by Kelly O’Mara
On Saturday, April 21, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame celebrated its 2012 Awards Gala honoring Jim Corno, president of Comcast SportsNet, as the Sportsman of the Year and Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, as the Athlete of the Year.
The Sportsman of the Year Award is presented to a business leader who is continually giving back to the community in never-ending support of charities and humanitarian causes. With more than 30 years in the regional sports television business in Chicago, Corno has undoubtedly made his mark in the industry. More important to him are his civic accomplishments, which include his commitment to Charitabulls, Chicago White Sox Charities, Blackhawks Charities, Cubs Care, Bears Care, Chicago Fire Foundation, March of Dimes and Special Olympics Illinois, among many others.
Given annually, the Yogi Berra Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a top Italian athlete who excels both on and off the playing field. This year, the NIASHF is proud to recognize Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Votto has become one of baseball’s premier sluggers, earning him the 2010 National League MVP Award.
The awards Gala was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hall of Fame with over 200 guests in attendance. Comcast SportsNet Anchor Sarah Kustok and future baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza served as the masters of ceremonies, making the evening truly memorable.