ESPN Wisconsin Sports Awards Names Aaron Rodgers Pro Athlete Of 2011

By Michael Terrill

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun highlighted the ESPN Wisconsin Sports Awards Thursday night. Rodgers took home Professional Athlete of the Year.

Rodgers was nominated alongside Braun, former Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and golfer Steve Stricker. Along with the night’s main honor, Rodgers also received the award for Player of the Year and represented the Packers for Team of the Year.

“Lifelong Packers who embody what it means to be a Packer,” said Rodgers. “They stay in the family and that is a unique bond. I guarantee that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

Rodgers was referring to Packers legend Bart Starr along with several other Green Bay alumni. Other Packers in attendance were A.J. Hawk, Jarrett Bush, Ahman Green and Mark Chmura.

It was certainly a great year to be a Wisconsin sports fan. The Packers started out 2011 with a bang by winning their 13th NFL Championship and fourth Super Bowl in franchise history. Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP and rightfully so. Stricker took first place in the Memorial Tournament as well as the John Deere Classic. The Wisconsin Badgers came out victorious in the first ever Big Ten Championship game and went to their second-consecutive Rose Bowl. The Brewers won a franchise-best 96 games and were crowned National League Central division winners for the first time in the organization’s history. Milwaukee went on to win their first NLDS and were two games away from appearing in the World Series for the second time in franchise history. Braun was named the National League MVP.  The Packers capped off the year with a franchise-best 15-1 record and Rodgers was named the NFL MVP.

In the biggest surprise of the night Brewers manager Ron Roenicke beat out Packers head coach Mike McCarthy for Coach of the Year. This was surprising of course because McCarthy brought the Lombardi Trophy back home to Titletown. Nonetheless, Roenicke won the award rightfully so after his incredible first year as a manager. Roenicke thanked everybody involved with Milwaukee’s championship run.

The inaugural ESPN Wisconsin Sports Awards was a success. I am so glad the state, ESPN and all of the great people who make Wisconsin sports enjoyable were able to come together in a celebration of their outstanding accomplishments.

The following is a list of all of the night’s winners:

High school girl’s basketball player of the year: Samantha Logic

High school boy’s basketball player of the year: Sam Dekker

High school football player of the year: Vince Biegel

College coach of the year: Lance Leipold

College player of the Year: Montee Ball

College team of the year: UW-Whitewater football

Professional athlete of the year: Aaron Rodgers

Game of the year: Super Bowl XLV

Coach of the year: Ron Roenicke

Player of the year: Aaron Rodgers

Team of the year: Green Bay Packers

Fan friendly team of the year: Milwaukee Brewers

Baird community-involved player of the year: A.J. Hawk

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