June 19, 2014
Vanderbilt coach Greg Allen showed support for Auburn's Kim Evans during her 2013 treatment
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- The outpouring of support for Auburn women's golf coach Kim Evans by her SEC peers was recognized with an conference sportsmanship award Thursday.
SEC coaches rallied around Evans after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, showing their support by wearing ribbons, rally socks, teal watches in support of ovarian cancer victims, putting teams in the colors of teal and pink for cancer awareness, and embroidered special shirts honoring Evans.
"Through these efforts," the SEC office said, "the SEC coaches showed the young women playing in their programs how to support and encourage a friend in need. The three male head coaches in the SEC even shaved their heads to support Evans while her hair was thin during treatment."
Evans' doctors have declared she's cancer free. And her hair is back.
The SEC recognized three other sportsmanship winners: The Missouri football team, for showing support of teammate Michael Sam; Tennessee men’s basketball team; and the Georgia equestrian team. The winners were selected by a vote of the SEC Directors of Athletics.
The Missouri football team and Volunteer men’s basketball team tied for the male award while the Bulldog equestrian team and the women’s golf coaches of the conference tied for the female honor.
Missouri football won the award for supporting Sam during the 2013 season after he told his teammates in August pre-season camp he is gay. Sam determined that he did not want to disclose that fact publicly until after the 2013 season was over. His teammates respected those wishes while they accepted and supported him throughout the 2013 season.
The Tennessee basketball team was recognized for supporting Dayton coach Fran McCaffrey, whose 13-year-old son had surgery to remove a tumor from a thyroid before the Vols played Flyers in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee won the game in overtime, but refrained from extensive celebration so the players could each talk to McCaffrey and express their sympathy.
Due to scoring effort, Georgia was incorrectly given title shirts at the SEC Equestrian Championship. South Carolina was the winning team, and at the awards ceremony, Georgia captains asked if they could present the South Carolina team with the shirts they had initially received.