AUBURN – Jann Swaim, adviser to the Auburn University Bass Sports Club, has been named American Outdoor Sportsman of the Year by the Legends of the Outdoors organization. He will receive the award Aug. 14 at the group’s National Hall of Fame banquet in Nashville, which honors those who have blazed trails in the outdoor world and have set standards in their respective field.
Swaim, who retired in 2010 after 27 years of work with Auburn University, helped found the fishing club in 2007, after seeing a need for a competition outlet for interested students.
“The kids came to me and wanted a club patterned after collegiate sports,” Swaim said. “Using the collegiate format has allowed us to create a base in which to begin the process of learning team concepts and applications.”
Swaim created the Southern Collegiate Bass Fishing Series in December 2007, a trail which consists of three tournaments and a championship. The series is based on team competition, giving each school a win-loss record at the end of the season; this series is the only collegiate series that gives such a record. This year, more than 120 anglers representing 17 universities competed in the series championship. It is the series that has earned Swaim many praises, including this award.
“The Southern Collegiate Bass Fishing Series has quickly become the series in which all of the college bass teams want to participate and be involved with,” said Garry Mason, founder and executive director of Legends of the Outdoors. “Mr. Swaim and his staff have helped to create a truly remarkable atmosphere for these young college anglers to compete on a college level in the sport that they love. He is a true American outdoorsman.”
Swaim said he is flattered but also humbled to be among the past winners of this award.
“Awards like this are given to people who are well-known people,” said Swaim. “These are people who have outstanding achievement and performance and I don’t feel like I’ve done that. I’m beginning to realize that, but all I was trying to do was get the kids able to compete for Auburn.”
Daniel Holland, a 2011 Auburn graduate and former bass club president, however, is not surprised by Swaim’s recognition.
“He deserves this, hands down, for what he’s done for college fishing,” said Holland. “College fishing wouldn’t be where it is without him.”
(Contributed by Katie Horn.)