OKLAHOMA CITY --- USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, is proud to unveil the redesigned USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year trophy. Created and designed by MTM Recognition out of Oklahoma City, Okla., the redesigned trophy honors one of the most decorated USA Softball athletes, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Fernandez, whose athletic achievements embody the essence of the prestigious award.
“What better representation of the top award in NCAA Division I softball than to honor one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game,” said USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress. “Lisa is without a doubt one of the best to ever wear ‘USA Softball’ across her chest. She has inspired millions of players and fans around the world with her tireless work ethic, her champion mindset and her resounding success. Her relentless attitude both on and off the field perfectly represent what the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is all about. We are privileged to design the trophy in her honor as we continue the legacy of celebrating college softball’s most outstanding Division I athlete.”
One of the greatest players to ever play the game, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Fernandez is the only pitcher to have appeared in three Olympic Game finals. Achieving a 7-2 record throughout her Olympic career, Fernandez has the distinction of holding four individual Olympic records: most strike outs in a game (25 at the 2000 Olympic Games), fewest runs allowed, highest batting average (.545) in Olympic play and most doubles (three). A graduate of UCLA, Fernandez played for the Bruins from 1990-1993, where she was a three-time winner of the sport’s Honda Award, becoming the first softball player to win the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup in 1993. A four-time, first-team All-American, Fernandez led the Bruins to two National Championships and two runner-up finishes. She was also named All-Region and All-Pac-12 first-team each season and was the Pac-12 Player of the Year her final three years.
“I am so honored and humbled to know that my name/image will forever be associated with greatness in the sport I loved to play,” said Fernandez.
USA Softball commissioned MTM Recognition, the nation’s leader in sports awards and recognition, to create the iconic Player of the Year award. Fernandez and USA Softball staff worked hand-in-hand with MTM’s sculptor, Mario Grijalva, on all the fine details of the piece. Though the sculpture is frozen in time, the fluid motion of the wind up and Fernandez’s determination shine through in this iconic bronze. With the overall vision to create a recognizable symbolic award for softball, the sculpture incorporates the pitching circle at the foot of the bronze statue, which sits atop a black, stained walnut base. Standing at five and a quarter inches tall and 11 1/2 inches wide, the base is cut into the shape of a home plate. The bronze sculpture stands almost a foot tall atop the base to add to the rich texture of the overall look of the trophy.
“MTM has been the official supplier of ASA, now USA Softball, for over 27 years and we are very proud to create this iconic award for them,” said Charlie Stepp, MTM’s Relationship Manager for USA Softball.
In addition to the redesigned trophy, USA Softball also unveiled new branding for the award, which was designed by Old Hat Creative out of Norman, Okla. Using the redesigned trophy as their inspiration, Old Hat Creative closely observed the intricacies of the sculpture while designing the artwork.
“Old Hat is grateful to USA Softball for the challenge of creating a logo for the prestigious Player of the Year award,” said Robert Smith, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Client Relations for Old Hat Creative. “We realize this is a great honor to those that receive the award, and our goal was to create a timeless logo that was representative of that honor.”
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female players across the country.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.