The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced today the appointment of Sam Lagana and Tommy Hawkins as co-chairmen of the John R. Wooden Award and its National Steering Committee. Both men are longtime supporters of the Award, and they replace the Award’s co-founders and their good friends, Richard “Duke” Llewellyn and Coach John Wooden, both of whom passed away on June 4, 2010.
“Sam and Tommy have been dedicated to the Wooden Award for many years,” said LAAC President Steve Hathaway. “They will continue to work with the basketball community, both locally and nationally, to keep the spirit of the John R. Wooden Award strong. Their experience and guidance are valuable, and under their leadership the Award will remain the highest individual honor in college basketball. Both Sam and Tommy have been members of the all-volunteer National Steering Committee for the better part of two decades, and the endorsement of their appointment at our annual steering committee meeting was unanimous.”
Lagana is currently the Associate Vice Chancellor at Pepperdine University, where he has served for the past 10 years and continues his involvement in athletics. Prior to Pepperdine, Sam served as the full-time Executive Director of the John R. Wooden Award, directing Athletics and the Sports Marketing & Business Development Division at the LAAC from 1996 to 2001. He served a one-year academic term as National Director of Sports at the renowned Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles in 2001-2002.
In his career, Sam has also served in athletics administration at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Northridge, while involved in public relations and promotion efforts for the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. He is a 1985 graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Hawkins has long served as the master of ceremonies of the John R. Wooden Award. He was a two-time All-American basketball player at Notre Dame who went on to enjoy a 10-year NBA career with the Cincinnati Royals and Los Angeles Lakers, where he played with Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson and many others. An Emmy Award-nominated radio and television broadcaster, he also spent 18 years as Vice President of Communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hawkins is known for his civic involvement and has worked with numerous organizations, ranging from the Los Angeles Sports Council, Los Angeles Friends of Recreation and the Children’s Burn Foundation to Friends of Jazz at UCLA. A true “Renaissance Man,” he most recently published a book of his poetry, “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” More information is available on www.tommyhawkins.net.