CLEVELAND (WJW) — The best of the best gathered in downtown Cleveland Wednesday night for the 20th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
The annual award ceremony, presented by Medical Mutual and Huntington Bank is held at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. It celebrates a year of athletic achievements from high school players to professional athletes across northeast Ohio.
Among those in attendance was the Cleveland Browns' new head coach Kevin Stefanski. He was a presenter at the awards show.
The Browns introduced Stefanski as the new head coach a little over a week ago. Now the search continues for a General Manager and his coaching assistants.
Stefanski says the team is continuing to work through the process and they are taking their time and being methodical with the search. It remains to be seen on if they will interview more candidates for the GM position.
Stefanski did confirm that Mike Priefer, the special teams coach, Doug Colman, the assistant special teams coach and Stump Mitchell, the running backs coach, will return next season.
Meanwhile, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic was named the Professional Athlete of the Year. Miocic, a Cleveland native, reclaimed his heavyweight title with a stunning comeback victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 last August.
He was was up against Browns running back Nick Chubb, Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton and Indians catcher Roberto Perez for the Professional Athlete of the Year award.
The Dolan Family, the Cleveland Indians ownership group, received the Lifetime Achievement Award which is given to a person who has dedicated their lives to the advancement of sports in Cleveland.
Lawrence “Larry” J. Dolan purchased the Cleveland Indians in 2000.
Under the Dolan family's ownership, Cleveland Indians have had many successes including being the 2016 American League Champions and five-time American League Central Division Champions in 2001, 2007, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Tribe also made a playoff appearance as an AL Wild Card team in 2013 and competed against the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series.
Since 2000, the Indians have won over 90 games in nine seasons and have been .500 or better in 13 seasons.
Additionally, 13-year-old Skylar Scarnecchia, of Warren, was honored with the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Courage Award.
She was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of soft-tissue cancer, a few years ago and had to have her right foot amputated below the knee as a result of the diagnosis.
Scarnecchia plays basketball, soccer and runs track and field. She is also working as a model and spokesperson to raise awareness about childhood cancer and life after amputation.
Here is the complete list of this year's finalists:
Male High School Athlete of the Year
- Tanyon Bajzer, Hockey, Gilmour Academy
- Kyle Cusimano, Soccer, Bay Village High School *** winner
- Chris Livingston, Basketball, Western Reserve Academy
Female High School Athlete of the Year
- Kierstan Bell, Basketball, Canton McKinley High School
- Kirsten Eppele, Softball, Strongsville High School *** winner
- Paige Floriea, Track & Field, Mentor High School
Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year
- Dominic Canzone, Baseball, The Ohio State University (Walsh Jesuit)
- Danny Cody, Baseball, Baldwin Wallace University (Brecksville-Broadview Heights)
- Jordin James, Wrestling, University of Mount Union (Bedford) *** winner
Female Collegiate Athlete of the Year
- Olivia Bechtel, Track & Field, Miami University, (Bay Village)
- Naz Hillmon, Basketball, University of Michigan (Gilmour Academy) *** winner
- Emily Weigand, Volleyball, University of Akron (Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin)
Professional Athlete of the Year
- Nick Chubb, running back, Cleveland Browns
- Stipe Miocic, UFC Heavyweight Champion, UFC *** winner
- Roberto Perez, catcher, Cleveland Indians
- Collin Sexton, guard, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards not only celebrates the city's professional, collegiate and high school athletic achievements but is also the premier annual fundraiser that supports Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Click here for more on the 20th Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.