The StarTribune sports staff has been naming a Sportsperson of the Year since 1998. Printed courtesy of the Star-Tribune. Names appearing in RED are links for those that were speakers at Twin Cities Dunkers.
2020: Eric Kendricks
The Vikings linebacker turned his private work into public activism after the killing of George Floyd.
2019: Nelson Cruz
The veteran slugger brought clout to the Twins, on the field and in the clubhouse.
2018: Maggie Nichols
The Little Canada native dominated the NCAA gymnastics championships as Oklahoma’s star — three months after courageously revealing herself as “Athlete A,” the first source in the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal.
2017: Cheryl Reeve
The coach behind the united, thoughtful, powerful Minnesota Lynx led the franchise to its fourth WNBA title in seven years.
2016: Jeff Hinz
As the Ryder Cup tournament director at Hazeltine National, he organized one of the greatest sporting events in Minnesota history.
2015: Maya Moore
Hit a Finals Game 3 buzzer-beater, and many more big shots in the playoffs, to lead the Lynx to their third WNBA title.
2014: Mike Grant
Veteran Eden Prairie football coach won his fourth consecutive state title and 10th overall.
2013: Gopher Women's Hockey
Produced a 41-0 record, an NCAA championship and a 62-game winning streak over two seasons.
2012: Adrian Peterson
Rushed for 2,097 yards, second most in NFL history, and was named the league’s MVP, leading the Vikings to a 10-6 regular-season record and their first playoff berth in three years.
2011: Seimone Augustus
After two years of misfortune, the Lynx star dug deep and inspired her team to a WNBA title.
2010: Earl Santee
The architect of Target Field turned an urban parking lot into the “best ballpark in America.”
2009: Brett Favre
Future Hall of Famer led the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season and into the NFC Championship Game. At age 40, Favre completed 68% of his passes.
2008: Lindsey Vonn
She became the most successful downhill skier in U.S. history and the first American woman in 25 years to win the World Cup overall title.
2007: Adrian Peterson
The Vikings rookie set the single-game rushing record with 296 yards in his eighth game.
2006: Minnesota Twins
A playoff team with a Cy Young Award winner (Johan Santana), an MVP (Justin Morneau) and a batting champion (Joe Mauer) also got approval for a stadium.
2005: Greg Eslinger
All-America center and all-time Gophers great won the Outland Trophy, given to the country’s best interior lineman.
2004: Lindsay Whalen
Driving force behind the Gophers women’s basketball program reaching the Final Four.
2003: John Gagliardi
The St. John’s legend earned his 409th victory on Nov. 8, 2003, becoming college football’s winningest coach, and his team won the NCAA Division III title.
2002: Harry Crump
Hennepin County judge issued a restraining order that kept the Twins out of MLB’s contraction plans.
2001: Joe Mauer
Three-sport star at Cretin-Durham Hall was one of the state’s all-time great high school athletes before he put on a Twins uniform.
2000: Jac Sperling
The Wild’s chief executive led the NHL back to Minnesota and started the rally to build Xcel Energy Center.
1999: Glen Mason
The Gophers’ most successful football season in three decades (culminating with a Sun Bowl matchup against Oregon) earned him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
1998: Randall Cunningham
Out of football before joining the Vikings as a backup quarterback, he led the team to a 15-1 regular season at the age of 35.
Note: Candidates are nominated by the Star Tribune sports department. A selection committee of staff members makes the final choice.