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Pac-12 Conference

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Oregon's Abdinasir Hussein earns 2023 Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award

Jun 29, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) voted to award Oregon Men's Track and Cross Country student-athlete Abdinasir Hussein with the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award for the 2022-23 season, the Conference announced today. Nominated by Oregon Athletics in collaboration with Oregon's SAAC, this year's honor recognizes Hussein for his outstanding mentorship and encouragement of his fellow Duck teammates.

Known as "Naz," Hussein, who just completed his sophomore season, is a long distance runner that competes on both the Oregon cross country team in the fall and the indoor and outdoor track teams in the winter and spring. While an injury limited him most of 2023, Hussein spent the time helping some of his peers navigate their own recoveries as well. 

“There are few people in this world as uplifting as Naz," said an Oregon teammate. "Not a day goes by where he hasn’t positively impacted his teammates for the better. This past spring, Naz suffered a grade 3 stress fracture in his tibia during the month of Ramadan and despite having to shut down what was on pace to be a breakthrough season for him, he saw beauty in his injury and focused on what it meant to be a great teammate."

His positive attitude was particularly impactful for his younger teammates.

"He took underclassmen who were also on injured reserve under his wing, helping them learn to rebuild trust within their own bodies. While mentoring others through injury is not something that’s largely spoken about, it’s one thing that is incredibly undervalued on a college team. Naz didn’t assume this role because he believes he is the master of recovering and returning to sport in record time, but because he is unapologetically honest and will reflect on past mistakes and lessons learned. He helped the younger athletes accept the fact that 2023 could be a rebuilding year, teaching them to bide their time, celebrate the little victories, avoid comparisons, and fall in love with the process once again.”

Hussein is the second Oregon student-athlete to earn the honor, joining former Oregon Acrobatics and Tumbling standout Brittany Hart who was a co-winner for the award in 2012.

The Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award is annually selected by members of the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and is based on good sportsmanship and ethical behavior in participation of intercollegiate athletics, as well as a demonstration of good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

2023 Abdinasir Hussein, Oregon
2022 California women's basketball
2021 California field hockey
2020 Oregon State women's basketball
2019 UCLA women's soccer
2018 Sarah Shimomura, Arizona
2017 Anna Rosen, Washington State
2016 Riley Sorenson, Washington State
2015 UCLA women's gymnastics
2014 Colorado student-athletes
2013 Kylie Sharp, Washington
2012 Bryson Beirne, Arizona; Brittany Hart, Oregon
2011 Jeff Gudaitis, Washington; Katie Matusik, Arizona
2010 Ben Ashmore, Arizona State; Stanford women's rowing
2009 Stenn Parton, USC; Lindsey Kelley, Arizona
2008 Michael Capbarat, California; Arianna Lambie, Stanford
2007 Mitch Canham, Oregon State; Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana, Stanford
2006 Anna Key, California; Eric Nygard, Washington State
2005 Channing Frye, Arizona; Cara Chlebicki, California
2004 Grayling Love, Arizona State