She defines what it means to be a good sport. Thrust into the national spotlight during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Sister Jean Delores Schmidt handled her newfound fame with class, grace, humor and humility. Her wit and wisdom captured the hearts of fans across the nation.
In recognition of the graciousness and positive spirit she exuded throughout March Madness – and the kindness and selflessness she has exemplified throughout her life, the 98-year-old chaplain of the Loyola men’s basketball team will be honored at the 2018 Musial Awards. She will receive the prestigious Musial Award for Extraordinary Character at the event in St. Louis on Nov. 17.
The Musial Awards – presented by Maryville University – celebrate the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and the biggest names in sports who embody class and character. The national event and its awards are named for Stan Musial, the late St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer who was the ultimate good sport. Produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, the awards show takes place annually at Stifel Theatre (formerly Peabody Opera House) in Downtown St. Louis.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Sister Jean,” said St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito. “With the Musial Awards, we aim to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. Sister Jean did exactly that through the joy she brought and the way she embraced her sudden celebrity. She personifies the virtues we celebrate – not to mention the qualities for which Stan The Man was known.”
Sister Jean has been a sister in the religious order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 81 years. She has been part of the Loyola community since 1961 and became the chaplain of the men’s basketball team in 1994. In the role, she provides everything from scouting reports to valuable life lessons, making her a beloved member of the Loyola family.
Her national stardom coincided with the Ramblers’ magical run last March, which started in St. Louis when the team won the Missouri Valley Conference championship. An 11th seed entering the NCAA Tournament, Loyola pulled off four straight upsets to reach the Final Four. Along the way, Sister Jean became a media darling and college basketball sensation. But she never let the crush of media attention get to her or let age slow her down. Through it all, she maintained her smile, humble nature and sense of humor. When asked during the tournament about her new national fame, Sister Jean jokingly replied, “Really, if I can correct you, international.”
At the Musial Awards, Sister Jean will be honored among several individuals recognized for extraordinary displays of sportsmanship that represent the best in sports and humanity. The full lineup of honorees will be announced in October with individual announcements made in the preceding weeks.
Past Musial Award recipients include golf legend Arnold Palmer, six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Baseball Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Cal Ripken Jr., women’s basketball star Tamika Catchings, NASCAR champion driver Carl Edwards, and sportscaster Ernie Johnson.
Showtime for the 2018 Musial Awards is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $50 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Stifel Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster ticket centers, or by phone at 800-745-3000. The Musial Awards also offers an Honoree Circle ticket, which includes prime seating, access to the Musial Awards After Party and reserved parking for $100. Honoree Circle tickets and event sponsorships can be purchased at MusialAwards.com/tickets or by calling 314-345-5111.