Former student-athletes Lauren Hill and O.J. Brigance are the 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award recipients. They will be recognized as Inspiration awardees at the NCAA Honors Celebration in January.
Hill, a former Mount St. Joseph University women’s basketball player, is receiving the award posthumously. She died in April 2015 following a public battle with an inoperable brain tumor. She was diagnosed during her senior year in high school, and in college was determined to play in one game. Hill faced her diagnosis with hope and perseverance, striving also to raise awareness about diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and funds to support research for finding a cure. The NCAA's Rachel Stark wrote this moving piece in Champion Magazine about Lauren.
O.J. Brigance played football at Rice University and majored in managerial studies. Brigance was a leader for his team on and off the field, inspiring teammates to work hard in the weight room, on the field and in the classroom. In 2007, he was diagnosed with ALS (known also as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His strength in the face of ALS has further inspired those who know him and those who have heard his story.
The Inspiration Award is presented to a coach or administrator currently associated with intercollegiate athletics, or to a current or former varsity letter-winner at an NCAA institution. It is reserved for people who, when confronted with life-altering situations, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and, most importantly, now give hope and inspiration to others.
The Honors Celebration will take place in January 2016, at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio.