Indiana Sports Corporation News Release
Indianapolis, April 18, 2007
Former Indiana Pacers and Indiana University great George McGinnis will be honored with the 2007 Indiana Pathfinder Award at the annual Pathfinder Awards Banquet on Sunday, June 24 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pathfinder Awards annually recognize individuals for their contributions and dedication to youth.
The awards banquet is held in conjunction with the 20th anniversary Youthlinks Indiana Charity Golf Tournament, co-presented by Indiana Sports Corporation and Indiana Black Expo. Over the years, more than $5.2 million in event proceeds has been distributed back into the community to support youth-based sports programs and initiatives through CHAMPS (Champions in Life) grants and other programs. This year’s Pathfinder Awards will feature Mike Tirico of ESPN’s Monday Night Football and ABC Sports as master of ceremonies, and track & field legend Carl Lewis as the National Pathfinder Award recipient.
“George has had an incredible impact on making Indiana a great place to live, work and visit,” said Dennis Bassett, Youthlinks Indiana Chairman. “Throughout his athletic and business careers, George has been an exceptional example to young people of how to succeed with hard work, a positive attitude and dedication to both family and community. We are proud to be honoring George with the Indiana Pathfinder Award this year to recognize his achievements in our community.”
McGinnis believes in giving back to the community and the state which has given him so much during his life and career in Indiana. He has served as the co-chairperson of the Indianapolis Local Organizing Committee (ILOC) for the past seven years. The ILOC has been instrumental in the NCAA’s relocation of its headquarters to Indianapolis and the NCAA Men’s Final Fours hosted by Indianapolis in 1997, 2000 and 2006, with another scheduled for 2010.
McGinnis has donated much of his time and money to charities devoted to helping young people in the community. He currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Executive City Board of the O.K. Program of Indiana. The O.K. Program is a law enforcement-based mentoring program that fosters partnerships between police agencies, schools, students, community members and the faith-based initiatives to provide positive guidance and support to African-American males. Under the guidance of an African-American male police officer, the program organizes responsible African-American adult males to serve as positive role models and mentors for the community’s youth.
During the 1995-96 season, he served as a consultant and “mentor” to the young players of the Indianapolis Colts. McGinnis also serves as an Indiana Sports Corporation board member.
“I am extremely honored to receive the Indiana Pathfinder Award,” said McGinnis. “Over the years, Youthlinks Indiana has presented this award to many outstanding individuals who have represented Indiana so well. I am flattered that Indiana Sports Corporation and Indiana Black Expo have included me in this group of men and women.”
McGinnis started his basketball career at Washington High School in Indianapolis, where in 1969 he led his team to an undefeated season and captured Indiana “Mr. Basketball” honors. He set an IHSAA tournament record by scoring a total of 148 points in his final four games, leading Washington to a state championship. During his senior season of 1968-69, McGinnis averaged 32.8 points per game and scored 1,019 points, one of only three Indiana boys basketball players to register more than 1,000 points in a single season.
While starring at Indiana University, McGinnis led the Big Ten Conference in both scoring (29.9) and rebounding (14.7) during the 1970-71 season. He was then drafted by the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association (ABA). He was a member of the 1972 and 1973 Pacers ABA championship teams. After winning the ABA scoring title in 1975, McGinnis was selected as the ABA Co-MVP alongside Julius Erving. He was a seven-time ABA/NBA All-Star and was a First Team All-NBA selection in 1976. He is one of four players to have his jersey retired by the Pacers. In his first year of eligibility, McGinnis was elected into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. He was honored in 2000 as a member of the Indiana University All-Century Team. McGinnis was also named to the Pacers’ 40th Anniversary Team in 2007.
Former National and Indiana Pathfinder Award recipients include college basketball coaching legend John Wooden, three-time Olympic gold-medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee, golfing greats Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson and Chi Chi Rodriguez, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband, Sargent Shriver, Indiana Senators Richard Lugar and Birch Bayh, NFL coaching greats Tom Landry and Tony Dungy, and former United States Olympic Committee President Dr. Leroy Walker. Awards presented at the banquet will also include the PeyBack Award presented by Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation and the Reverend Charles Williams Award.
The Youthlinks Indiana Charity Golf Tournament will take place Monday, June 25, at five premier Indiana golf courses: Brickyard Crossing Golf Club, Broadmoor Country Club, Crooked Stick Golf Club, The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club, and Meridian Hills Country Club.
For more information on Youthlinks Indiana and to purchase a golf package or Pathfinder Awards ticket, contact Indiana Sports Corporation at (317) 237-5000.