The DNA Award is a prestigious award presented to those who have dedicated their lives to sports and are recognized, metaphorically, as part of the deoxyribonucleic acid of sports in Oregon. Pacific University’s Special Assistant to Athletics Judy Sherman was presented this award Feb. 12 in front of 800 people, including Sherman’s friends and family.
Sherman has been with Pacific since 1967 and Sherman said she has never stopped loving sports.
“I’ve kinda had a passion for sport,” said Sherman. “All sport.”
She has been involved in Pacific’s volleyball, track and field, basketball, swimming and field hockey programs. She coached women’s basketball in 1969 and brought them to the Women’s Conference of Independent Colleges championships. When she coached the volleyball team, Sherman brought them to the 1981 and 1982 Women’s Conference of Independent Colleges Championship as well.
Softball was the first sport Sherman played and still holds close to her heart. She coached softball for 28 years and was head coach for Pacific’s softball team. In her 28 seasons, she totaled 418 wins with her team. She coached Pacific’s softball team into seven national tournaments. With her help from 1980 through 1985, softball won six conference titles in a row.
The career history Sherman holds with Pacific is noteworthy as well. Her past position as Women’s Athletic Director lead to being Director of Athletics for Pacific University from 1993 until 2004.
“I’m being recognized for my passion for sport,” said Sherman. “I don’t think you can be recognized for anything any better than your passion for something.”
With a long history in sports, this isn’t the first award she has earned. Sherman was elected into the 1988 National Association Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, being the first softball coach to do so. That same year Sherman was listed in the National Intercollegiate Athletics District II Hall of Fame. In 1992, she was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She is even in Pacific’s 2005 Athletic Hall of Fame. Pacific retired softball jersey No. 1 in Sherman’s honor in recognition of her work both with the sport and students.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life, but this award is for a lifetime of passion, a lifetime career,” said Sherman. “It’s not just one thing, not just working at Pacific. It’s not just working with softball, it’s for my life career and my life passion, which is how it differs from awards I’ve gotten in the past.”
The subject of this award is fairly broader than in her past acknowledgments.
“Humbling, I guess, is the best way to look at it,” said Sherman.
She said she has to credit this award to the people who have supported her over the years on and off the field.
“I feel that I carry a little bit of a weight because I don’t only represent myself,” said Sherman. “I feel a responsibility to others. I’m not just Judy Sherman up there on that stage, but a lot of factions.”
Assistant coaches, hundreds of athletes, colleagues here at Pacific, the Northwest Conference colleagues and especially the women at the Women’s Conference of Independent Colleges were just some of the individuals Sherman said she represents.
Her selflessness makes sense because Sherman is a teamwork-motivated athlete.
“I like the strategies and I like the competition, but when you look at the sports I’ve really been involved with they are team sports,” said Sherman. “I like the idea of teamwork, camaraderie of the group, building friendships, trying to make others better and the feeling of being involved in a team.” The date of the ceremony for this award is a significant triple-threat. With the conclusion of Women’s Sport Week and the 40-year celebration of Title IX passing, which gave women’s sports equal opportunity in federal assisted programs, Sherman said this award is more meaningful given the date.
“I’m getting this award, it’s Girls and Women’s Sports Week and the 40th anniversary of Title IX, how cool is that? To be a woman celebrated under those conditions is great.”
Sherman is still involved with athletics at Pacific. Her passion for sports has not faltered as she still enjoys being around the student athletes. Sherman said she was a bit in awe by this whole occasion.
“My passion for sport and my love of Oregon, I can’t think of a better thing to be recognized for,” she said.
The idea of the ceremony brought upon a nervous feeling, said Sherman, but also one of anticipation.
“I’m in excitement mode,” said Sherman. “I just hope my feet get me up the stairs and across the stage without tripping.”
The ceremony was held Feb. 12 at the Tiger Woods Center at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Sherman accepted the award on solid feet.