March 13, 2012

ATLANTA - Miami University senior goaltender Cody Reichard is one of five finalists for the 2012 Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, Athletes for a Better World announced Tuesday. The winner will be revealed on April 25 at a ceremony held in the Egyptian Ballroom at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, it its eighth year, is presented annually to two distinguished athletes, one collegiate and one professional, for their character and leadership both on and off the field and their contributions to sport and society.

In 2010, Reichard founded Swoop’s Stoop, a program whose mission is to provide life-enriching experiences to area kids facing life-changing illnesses. The program works by bringing a sick child from Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital to a Miami home hockey game, where they and their family receive game tickets, a t-shirt, a bracelet and free food and drink. The child is also recognized during the game. In addition, Reichard, Swoop (Miami’s RedHawk mascot) and several Miami teammates visit Children’s Hospital at least once a month to play and interact with sick children. The senior netminder also brings posters and towels for the children that are signed by players. This year, Reichard successfully brought a corporate sponsor (Step Resources) into the mix, and has raised more than $16,000 to further help the Swoop’s Stoop cause, which went toward having Swoop’s Stoop blankets made for the children at the hospital. He also hopes to eventually help offset some medical costs for the children’s families and build a new play room for the hospital.

Reichard painted his goalie mask this year to help promote Swoop’s Stoop and the mask will be auctioned off at the end of the year to raise money for the program. Miami also wore special Swoop’s Stoop jerseys on Saturday, Feb. 11 against Alabama-Huntsville, which were auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting Swoop’s Stoop. Roughly $6,300 was raised on the jersey auction. He has started working on getting other Miami teams involved as well so the program continues for years to come.

In addition to Swoop’s Stoop, Reichard is in his second year serving on Miami’s RedHawk Council, which is Miami’s student-athlete leadership group. He is also involved in several team philanthropies, such as the annual Therapeutic Disabilities Skate, where players help those in Butler County with disabilities skate on Miami's ice rink through the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. He has also participated in Rico's Ristorante, where players serve dinner to the community. Reichard is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the Hockey Humanitarian Award, as well.

The other Wooden Cup finalists include Notre Dame baseball infielder Tommy Chase, Yale ice hockey forward Aleca Hughes, Georgia Tech football running back Roddy Jones and Kentucky track and field runner Josh Nadzam. All of the finalists will be recognized during the ceremony on April 25 in Atlanta.

Pat Summitt, the esteemed University of Tennessee's Lady Vols' basketball coach, will be honored as the professional recipient.  Coach Summitt has won more games than any other basketball coach in history, including a record eight NCAA Championships.  More importantly, she is regarded as one of the finest role models in sports and has positively influenced countless athletes and young people.

Founded by Athletes for a Better World, a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is open to athletes in all collegiate and professional sports.

John Wooden, who won 10 national championships as basketball coach at UCLA, is regarded as the greatest college coach of all time.  Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings in the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard.  When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave permission for his name to be associated with the annual award and spoke at the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. 

Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former University of Georgia athletic director, and include more than 100 distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.

The Coach Wooden Citizen Cup is one of the most prestigious awards in sports. Previous recipients include Dikembe Mutombo, Mia Hamm, Peyton Manning, John Smoltz, John Lynch, Andrea Yaeger and Cal Ripken Jr.

About Athletes for a Better World:
Founded in 1998, Athletes for a Better World (ABW) exists to change the culture of sport by developing individual character, teamwork and civic responsibility through commitment to the Code for Living. ABW’s vision is to have the code become a part of every sport at every level. ABW provides free support and resources to coaches and athletes across the country who want to teach and live out these values. ABW’s Code for Living can be found on playing fields, locker rooms and athletic facilities across the country. Currently, ABW players and coaches are represented in every state and several foreign countries.