Sports Star of the Year Award Winners (1950-1959)

1950

Stan Sayres
Hydroplane Pioneer

An early pioneer in speed boat racing, Sayres is responsible for making Seattle the hyrdoplane capital of the country. His Slo-Mo IV broke the world water speed record of 160 miles per hour in 1950 prior to winning the APBA Gold Cup and the Harmsworth Cup.

1951

Hugh McElhenny
UW All-American and All-Pro

According the the Pro Football Hall of Fame, “McElhenny was to pro football in the 1950s and early 1960s what Elvis Presley was to rock and roll.” He set the single season scoring record as an All-American fullback at Washington before playing 13 years in the NFL. He retired as one of three players to amass over 11,000 yards and was named to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team.

1952

Johnny O’Brien
Seattle U Basketball All-American and MLB Player

At just 5-foot-8, O’Brien became the first college basketball player to score 1,000 points in a season and went on to play six seasons of Major League Baseball. He is the shortest player to be named an NCAA All-American, and spent time as a SU sportscaster and executive at the Kingdome after he retired.

1953

Arnie Weinmeister
Pro Football Hall of Famer

Weinmeister played one of the shortest careers of any Pro Football Hall of Famer — named to four Pro Bowls in just six years, the majority with the New York Giants. He played tackle, fullback, and end during his collegiate career at UW that was interrupted by four years of service in an Army artillery division.

1954

Arnold Riegger
Champion Marksman

For a span of several years, Riegger was the elite trap-shooter in the country. He won the Grand National trap-shooting championship the same year he was honored with this award, and later represented the US in the 1960 Olympic Games.

1955

Pat Lesser Harbottle
Golf Champion and Female Sports Trailblazer

The first woman to win Sports Star of the Year, Harbottle tallied a pair of amateur golf titles as well as the 1953 Women’s National Collegiate Championship. She was also one of the first female golfers to compete for a men’s collegiate team — at Seattle University in 1952.

1956

Pete Rademacher
Olympic Boxing Champion

Rademacher became a boxing legend when he became the only boxer to fight for the world heavyweight championship in his first professional fight — defeated in the seventh round by champion Floyd Patterson in Seattle. The Yakima County native won gold in heavyweight boxing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

1957

Joanne Gunderson Carner
US Golf Champion

Carner became the first golfer ever to win three different USGA championships — the U.S. Girls’ Junior, U.S. Women’s Amateur, and U.S. Women’s Open. The Kirkland native won 50 LPGA events and $2 million in earnings before her 30th birthday, and was later named to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

1958

Elgin Baylor
Seattle University Basketball

One of basketball’s all-time greats, Baylor racked up eight NBA Finals appearances, 11 All Star seasons, and the third-highest scoring average in NBA history. The long-time Lakers guard played two collegiate seasons at Seattle University, averaging 31.2 points and 19.8 rebounds per game in 1958 to power his team to the NCAA title game against to Kentucky.

1959

Jim Owens
UW Football Coach

The predecessor to Don James, Owens revived the UW football program with back-to-back Rose Bowl victories. His 18-year tenure at the helm of Husky football ended in 1974 after a 99-82-6 career record, three Rose Bowl appearances, and the first national championship in Washington history.

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