TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Brent Hardin, director and co-founder of The University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics Program, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Frederick Moody Blackmon-Sarah McCorkle Moody Outstanding Professor Award.
Hardin will receive the award Friday in a ceremony at the President’s Mansion at UA.
The Blackmon-Moody Award is one of the most prestigious awards given annually by UA. It is based on a specific accomplishment that is innovative, creative, useful, or captures the imagination.
The award was created by Frederick Moody Blackmon, of Montgomery, to honor the memory of his grandmother, Sarah McCorkle Moody, of Tuscaloosa.
Athletes, coaches and administrators in adapted sport from across UA, the United States and the world nominated Hardin for his contributions to adapted sport, particularly in growing UA’s infrastructure and brand, but also for using sport as a vehicle to support all peoples with disabilities.
Jason Harnett, head coach of the United States Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis team, said Hardin’s contributions to the disabled community is “almost immeasurable” and that Hardin and UA are “transforming and creating the template for success” that other universities should follow.
“The vision of Dr. Hardin has been clear from the beginning: to create the strongest, most reputable and sustainable disabled sporting program in the country,” Harnett said. “In our mind, this goal has been attained, and more.”
Hardin, along with wife and decorated Paralympian, Dr. Margaret Stran, launched UA’s Adapted Athletics program in 2003. Then, the program fielded just a women’s wheelchair basketball team, but has since grown to include competitive teams in a variety of sports, as well as non-competitive sporting options to more than 100 UA students. UA is home to six national championships in wheelchair basketball (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017).Wheelchair tennis has won three national championships (2013, 2015, 2017).
UA Adapted Athletics will move into its $10 million multi-purpose training facility – the first of its kind on a college campus – at the end of the year.
“I’m thankful for this award and I’m honored when I consider past faculty winners and their achievements,” Hardin said. “But to me, it’s a team award. Everything I’ve done is a result of hundreds of people who’ve done things to help me.
“I feel really blessed and lucky to have landed at Alabama, a place that cares about students with disabilities and sees adapted athletics as a bright light for the university.”
The other semi-finalists for the award, whose contributions are also noteworthy, included:
-Dr. David Dixon, Robert Ramsay Chair in chemistry and a UA faculty member since 2004, is a world leader in the field of computational chemistry. His work has received many professional accolades, including a prestigious 2010 award from the Department of Energy for his outstanding contributions. His work relates to research on nuclear energy and the environmental fate of nuclear materials.
-Dr. Sara McDaniel, associate professor in the department of special education and multiple abilities, and a UA faculty member since 2011. She is a national leader in research on preventing and treating behavior problems and improving student outcomes and school climate. In 2015, she established the Alabama Positive Behavior Support Office, a statewide center for training and coaching Alabama schools and districts on evidence-based positive behavior support practices.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.