For Immediate Release
Longtime Wooden Award Co-Chair Tommy Hawkins To Be
Remembered In Private Celebration at Los Angeles Athletic Club
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 13, 2017) – Tommy Hawkins, longtime friend and co-chair of the annual John R. Wooden Award presentation, who passed away on August 16, 2017, will be remembered during a Celebration of Life at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Hawkins Family requests that the Celebration of Life on October 4, 2017 be for their invited guests.
Hawkins started his involvement with the Wooden Award in 1976. Every year, he was involved in honoring the Wooden Award winner as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate basketball player and the Wooden Award All-American Team. Hawkins starred at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a two-time All-America and established the school’s career rebounding record (1,318), a mark that still stands. He was a first-round selection in the 1959 NBA Draft and played 10 years in the NBA for the Lakers and Cincinnati Royals. Hawkins then launched a new career as a highly-respected and award-winning broadcaster. Later, he worked for 18 years as Vice President, Communications and External Affairs for the Los Angeles Dodgers, making more than 80 speaking engagements each year.
When longtime Wooden Award Chairman Duke Llewellyn passed away, Hawkins was asked to co-chair the event, where Tommy served as the longtime emcee and host. His preparation and interplay with the nominated student-athletes and their coaches was legendary. He truly loved his role in encouraging and bringing out the best in the players, using his incredible storytelling style to connect with them and showcase their many talents.
Hawkins background is the proverbial “rags to riches” story, as he grew up in a single-parent home with his loving mother, Juanita who worked three jobs to support her family. But, his athletic skills gave him an opportunity to overcome adversity and he seized it, at Chicago’s Parker High School, at Notre Dame and in the NBA. Hawkins was passionate about many interests: jazz music, poetry, broadcasting, sports, photography, fine art and travel. But, first and foremost, he embraced humanity with compassion and an inclusiveness that made those around him always feel better.
In addition to the private celebration in Los Angeles, a Mass, open to the public, will be celebrated at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana remembering Hawkins on a date in November to be announced.