Suns Charities open nominations of prep coaches for Spirit of Cotton Award

Phoenix Suns Charities is now accepting nominations for the “Spirit of Cotton Award,” which honors former Suns head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons by annually recognizing an Arizona high school coach for their leadership, dedication and service to the community in helping guide and mentor student-athletes.

The winner will receive a $10,000 grant for use in the school’s athletic program, according to a press release.

To nominate a coach, visit Nominations are due by March 2 and the winner will be recognized during an on-court presentation alongside Coach Fitzsimmons’ wife JoAnn, a release states.

The presentation will take place on April 8 win the Phoenix Suns host the Golden State Warriors.

In 50 years of Phoenix Suns basketball, few, if any, in franchise history were more respected and beloved than the passionate former head coach, who passed away in July 2004, a release states.

Coach Fitzsimmons’ impact was captured in the “Since ‘68” content series, which can be viewed on

Over a 20-year NBA coaching career, including three different stints with the Suns, Coach Fitzsimmons won 832 games with five different franchises and was twice honored as the NBA Coach of the Year.

He transformed the Suns from a 28-win non-playoff team the year prior into a 55-win team that advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 1989. On March 18, 2005, he was posthumously inducted as the 11th member of the Suns Ring of Honor.

Now in its 13th year the Spirt of Cotton Award, previous recipients include Miner Webster of Highland High School (2017), Rick McConnell of Dobson High School (2016) and Ken Vargas of Miami High School (2015), among many others.

This season, Phoenix Suns Charities is celebrating 30 years of giving back through its mission of supporting children and family services throughout Arizona.

Since its inception in 1988, Phoenix Suns Charities has distributed more than $20 million to local non-profits and organizations in need and the entire Suns organization has rooted itself locally by supporting community efforts through hundreds of player appearances and thousands of volunteer hours by Suns players and staff.

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