From individual awards, to recognition of a 100-year-old icon, to a celebration of B.G. Gould — which included a congratulatory video from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski — the fourth annual Southern Oregon Sports Commission was a hit.
South Medford football player Jaylin Parnell was named the SOSC male athlete of the year, and Southern Oregon University distance runner Jessa Perkinson earned the female award at a packed Santo Community Center, each beating out distinguished fields of four other finalists.
Dan Bulkley, a former SOU coach and teacher who won 492 medals and set 17 world age-group records in masters competitions, received the inaugural Spirit of Competition Award, and learned that it will be named for him.
Bulkley turned 100 last May and celebrated by running 100 meters.
Gould, a longtime Medford School District sports statistician and an unabashed and tireless ambassador of the region’s sports and the people who play and coach them, received the SOSC’s top honor, the Sports Advocate Award.
A parade of well-known sports figures shared stories about him.
In addition to Krzyzewski — the winningest coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball — tributes came in person, via video and through letters.
Former South Medford boys basketball coach and athletic director Dennis Murphy served as emcee for Gould’s portion of the program.
“Most of us,” said Murphy, “if we had an event like this, wouldn’t fill a table. And Gould fills a basketball arena. Only the legend, B.G. Gould.”
Murphy coached Kyle Singler, who starred at Duke and is now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Murphy told how he twice tried to get into Duke practices when he visited during Singler’s college days, but wasn’t admitted.
Gould not only got in when he traveled to Durham, North Carolina, said Murphy, but “Coach K stops coaching and goes over and visits with him. A legend.”
Speakers who made it to the event were Linfield coaching great Ad Rutschman, Lewis and Clark football coach Jay Locey, former Medford High standout Scott Spiegelberg, Mail Tribune sports writer Kris Henry and South Medford football coach Bill Singler.
Other video tributes were by Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey and South Medford girls basketball coach Tom Cole.
Those who wrote notes to be shared were University of Oregon radio voice Jerry Allen, former Oregon State football coach Mike Riley and Portland Tribune sports writer Kerry Eggers.
Kyle Singler said he knows how much being a part of sports means to Gould.
“Coming from my brother (E.J.) and I,” said Kyle Singler, “we appreciate all you do for the high schools and colleges. I know you bleed sports, bleed Medford and Southern Oregon, so congratulations. It’s well deserved.”
Krzyzewski said he smiles whenever he says Gould’s name “because a smile came to my face every time we came up and recruited Kyle and you were there for us. You’ve brought a lot of smiles to the faces of thousands and thousands of people. You have a genuine love of sport and people who play and coach it.”
Coach K congratulated Gould on the award and said, “I think you should be named every year. It’s good to be your friend, and again, very proud of you and happy for you, my man.”
Allen told of debuting Medford High broadcasts on KYJC when he got his start in radio.
“We had to learn the current coaches, the players and the history of Medford sports,” wrote Allen, who was raised in Grants Pass. “And the guy who got us started and taught us what we needed to know was, we’ll call him ‘The Professor,’ B.G. Gould.”
The program began with a video presentation honoring the Mail Tribune’s Top 10 stories of 2017, followed by Bukley’s award.
“I appreciate this attention,” said Bulkley. “It’s not often somebody stands up and says something about you after you’re 100 years old.”
“I hope this award and recognition will continue for years and years for coaches and athletes who should be up here instead of me,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Perkinson, the most decorated athlete in SOU history as a 10-time All-American, said she was inspired by the stories she heard during the proceedings.
“I’m so glad to be here with all of you guys,” said the SOU senior. “Sometimes we think all the hard work and countless hours we put in goes unnoticed, but it doesn’t. Great job, everybody.”
The other female finalists were Louisville softball player Maryssa Becker, Phoenix runner Danielle Jantzer, North Medford wrestler Kyleigh Lopez and Cascade Christian volleyball player Caroline McMahon.
Parnell led South Medford to the Class 6A football championship game. A linebacker, he was state defensive player of the year and also made first-team all-state as a running back.
“I’m not much of a talker,” he said, “but I’d like to thank my parents, my teammates and lastly, my coach, Bill Singler, for giving me an opportunity and just really believing in me.”
Other male finalists were Crater runner Andy Monroe, Cascade Christian football player Haiden Schaan, SOU football player Tanner Trosin and Northwestern University golfer Dylan Wu.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com.