As we celebrate each year, we reflect on how these Iba Awards began. Rotarian Bob Lengacher was ringing bells at the corner of 4th and Main in December 1993 for the Salvation Army, an annual tradition for the Rotary Club of Tulsa Rotarians. He was thinking about a story he read in the paper that morning about a famous athlete who was arrested. He thought how sad it was for someone so famous and wealthy to not be a good citizen and what a negative image that portrays to our young people. There are many famous athletes who do positive things to help others and yet they don’t make the headlines.

About that time Alex Adwon, with the Tulsa World’s editorial board, stopped by to say hello. Lengacher told Adwon his thoughts about a Rotary-sponsored awards program honoring athletes who are good citizens and asked if he thought the Tulsa World would be a supporter. Adwon liked the idea and suggested Lengacher discuss it with executive editor, Bob Haring. Haring agreed and suggested Lengacher contact the sports editor, Bill Connors.

Lengacher presented the concept to the Rotary Club of Tulsa board, which readily agreed to host the event as a fundraiser. A small committee of volunteers was formed with Lengacher as chairman. Ron Butler, Steve Clark, Sue Maxwell, Scott Petty, Rod Reppe, Linda Tabor and Chuck Wilson met every week after work at the Lengacher’s home for six months to develop the first Iba Awards.

Scott Petty came up with the idea of naming the awards after Coach Henry P. Iba who had died in January 1993. Some committee members were concerned that naming the awards after an Oklahoman would limit its national potential, so they presented the concept to Connors who was well connected in the world of sports. Connors readily agreed naming the awards after Mr. Iba was an excellent choice since he was nationally recognized, well respected and was Coach of the Year in 1945 and 1946. Connors put Lengacher in touch with Coach Eddie Sutton, his friend since both were students at Oklahoma A&M (OSU). Coach Sutton agreed to help and set up a meeting with the Iba family to ask approval of using Mr. Iba’s name. Sutton also agreed to be the chairman of the advisory board and contacted several well-respected sports figures to be members.

Over 1,400 sportswriters, TV sports directors, university sports information officers and professional sports promoters throughout the U.S. were asked to nominate both male and female athletes who best fit the criteria. Finalists were selected by a panel of Rotarians who chose the two most worthy candidates – Mark Rypien and Shannon Miller. Rypien was the NFL MVP of the 1992 Super Bowl and Miller won seven Olympic and nine World Championship medals.

Butler created the logo for the Iba Awards and, along with sculptor Chuck Tomlins, designed the solid bronze trophy. Table sponsorships and ticket sales followed. Only six months later, the first Awards were held at the Tulsa Adam’s Mark (today’s Hyatt Regency) with Curt Gowdy as the emcee and Coach Mike Krzyzewski as the keynote speaker. Coach Sutton and Bob Kurland each spoke about how much they respected Mr. Iba.

Now, more than twenty years later, the tradition continues, and the Iba Awards have become internationally known and respected for honoring athletes for their humanitarian efforts.

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Rotarians… look for Gene Martin and Kacey King at Wednesday's meeting at ORU. They will be happy to book your Iba Awards table or individual seat tickets! You still have a chance to sit with a university president, a sports coach or famous former athlete. Proceeds from the event grows the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation which gives grants to nonprofits and projects in the Tulsa area! Get ready, get set, go!! Justin Wren, Shannon Miller, Chris Herren, Lauren Chamberlain Rotary Club of Tulsa

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Be a part of an exciting and inspiring evening by attending the Henry P. Iba Awards honoring citizen athletes on June 26. Tables and tickets selling now. Meet internationally-known athletes who give back in a big way to their communities and the world including Lauren Chamberlain, Justin Wren, Shannon Miller & Chris Herren. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation which supports non-profits and projects in the Tulsa area. Bellator MMA USA Softball @The University of Oklahoma USA Gymnastics Olympic 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women's Gymnastics NBA Sports Illustrated ESPN VYPE Oklahoma Tulsa Lifestyle TulsaPeople Magazine Tulsa World Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa Rotary District 6110 Rotary International Rotary Club of Tulsa

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Join your friends at Tulsa Rotary at the annual Iba Awards. Hear the amazing stories of four internationally-known athletes and how they support humanity and their communities. Make plans now to be a part of exciting evening. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation which gives grants to nonprofits and projects in the Tulsa area. ... See MoreSee Less

Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards

June 26, 2017, 5:30pm - June 26, 2017, 9:00pm

Meet athletes, coaches and celebrities at the 24th Annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards benefiting the Rotary Club of Tulsa Club of Tulsa Foundation. Monday, June 26, 2017 - Hard Rock Tulsa. Celebrating the selfless act of giving back to the community, the annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards recognize two nationally known athletes who are generous of heart in their communities through their own or others’ charitable organizations. The annual dinner and award ceremony draws celebrities from across the country including professional athletes, Olympic champions, coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, sportscasters and more. The recipients of the award receive a trophy and a donation is made to a local charity in the athlete’s name from the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation. During the event, two area high school citizen athletes are also honored for their prowess in their respective sports as well as their involvement in the community. These honors are called the Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Awards which singles out two players who best exhibit the traits of tenacity and unselfishness. In the language of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, “tustenugee” means “warrior.” These citizen athletes are nominated by athletic directors from across northeast Oklahoma. Event Details - 2017 Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards: Monday, June 26, 2017 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa 777 West Cherokee Street, Catoosa, OK. 5:30 p.m. VIP Celebrity Reception, Sky Room 6:00 p.m. General Reception, Sequoyah Ballroom Entry 7:00 p.m. Dinner and Presentation, Sequoyah Ballroom Make plans now to attend as this is a sell-out event by contacting us at: 918-584-7642 Iba@TulsaRotary.com

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