Danny Ainge Honored with Prestigious NCAA Award

Ainge is the third former Cougar to be honored with NCAA Silver Anniversary Award

PROVO, Utah -- Former BYU basketball great Danny Ainge was one of six recipients of the 2006 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented Saturday at the NCAA Honors Celebration in Indianapolis. He was presented the award by former Cougar All-American quarterback Gifford Nielsen, who received the award in 2003.

Ainge becomes the third former BYU student-athlete to receive the prestigious award, joining current BYU Faculty Representative Larry Echohawk (Football, 1970), who was honored in 1995, and Nielsen (Football, 1978).

The award recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful collegiate careers in various sports 25 years ago and went on to excel in their chosen professions. Silver Award winners are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which comprises eight athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.

Joining Ainge as 2006 recipients were Valerie B. Ackerman (University of Virginia, women's basketball); Charles E. Davis (Vanderbilt University, men's basketball); Dr. Terry Schroeder (Pepperdine University, men's water polo); Michael Singletary (Baylor University, football); and Susan D. Wellington (Yale University, women's swimming and softball).

The awards were presented at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Saturday during the annual NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. The Convention served as the kick-off to the NCAA's Centennial, with the theme "Celebrating the Student-Athlete."

A three-sport high school athlete, Ainge was drafted in the 15th round of the 1977 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. While playing collegiate basketball at BYU, Ainge spent his first three years also playing professional baseball at Toronto.

Named both the 1981 John Wooden and Eastman Award winner, Ainge averaged 24.4 points per game during his senior season. BYU's all-time scoring leader, Ainge still holds several individual season and career records at BYU and is the only Cougar men's basketball player to have his jersey retired.

After completing his eligibility, Ainge was selected in the second round of the 1981 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft and spent 14 seasons playing for the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers and Phoenix Suns. A member of two world championship teams with the Celtics (1984, 1986), Ainge is only one of three retired NBA players to make 1,000 three-point shots.

Hired as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns, Ainge was promoted to head coach eight games into the year. After leaving coaching, Ainge served as an NBA game and studio analyst for Turner Sports before being named to his current position as Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics in 2003.

Ainge has worked with several community and charitable organizations including the Children's Miracle Network, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Stay-In-School campaign and Special Olympics. He remains actively involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ainge and wife Michelle, have six children, including current BYU guard Austin Ainge, and two grandchildren.


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