Nationally renowned painter Brian Fox has been named the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) 2020 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter. Officials with the university said Fox was selected “because of his meticulous attention to detail and uncanny ability to capture the iconic expressions of his larger-than-life subjects.”
The resident of Somerset, Mass., specializes in painting the world’s greatest legends in sports and music. Fox has painted some of the biggest icons of our time, including the late Jackie Robinson, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, actor Johnny Depp, boxer Muhammad Ali, baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter and soccer superstar Pelé.
“Being recognized by a prestigious organization such as the United States Sports Academy is an incredible honor,” Fox said. “I am as humbled as I am grateful.
“Having been selected for this honor is truly one of the highlights of my career, especially given that I’m in the company of such talented artists as Stephen Holland and LeRoy Neiman — previous recipients — who have positively influenced my life’s work.”
The Sport Artist of the Year award presentation is part of USSA’s annual Academy’s Awards of Sport event and reception scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 12, at the USSA campus in Daphne. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Academy’s 36th annual Awards of Sport program, a celebration of sport and art, plus a “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.”
According to USSA, Fox has exhibited his works in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Lexington, Ky. His art is also featured in numerous galleries around the country. During the course of a 20-year career, Fox has also been able to forge relationships with celebrities, athletes, corporations and charitable organizations. Because of those affiliations, Fox’s work can be found in many corporate and private collections, including those owned by singer Steven Tyler, NFL quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, actor Mark Wahlberg, NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and many others.
In addition to being honored as the official artist for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic, Fox has been selected as the official commemorative artist for Major League Baseball’s 2007-09 All-Star Games, as well as the official artist for the 2007 World Series held in Boston.
USSA’s Awards of Sport honor those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. Its American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Medallion Series, Honorary Doctorates, Athletes of the Year and Alumni of the Year awards.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sports art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is free and open to the public weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mobile loses sports legend
Spring Hill College (SHC) has announced that Badger alumnus and athletic star Francis “Frank” Bolling (Class of 1954) passed away July 13 following a five-year battle with cancer. He was 88.
A member of the Alabama Sports (Class of 1982), Mobile Sports (Class of 1990) and SHC Athletic (Class of 1973) halls of fame, Bolling graduated from what was then called McGill Institute in Mobile before beginning his collegiate baseball career with the Badgers. At the prep and collegiate levels of play, he earned all-state and all-conference honors in both baseball and basketball.
Bolling began his professional baseball career in 1951 as second baseman for a minor league team of the Detroit Tigers. He then began a 12-year career in Major League Baseball (MLB) where he was given the moniker of “The Flying Tiger” and earned the Gold Glove Award in 1958. In 1954, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years, playing for the All-Army Championship Baseball Team. Bolling spent five seasons (1961-66) with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, where he was voted to the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor in 2019.
Frank and older brother Milt Bolling formed the Detroit Tigers’ double-play combination in 1958, as one of only four infield brother combinations in MLB history. In recognition of their careers, the address at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile is 755 Bolling Brothers Boulevard. Milt, who played shortstop in the Major Leagues for seven seasons, died in 2013.
Frank’s first hit in the majors was a home run, but he later considered his grand slam off Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax in 1965 as his hitting highlight. That homer also happened to be the final one hit at Milwaukee County Stadium, as the Braves relocated to Atlanta for the 1966 season.
Named by the players to the National League All-Star Team in 1961 and 1962, Frank played 72 consecutive games without error, just one shy of the then record. He finished his career with a .254 batting average, 106 home runs and 556 runs batted in during the 1,540 games he played.
Bolling celebrated 60 years of marriage to the late Suanne “Su” Hillman Bolling, to whom he publically dedicated many of his awards. He is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, his sister, Carolyn Bolling Davis Earnhart of Fairhope, and numerous nieces and nephews.
University of South Alabama (USA) softball signees Olivia Lackie and Abby Allen ended their prep careers with honors.
Lackie, a pitcher from Holden, La., was selected to the PGF (Premier Girls Fastpitch) Watch List for the Southwest Region. A nominee for the Louisiana Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Lackie earned first-team all-state honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) each of her first four varsity seasons. She has also been named the Class B state tournament Most Valuable Player three times.
Allen, who made the move to third this spring after playing the last three seasons at the catcher position in Monroe, La., ended her prep career holding the program’s home run record with 56. She was selected as LSWA’s Miss Softball in 2018, the title of Class 5A MVP, as well as being a three-time, first-team all-state performer by LSWA and a two-time, first-team all-state selection by the coaches.
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