The best of the best in sports in Middle Tennessee over the past year will be honored in the upcoming Pepsi Celebration of Champions.
The list of candidates and honorees have been announced for the annual celebration, now in its 16th year, which is set for Feb. 26 at the Grand Ole Opry House.
MTSU track coach Dean Hayes will be honored with the Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award. Hayes has spent 49 years as head coach of the Blue Raiders and has guided his teams to 29 Ohio Valley Conference championships and much more.
Tennessee Titans linebacker Jonathan Williard will be presented with the Kaia Jergenson Award for Courage after he pulled a woman, her children and their dog out of a burning car on Interstate 40 last July.
And the event will also honor the best high school and college athletes, plus the pro and amateur athletes of the year.