Salesianum swim coach Chip Hannig

Salesianum swim coach Chip Hannig

Reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne became the first four-time winner of the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association Athlete of the Year.

Delle Donne has now won the honor in all three phases of her basketball career.

She won the 2008 award after leading Ursuline to one of the four state championships she claimed with the Raiders, and then 2010 and 2012 with the University of Delaware. 

Her 2019 honor came after guiding the Washington Mystics to their first WNBA championship in franchise history, while she won her second MVP trophy.

She became the first player in WNBA history to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from the field, and 95% from the free throw line.

Delle Donne could not be at Monday's ceremony at the Sheraton South, but it was still a special occasion.

Appoquinimink baseball wrapped up just the second perfect season in Delaware prep history to claim the Team of the Year Award.

The team was guided by 25-year-old Mike Torres, who took over the Jags just two weeks before the season started, then led them to perfection.

"The willingness to win, but not only that. The ability to be focused all the way through. It's no easy task for 16-and-17-year-olds to remain focused for 22 straight games, plus all the practices. Having to deal with a new coach with a totally different mindset, it's a kudos to them, really."

Long-time Salesianum swim coach Chip Hannig was honored with the Tubby Raymond Coach of the Year Award.

Hannig, who has guided the Sals to 17 of the past 19 DIAA championships since taking over the program in 2000-2001 season, said while having elite swimmers has been fun, the joy is truly in coaching.

"The number one satisfaction I get out of coaching is taking your kids, and they don't have to be your club swimmers, just your average guy who comes out for your swim team - sometimes the first time he's ever swam - and you take this guy on day one, and figure out where were are at the end the season when we wrap up and you see the strides he's made, that's what it's all about."

The Herm Reitzes Award for Community Service went to John Gretchen, who has helped guide the Diamond State Classic Girls Basketball Tournament for 29 years.

Gretchen pooled together with his fellow referees to host a girls equivalent to the Slam Dunk to the Beach, and after starting with four teams, now hosts 20 annually, including teams from California, Oregon, and Quebec in recent years.

The tournament has also teamed up with Special Olympics and the B+ Foundation to try to inspire the teams, plus spread the causes beyond the borders of the First State.

The Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero award went to Salisbury University football wide receiver Octavian Wilson. 

Wilson overcame heart and nerve injuries to become a key player in the Sea Gulls run to the Elite Eight of the 2019 Division III National Football Tournament.

He started his career at Division III power Mount Union, and the week they would have faced Wesley in a National Quarterfinal, he learned he had an issue with his heart that temporarily derailed his football career.

After his comeback was stalled with a nervous system issue, he got the clearance for one more year of football, and chose to go to Salisbury.

He's signed with an agent, and has a Combine in early April in Saint Louis hoping to make it to the NFL.