MINNEAPOLIS — Former NFL coach Tony Dungy has presented Carson-Newman football coach Ken Sparks with the inaugural Uncommon Award, which recognizes an individual for his or her "uncommon leadership through character and faith."
Sparks received the award last week at a banquet in Minneapolis. Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was also a participant.
“It makes you think that maybe the Lord has used you to have some influence and some impact,” Sparks said. “That’s what we all want to do; we want to honor the Lord with some things that make a difference for eternity.
“The fact that it’s the first one ever picked, that it’s picked by Tony Dungy — that makes it special. I receive it on behalf of the Lord and on behalf of every kid that played for me — because they’ve been uncommon as well.”
The statue for the Uncommon Award is adorned with representations of Dungy’s father, Wilbur Dungy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dungy’s college coach, Cal Stoll.
“It’s very humbling,” Sparks said. “To know that it’s not about you. To know that a guy coaching at Carson-Newman, who has chosen to be at Carson-Newman for most of his career, it means a lot that the Lord can encourage him by letting him know that what he’s done does make a difference.”
Sparks is entering his 34th year coaching the Eagles. With 308 career victories, he is six away from tying Roy Kidd and Amos Alonzo Stagg for seventh on the all-time wins list for any division.