As College Ultimate has evolved, the Callahan Award has evolved along with it. Now entering its 18th year, the Callahan Award has undergone a series of changes and 2013 will introduce several new changes that are intended to help the Callahan with its two primary goals: (1) the recognition of College Ultimate’s most valuable players, and (2) promoting College Ultimate.
This year the Callahan Award begins a series of steps that we hope will assist college ultimate as it enters into its next stage of development: the rise of College Ultimate as a spectator sport.
This next stage has clearly started and although it’s difficult to plot the exact course (Streaming games? Showcase games at tournaments? Live TV coverage? Barnstorming?) the immediate task at hand is clear: popularizing the sport not only to existing ultimate players, but to general college sports fans interested in an exciting sport filled with great athletes and personalities.
To promote College Ultimate the Callahan Award is making a significant change to the nomination process: we’re moving the date team’s nominated players to earlier in the season. As a transition this year’s nomination period will end in mid-March, next year’s will be even earlier.
We’re asking for the help of all college teams in determining who their Callahan candidate is for this year and getting their nomination in before the nomination period closes. We realize organizationally this is making it a little harder on teams. We realize that Callahan candidates will go through the season with a little bit of a burden on their shoulder, “in the crosshairs” so to speak, but we’re confident those players designated as Callahan candidates are up for it.
To assist in these changes, the Callahan Award is teaming up with Skyd Magazine. Over the past two decades USA Ultimate (and its predecessor organization, the UPA) have done a great job advancing Ultimate, but I feel many of the sport’s most significant advances have frequently be made through the work and vision people outside of our national organization.
In that small group I’d absolutely include Elliot Trotter, the editor-in-chief of Skyd. Elliot’s been involved in a wide variety of projects (including what may turn-out to be the most significant of all, the RISE UP series of coaching videos) and I’m excited to be working with him and Skyd on the Callahan Award.
The involvement of Skyd is helping the Callahan Award with another significant change: the creation of a “technical committee” that can identify 5 of the top players in the Open and Women’s divisions that they feel are worthy of the Callahan Award and additional coverage. Every team can (and should!) nominate a player for the Callahan and any of these players can win the Award, but this “Skyd 5” will act like a crib sheet for the casual ultimate fan. If you’re watching a College Ultimate game and one of these players are on the field, that’s someone you’ll want to be paying special attention to.
With the continuing assistance and support of USA Ultimate, and the energy and ideas of Skyd, I’m excited about the future of the Callahan Award as it gets ready to enter its third decade of highlighting the best players in College Ultimate.
Founder, Callahan Award
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com