INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Sports Corp will present the 2020 National Pathfinder Award and 2020 Inspiring Sports Storyteller Award at this year’s State of Sports: From Cancel to Comeback presented by Group1001 fundraising event. CBS Sports Commentator Jim Nantz will be honored as the National Pathfinder recipient. Sage Steele, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor, will be honored alongside Nantz as the 2020 Inspiring Sports Storyteller. These trailblazers will be recognized virtually on Thursday, December 10 from 4:30 to 6:00 PM ET.
The Pathfinder Award, presented annually since 1988 by Indiana Sports Corp, honors individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of America’s youth. This award is typically bestowed at the annual Pathfinder Luncheon which has transformed and rebranded into a free virtual event this year due to COVID-19. This year’s program, Indiana Sports Corp’s State of Sports: From Cancel to Comeback, will discuss the state of sports here in Indy, and reflect on the past year of cancellations and postponements while looking forward to the future and Indy’s comeback.
Nantz, a three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year, joined the CBS Television Network in 1985. Nantz currently serves as lead play-by-play announcer and anchor for The NFL on CBS, the PGA Tour, Masters, and college basketball. In 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019, Nantz completed a rare broadcasting triple by becoming the first commentator in history to broadcast the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Final Four, and the Masters - all in the same year.
In 2011, Nantz returned to Houston to create the Nantz National Alzheimer Center (NNAC) with Houston Methodist Hospital. Jim Nantz Jr., Nantz’s father, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for 13 years before passing. As a lifelong inspiration to him, Nantz chronicled his father’s story in his book, Always by My Side. The book became the highest ranked sports book in 2008, inspiring Nantz to open the NNAC. The NNAC is dedicated to funding innovative diagnostic discoveries for early and accurate detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The NNAC also focuses on the possible connection between concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in athletes and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Indiana Sports Corp is honored to present Jim Nantz this year’s Pathfinder Award,” said Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp. “Jim has brought us all some of the most incredible moments in sports over the last forty years. He has been a leader, friend, and mentor to many in sports industry and sports broadcasting field. Inspired by the life of his father and the disease that took his life, Jim is also a philanthropist focused on finding treatment and providing care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s including athletes who have suffered head trauma. His professional and personal pursuits exemplify what it means to be a Pathfinder Award recipient.”
Steele, one of ESPN’s most popular and respected commentators, currently serves as the anchor for the 6 PM ET SportsCenter and the lead host for SportsCenter on the Road. Steele’s roles with SportsCenter include on-site, day-long coverage of the biggest sporting events of the year. Her television career began in South Bend, Ind. before moving to WISH-TV in Indianapolis. At WISH-TV, she was a beat reporter for the Indianapolis Colts and the Indiana Pacers, in addition to covering the 1997 NCAA Men’s Final Four, NASCAR, and the IndyCar Series. Steele graduated from Indiana University in 1995 and has since been a voice for Indiana stories.
Steele is a leader in the media industry and an advocate for the advancement of women in sports. Most recently, Steele served as host during the ESPNW Women’s Summit, which addressed opportunities for the advancement of women across industries, the marketing of female athletes, and the business of women’s sports. Steele’s reporting ranges from national sporting events to glass ceiling breaking news, with a focus on using her platform to share meaningful and impactful stories. In addition to representing women within the industry, Steele is a board member for the Pat Tillman Foundation and is passionate about working alongside military veterans.
“Sage embodies the qualities we look for in an Inspiring Sports Storyteller Award winner,” said Vaughn. “Sage has been a pioneer for women in the sports industry, a leader in sports broadcasting and, when appropriate, an unapologetically proud Hoosier! She brings sports to life in a fun and passionate way and we’re excited to recognize her for her success.”
This is the 33rd year Indiana Sports Corp has presented the Pathfinder Award. Over the years, the Pathfinder Award has honored a tremendous list of recipients including Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Jeff and Karen Saturday, John Wooden, Jeff Gordon, Larry Bird, Governor Mitch Daniels, Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Dick Vitale, among others.
Registration for the event is FREE, but participants can upgrade their viewing while supporting Indiana Sports Corp by purchasing an At-Home Gift Package. For just $100, individuals can donate to Indiana Sports Corp’s mission and also receive a Hotel Tango Cocktail Kit, NCAA Final Four hoodie, and Indiana Sports Corp long sleeve shirt. Additional information can be found at IndianaSportsCorp.org.
About Indiana Sports Corp
Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit IndianaSportsCorp.org.