Canterbury athletic director Ken Harkenrider told the crowd at the school's annual awards banquet Wednesday night that the “Attitude of Gratitude” is one of his favorite awards handed out at the Cav-Es.
And just before Hailey Hobbs, Nishanth Reddy and Clayton Perry were named as this year's recipients, Harkenrider announced that the award will now be known as the Darby Maggard Attitude of Gratitude award in honor of the basketball star who won two state championships with the Cavaliers and recently concluded a record-breaking basketball career at Belmont University.
Maggard, who was invited as the night's keynote speaker, said she had no idea she was about to become the new namesake of an award she won as a teenager.
“I'm so – just – thankful,” Maggard said afterward. “That's unbelievable, that (Harkenrider) would want to name an award after me. I feel so blessed and honored.”
The recognition is not without precedent. When Maggard was a high school student, the Cavaliers named the Grit and Perseverance award in honor of Austin Hatch, who survived two plane crashes that killed five members of his immediate family and who went on to play basketball at Michigan.
Maggard said she still remembers parts of Hatch's address to her and her classmates.
“He talked a lot about perseverance, and how sports really set you up for where you want to go in life,” Maggard said. “And he's a rock star at being able to give what this world has given him and make the most out of it and stay positive and stay an unbelievably grounded person.”
Maggard, who graduated from Belmont last week, said Harkenrider simply asked her to speak on what sports have meant in her life.
Although she does not have a definitive landing spot yet, the leading 3-point scorer in Ohio Valley Conference history said she has hired an agent and hopes to play basketball professionally overseas.
“My immediate reaction was, 'Wow, that's a really broad topic,'” Maggard said. “I have so much that I could say about sports, but I really had to think and search and say what are the three things, really, that I could talk about?”
Maggard opened her address by noting that she is 5-foot-3 “on a good day,” and once even had a coach suggest that she'd make a better softball catcher than basketball player.
“But I fell in love with the process of trying to become great,” Maggard said.
By her definition, greatness isn't measured by wins or losses or points or goals scored, but by “doing the very best you can do with the tools you are given.”
That attitude reflects the ethos of the Cav-Es as a whole, which include awards for Plays with Passion, Rise to the Occasion and Impact from a Non-Starter instead of more traditional athletic categories.
“It not only awards the athletic part of things, but also the sportsmanship that you have to have on any field or court,” Maggard said. “It was awesome to be able to know that you get up there, and people see you for more than just the points you score or the goals you score.”