Saint Joseph's women's basketball senior Avery Marz was named the Philadelphia Sports Writers' Association's Most Courageous Athlete on Monday evening at the organization's 114th Annual Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill.
The PSWA's signature award, the Most Courageous Athlete, has been presented annually since 1936 to an athlete who exemplifies courage in the face of adversity. Marz joins a list of honored athletes that includes, Mickey Mantle, Ben Hogan, Dizzy Dean, Tom Dempsey, Babe Zaharias, Roy Campanella, Jim Abbott and 2017 recipient Bill Lyon among others.
• Avery Marz Awarded Most Courageous By Philadelphia Sports Writers - Philadelphia Inquirer
• Most Courageous: St. Joe’s Avery Marz Battles Back Onto Court After Stroke - Daily Times
• This, Too, Shall Pass - SJU Magazine, Summer 2016
A highly-touted guard coming out of Wilson West Lawn High School, Marz suffered a stroke while moving into her dorm as a freshman in August of 2014. Working at home with physical therapists and her family to regain full motion in her left arm and leg, she took a medical leave for the fall semester, but returned to Saint Joseph's University in January of 2015.
Rejoining the Hawks the second semester of her freshman year, Marz continued to rehab and work towards making her collegiate debut over the next two seasons. After appearing in three games in a Saint Joseph's uniform during the Hawks' tour of Italy this past August, Marz appeared in her first Division I game on November 12 as she scored three points in a season-opening win at Niagara.
A key contributor for the Hawks making 11 appearance, with two starts, Marz was also selected as the United States Basketball Writers Association's 2018 Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award recipient in December. The Sinking Spring, Pa., native will be presented with the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the organization's annual press conference March 30 in Nationwide Arena.
“I would say, honestly, in terms of being courageous, I think everyone kind of goes through something in their life. Maybe some go through multiple struggles. I honestly was lucky enough not to have that much of a bumpy road until college. Finally, I had this huge thing that came into my life. At that point, I had to be courageous. I had to find some way to find some kind of strength in me,” Marz said.
Among others honored at Monday's banquet were Carson Wentz (Pro Athlete of the Year), the Houston Astros (Team of the Year) Kyle Lowry (Native Son Award), T.J. McConnell (Good Guy), broadcaster Marc Zumoff (Bill Campbell Award), Garry Maddox (Living Legend), Ron Jaworski (special achievement), South Jersey baseball coach Joseph Hartmann (Ed Snider Humanitarian Award) and Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann (Stan Hochman Award).