Dapper Dan: Crosby, Berenato humble winners
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby accepts sportsman of the year award last night at the annual Dapper Dan Dinner at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
Sportswoman of the year, Pitt women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato, autographs a basketball that is to be auctioned off as part of the Dapper Dan dinner festivities last night at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
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Sidney Crosby ducked out early last night, not so much because of any curfew by landlord Mario Lemieux, yet rather due to a couple of important appointments today: a morning skate and then a playoff-vital date with the visiting Philadelphia Flyers tonight.
But Agnus Berenato stayed, all the better to complete this night for Pittsburgh hockey, hoops and more.
Heck, Crosby and Berenato should be used to this particular ceremony by now.
The 72nd annual Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction last night marked the second honor for the Penguins' record-setting captain and the firebrand coach who transformed Pitt women's basketball into an NCAA tournament regular.
They were paid tribute at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Crosby as back-to-back winner of the 2006 and '07 Sportsman of the Year and Berenato as '05 and now '07 Sportswoman of the Year.
"It's very humbling to be up here again this year," Crosby told the weeknight crowd of 1,000-plus. "It definitely means a lot. Obviously, I have to thank my teammates.
"It's been a tough second half for me with the high ankle sprain," Crosby added, referring to the mid-January injury that caused him to miss 21 games, play three, then sit out seven more. That limited him to 52 games thus far, with 22 goals and 69 points, but it didn't hamper the young Penguins, who went 16-8-4 in his absence. "I think our team has shown a lot of character. I can't say how proud I am to see the guys respond like they did.
"We have a young team, but I think we all realize how lucky we are to play in a city with a great sports tradition. ... I feel fortunate to be a part of that [Sportsman] group and represent the city."
Only 20, Crosby is the youngest captain in NHL history, the youngest player to score 100 points in a season and 100 each in his first two seasons, the youngest scoring champion, the youngest to be voted into an All-Star starting lineup, the youngest to win the Art Ross (scoring) and Lester B. Pearson (MVP) awards, among other achievements. Last night, he became the youngest back-to-back and multiple Sportsman winner.
Now, for him, it's back to work against the rival Flyers.
Berenato returned to Oakland a shade earlier than she hoped this week, she and the Pitt women's basketball team losing in the NCAA tournament West Region semifinal Saturday in Spokane, Wash., 72-53, to Stanford -- which since has qualified for the Final Four. She has directed Pitt to 48 victories and the program's inaugural NCAA berths the past two seasons, including the first Sweet 16 spot this year.
"I want to thank you for your blind faith in us," Berenato said to the fans and balloting public. "You ... had blind faith that something neat was about to happen. And I hope we did not disappoint.
"I want to thank everyone who voted for us, and I want to thank everyone who had the confidence in us. I accept this award on behalf of our coaches and our team. ... Ladies, it's your award, too."
Jeannette High School's Terrelle Pryor, honored among 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette scholastic athletes of the year, also received last night his 2007 Parade magazine football player-of-the-year award -- and found out that in Sunday's editions he also will complete the rare double of additionally being named to the Parade All-American high school basketball team after receiving the same plaudit in football three months earlier.
First Published April 2, 2008 12:00 am