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 Adwan, with the Tulsa World’s editorial board, stopped by to say hello. Lengacher told Adwan 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. Adwan 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, Gene Martin, 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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Our leadership team gave their Monday night to attend the Visioning Launch Lab, getting ready for the start of the new Rotary year on July 1st. 🎉🎉

What an amazing and dedicated group! Can’t wait to see what all they accomplish this year! #agentsofchange #peopleofaction
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Happy #MemberMonday honoring one of our Rotarians.

Dr. Mouzon Biggs, Jr., is inspiring on many levels and we are blessed to be able to call him a fellow Rotarian.

Anytime it is announced that Mouzon will be speaking it brings anticipation that you will hear something grand, something that will leave you thinking about what has been said. We all know Mouzon speaks from the heart and presents in a thoughtful, inspirational and well-meaning way. Mouzon inspires me to “keep doing the next right thing” and "keep swinging for the fences” as he so amply displays this motto in his day to day life. Thank you Mouzon for being you.

Upon retiring as Sr Pastor at Boston Avenue Methodist Church Mouzon said: “I never walked into the pulpit that I didn’t do the best I knew how to be as faithful to God’s word as I knew how. I never promised a home run, but I did promise to swing as hard as I could. I think I managed that.”

I think we can all agree he did that and so much more.
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June 14, 2004

15 years ago today, Past President Jimmie Saied celebrated his final birthday at the 11th Annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards Banquet directing "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

2004 Iba Chair, Linda Bradshaw, introduced him with the following:

"Our finale is a tribute to our honorees with a presentation that is a testament to his own life. A gentleman and patriot beyond description was born this very day, June 14, 1915 on Flag Day. He carried the torch to Washington to witness the signing into law signifying that "The Star and Stripes Forever" become the official march of the United States of America. He has thrilled thousands for decades with his characterization of John Philip Sousa through the concerts he has conducted across this great country. I'm proud to celebrate his 89th birthday with him tonight. He is my dearest and personal friend. Please welcome, Maestro James G. Saied."
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The Rotary Club of Tulsa, with sincere appreciation, presents the “James G. Saied Service Above Self…And Then Some” Award to Rotarian and Past President Charles B. Wilson, Jr.

For continuing to serve his club with leadership counsel and enthusiasm long after serving as club President, 1996-97;

For strengthening the club by initiating several membership initiatives that led to more and higher committed members that reflect the vitality and diversity of our community;

For his numerous leadership positions on the board and club committees, including the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards, where he chaired the event and served on the organizing committee for all 25 years;

For his leadership coordinating Rotary’s support for the transformational OU-OSU Bedlam Clinics;

He is exceptionally qualified to receive the club’s highest honor.

Congratulations!
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