Tulsa and the Tulsa Alumni Chapter of Sigma Chi.


Linda Bradshaw will receive the Haney Community Service Award. Her Tulsa World of Gymnastics is now in its 30th year of physical-fitness education. The gym has been the host site for USA Gymnastics' TOPS (Talent Opportunity Program) for seven years. Bradshaw also played a critical role in bringing two Olympic-qualifying gymnastic events to Tulsa's Mabee Center. Her numerous civic contributions in Tulsa include the Mayor-appointed Economic Development Commission, the Tulsa Area United Way and the Tulsa Metro Chamber.


She is the 2006-07 president-elect for the Rotary Club of Tulsa, where she has been active with the board of directors, the Iba Citizen Athlete Awards and Crescendo Music Awards, among other activities.


Bobby Lorton is the honorary chairman, and Stacey Roggendorff and Jesse Boudiette are the event's co-chairpersons.


Sponsors include Anchor Drilling Fluids USA, Borden Dairy, Charleston's Restaurants, Case and Associates, Cherokee Casino and Resort, Cox Communications, Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center, Flying Colors Media, JMAC Design, ORU, Schnake Turnbo Frank Inc., Spirit Bank, Tulsa World and TU.


The Tulsa Sports Commission initiated the awards in memory of Connors, who exemplified the spirit of the awards, which honor outstanding Tulsans for their contributions to the local sports community.


Connors' national reputation, respect of his peers, modest style and impeccable journalism standards have had a lasting impact on players, coaches and sports-page readers in our community.


The Tulsa Sports Commission was created in 1993 to attract and develop amateur sporting events, conventions and other sports ventures for economic impact on the Tulsa community. The organization actively solicits amateur championships, sports-related clinics and conventions from across the nation. It has produced more than $235 million in economic impact in the region.


As a founding member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, the organization has worked with the Amateur Athletic Union, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, United States Golf Association, NCAA, USA Gymnastics, American Softball Association, USA Track & Field, National Field Archery Association, U.S. Sailing, Youth Basketball of America, American Bicycle Association, Western Athletic Conference and the American Bowling Congress.


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