Tiffany Lott, the BYU track star who broke Jackie Joyner Kersee's world record in the 55-meter hurdles in 1997, received the annual Dale Rex Memorial Award at the Cougar Club banquet Wednesday night.
Lott became the first BYU female athlete to win the award, which is the Cougar Club's selection as the person who has contributed most to amateur athletics in the state. She is only the fourth woman to earn the award in its 51-year history.The Leeds, Washington County, native has also achieved nine All-America citations and numerous WAC honors in her five years at BYU. Lott was expected to vie for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 1996 until she was sidelined with a serious knee injury, forcing her to miss the Olympic Trials. Following a remarkable recovery, she set the world mark of 7.30 in the 55-meter hurdles just 11 months after her injury.
Past winners of the Dale Rex Memorial Award include Steve Sarkisian, Frank Fredericks, Ty Detmer, Steve Young, Danny Ainge, LaVell Edwards and Utah's Greg Marsden and Missy Marlowe.
During the banquet, both Cougar Club officials and BYU administrators paid tribute to Dale McCann, who died March 31 after a short and intense battle with cancer.
McCann served as executive director of the Cougar Club for 24 years, up until the time of his death, and is credited with establishing several visionary programs and strengthening the fund-raising arm of the Cougar Club.
McCann's wife, Andrea, presented the Dale M. McCann Team Spirit Awards to basketball player Justin Weidauer and soccer goalie Camille Thomas.
Other awards presented to Cougar athletes were the Competitor Award (volleyball player Ryan Millar and cross country star Courtney Pugmire Meldrum); the Crowd-Pleaser Award (football player Brian McKenzie and volleyball player Korie Rogers); the Cougar Club Memorial Award (gymnast Rob Rimpini); the Kimball Memorial Award (tennis player Brad McIntosh); the Ed Stein Award (swimmer Byron Shefchik); the Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award (golfer Susanne Gillemo); and the Leona B. Holbrook Spirit of Sport Award (volleyball star Amy Steele Gant).
The women's cross country squad, which became the first Cougar female team to win a national championship, was the 1997-98 BYU Women's Team of the Year. The men's track team was the Men's Team of the Year.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies, President Merrill J. Bateman mentioned that the BYU athletic department is poised to finish in the top 10 in this year's Sears Director's Cup, which ranks the best programs in the nation based on on-field performance.
In addition, he congratulated the award recipients not only for their athletic achievements but also for their conduct as student-athletes at BYU.
"Most important is that we be who we are, that we build upon and represent the standards of this university," Bateman said, "or else we are not winners."