Joe McDonald Award WinnersThe Joe McDonald Award was developed to give recognition to any Northern Californian for their achievements in handball during the past year, whether as a player or contributor. The award is presented annually at the Hall of Fame banquet by the NCHA president.
2008 -- Rory Moore
This year's recipient is Rory Moore. Rory is being honored for his commitment to promoting handball as the founder and general manager of the Casey Lawlor Cup. The Casey Lawlor Cup is a team worldwide competition event held at the South End Rowing Club pitting the best United States handball players against the best Irish players.
Rory, a true Irishman, is from Westport, County Mayo. He started his handball career in Ireland playing in the large court but quickly adapted to the small courts in the US. Rory plays a very competitive game and is a regular at the South End Rowing Club.
The idea for the Casey Lawlor Cup came to Rory about four years ago during the USHA Nationals in Houston. He saw that the single elimination tournament format did not do a very good job of displaying the immense talent of the professional handball players. After discussing the idea of a team tournament with the Irish and US professionals, the event was scheduled.
In prior years there have been two matches with Team USA winning one while in 2006, Team Ireland squeaked out a win. The next Casey Lawlor Cup is in the process of being scheduled. Rory has put on this event at considerable personal expense and additional support will help to ensure that the event continues to be a part of Northern California handball. Anyone interested in helping Rory with promotion or sponsorships for this great event should contact him at 415-716-6083.
2007 -- Emmett Peixoto
The Joe MacDonald Award is presented to a Northern California Handball Player for outstanding contributions or performance during the previous year. Emmett Peixoto has had an outstanding year:
- 3-wall National Champion
- Olympic Club Champion
- winning the Australia Victoria Cup and national 3-wall title
- Canadian National 4-wall singles and double title
- fourth place at the Simple Green US Open
- first place at USHA Championship Series tournaments in Athens Georgia
- placed Second in New York and Concord
- winning ing this year's 3-wall doubles at Watsonville and Kansas City.
2006 -- Ricardo Diaz
This year's recipient is Ricardo Diaz, the 2006 Collegiate Singles Champion. The Collegiate Tournament was hosted by Texas AM last February. Ricardo won the "Open" singles category against a Brian Carroll in an epic "come-from-behind" match. After losing the first game 21-18, Ricardo was watching his opponent serve with an 18-16 advantage in the second game. Ricardo responded by getting the side-out he needed, which he serve out to force the tiebreaker. In the deciding game, Ricardo raised his intensity while he noticed his opponent starting to tire. The end result was tie breaker (11-6) victory and championship for Ricardo.
Ricardo is well deserving of the 2006 Joe McDonald Award as both a handball champion and a fine example of an ambassador representing our sport.
2005 -- Mike LinnikThe 2005 Joe McDonald Award goes to Mike Linnik in recognition of 2005 wins: 2005 Nationals Houston, Texas-45+ Singles Division Champion, 2005 San Mateo Top Gun Doubles-Open Division, 2005 Watsonville Singles Open Finalist, 2005 Modesto Singles Open Finalists, 2005 NorCal Regional Masters Singles Champion.
2004 -- Jim PeixotoThe 2004 Joe McDonald Award goes to Jim Peixoto in recognition for his work in founding and promoting the Professional Handball Association (PHA). The PHA was responsible for The Ultimate Handball Showdown, held earlier this year at the Washington Athletic Club. This tournament featured $135,000 in prize money, the largest purse ever for a handball event, and brought handball to a national television audience. Under Jim's leadership, the PHA is continuing to promote the perfect game, with new professional events for men and women.
2003-- Kevan Del GrandeThe winner of the 2003 Joe McDonald award is Kevan Del Grande. Kevan is the most dominant player in the nation in the 70's division winning three national titles this year in both singles and doubles, his latest being the singles and doubles slam at the USHA national championships at the Michigan Athletic Club in East Lansing. He is a USHA Grand Master, winning more than ten national championships and puts him in the United States Handball Association Hall of Fame. In 1998 he was also inducted into the Northern California Handball Hall of Fame.
Kevan has a long history of masters handball victories. He has won almost every handball tournament held in the bay area including many regional titles. His tremendous victories for the San Jose YMCA during the infamous Bay Counties League days are legendary. Kevin is most known for his retrieving abilities, quick hands, fist kills, and his tremendous competitiveness. He is a true winner. He is the winner of the Joe McDonald Award because of his strong play for the year of 2003.
2002 -- Brendan McDevittThe 2002 Joe McDonald Award goes to Brendan McDevitt for his work in revitalizing the Golden Gate Handball courts and spearheading the youth program in San Francisco schools. Brendan has been in involved in all aspects of this project. Brendan took the initiative of developing detail plans to restore the handball courts. He created a non-profit vehicle to receive donations, met with City Officials and got the plans approved. He organized a small group of dedicated Golden Gate Handball players to assist with implementation and fundraising activities. A new roof will be installed at the courts beginning September 23rd. Future improvements have also been planned. This semester, a number of schools in San Francisco will include handball in the P.E. classes with special field trips planned to the revitalized Golden Gate Park Handball Courts.
2001 -- Rich DunneThe inaugural award goes to Rich Dunne for his achievements on the court this year. Starting in June, 2000 he won the 4-wall national 35 doubles with his brother, Mike, followed by the 3-wall national 35 doubles in September. In October Rich teamed with Rich Vasquez to win the world 35 doubles. Then came the national masters invitational 35 doubles title, again with Mike, and then a repeat in the 2001 4-wall national 35 doubles. Five major tournaments, five titles, and the Joe McDonald Award!
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