LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Bluegrass Sports Commission (BSC) is proud to announce the names of two award winners to be honored January 29 at the Bluegrass Sports Awards, presented by Alltech. Dick Gabriel will receive the Tom Hammond Kentucky Sports Media Award, while Dave Kerchner will be honored with the Jim Host Youth Sports Award.
The Youth Sports Award and Kentucky Sports Media Award winners were selected by the Bluegrass Sports Awards Committee from a list of nominations submitted by the general public and Kentucky sports media members, respectively.
Gabriel is currently in his second tour of duty with WKYT in Lexington. From 1985-2006, Gabriel served as WKYT’s Sports Manager. In 2007, he took a full time position with IMG, the rights holder for the UK TV and radio sports networks. After leaving IMG in 2011, Gabriel returned to WKYT in his current role as a special projects producer, creating specials and features and also producing newscasts.
In addition to his TV work, Gabriel has extensive experience in radio as well. He launched the first radio sports talk show in central Kentucky in 1980, for WVLK-AM, and currently hosts “Big Blue Insider” on WLAP-AM. His resume includes 11 years spent as a reporter and producer with the NCAA radio network, working the tournament during March Madness.
For the past 24 seasons, he has been the sideline radio reporter for the UK football network. He also has worked periodically as the anchor for both the football and basketball radio networks for the UK TV network broadcasts of football and basketball, and he’s done TV and radio play-by-play work for UK softball, baseball and volleyball.
A three-time Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year, in 2005 Gabriel produced and hosted a documentary on Adolph Rupp, examining the UK coaching legend’s reputation as a segregationist. It was widely-acclaimed in central Kentucky and was named Best Documentary in the Ohio Valley region by the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 1992, following the retirement of longtime UK play-by-play voice Cawood Ledford, Gabriel produced and hosted a documentary on the legendary broadcaster. It was named both the best documentary and best sports program in the state of Kentucky by the Associated Press, the only double-winner of its kind in the history of WKYT.
The Jim Host Youth Sports Award will be presented to Kerchner who held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Kentucky for 39 years.
In 1972, Kerchner became the first full-time director in Special Olympics Kentucky history. At the time the program was a one-day track meet that served only the Louisville area. Upon Kerchner’s retirement at the end of 2011, Special Olympics Kentucky not only provided a comprehensive year-round sports training and competition program for people with intellectual disabilities, but the program Kerchner made his life’s work to build also offered health services and early childhood intervention programs and had touched lives of countless people throughout Kentucky.
Kerchner was truly a sports pioneer in the state. Special Olympics was one of the state’s first recreational outlets for children with disabilities. Through sports, Special Olympics was at the forefront of a revolution in the understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities; a revolution that changed the way people with intellectual disabilities were viewed and received in the community, in their schools and in the workplace. Kerchner helped to lead that revolution through his work with Special Olympics Kentucky.
Previously announced winners Marty Brennaman and Alan Stein will receive the Tom Hammond Sports Media and Jim Host Sports Business awards, respectively.
The Awards evening will conclude with the live announcement of Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. The award was presented to Anthony Davis in 2013 and has been given annually since 1981 when Roy Kidd received the prestigious honor. The voting is done by print, radio and television sports media from around the state and is coordinated by the Herald-Leader.
The event will consist of a silent auction, dinner and professionally produced awards program. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the BSC and its efforts to grow the economic impact sports tourism has on central Kentucky. Tables of 10 are available for purchase for $1250. Individual tickets are also available for $125 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 859-255-0336 or visit www.bluegrasssports.org.
For more information about our host sponsor, the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, visit griffingatemarriott.com or call 859-231-5100.