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    Current, Former SEC Athletes Among ESPY Nominees

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Numerous current and former Southeastern Conference athletes, coaches and teams are among those nominated for The 2012 ESPYs presented by Capital One. Fan voting has now begun online.

    Colin Cowherd and Charissa Thompson will host The ESPY Nomination Special on Wednesday, June 27, at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. Along with special guest Rob Riggle, they will debate and discuss this year’s categories and nominees.

    Voting is underway at ESPN.com/ESPYS and, aside from Best Team, all categories will close when the live show starts Wednesday, July 11, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPNHD.

    The Best Team category will stay open for voting on ESPN.com/ESPYS during the live show. Additionally, fans can vote on Twitter using the hashtag #BestTeam. ESPN.com and Twitter votes will be combined at the end of the show to determine the winner.

    The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 2012 ESPYS will recognize both sport-specific achievements, such as “Best MLB Player” and “Best WNBA Player,” as well as best-in-sport winners, such as “Best Team” or “Best Female Athlete” that pit nominees from different sports against each other.  The ESPYS honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.

    BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
    Abby Wambach, USA Women’s Soccer
    •       Scored her USA-record 13th career women’s World Cup goal in championship game loss to Japan
    •       Is the first player to score in all three knockout rounds in a single women’s World Cup and the first American to score in four straight women’s World Cup games

    BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE
    Eli Manning, MVP in Super Bowl
    •       Earned MVP honors in Super Bowl win over the Patriots
    •       Became the fifth quarterback with at least two Super Bowl MVPs
    •       Was 30-of-40 for 296 yards, with one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in Super Bowl

    BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE
     Anthony Davis, University of Kentucky basketball
    •       Led Kentucky to the national championship
    •       Earned Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tournament and national Player of the Year honors

    BEST MOMENT
    Tebow to Thomas sudden death playoff touchdown

    •       Tim Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas on an electrifying 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime
    •       The Broncos defeated the stunned Steelers, 29-23 in the AFC wild-card game
    Bubba Watson winning Masters
    •       Defeated Louis Oosthuizen in the second playoff hole to win the Masters Tournament and his first major championship.
    •       It was the 1st-time since 2009 and the 15th-time overall that a playoff decided the Masters.

    BEST TEAM
     Alabama football
    •       Avenged a regular-season loss to LSU, winning the BCS championship game
    Kentucky men’s basketball
    •       Won the national championship by beating Kansas at Final Four
    •       Finished season with 38-2 record

    BEST COMEBACK
    Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

    •       After playing just three games during the 2010 season (shoulder injury), he passed for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011

    BEST COACH/MANAGER
    John Calipari, Kentucky basketball
    •       Earned his first national championship
    •       Led Wildcats to 38-2 record
    Patrick Murphy, Alabama softball
    •       Led Tide to first-ever SEC national championship in softball
    •       Alabama finished season with 60-8 record

    BEST NBA PLAYER
    Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
    •       Led NBA in assists in both regular season and postseason
    •       Averaged 20.9 ppg. , 11.3 apg. and 6.9 rpg. In Eastern Conference finals vs. Miami
    •       Averaged 11.7 apg. in regular season and 11.9 apg. in postseason

    BEST WNBA PLAYER
    Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
    •       Averaged 24.7 ppg. during WNBA finals after averaging 16.2 ppg. during the regular season
    •       Shot 58.7 pct. in finals vs. Atlanta
    •       Earned MVP of WNBA finalsTamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
    Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
    •       2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player of the Year, led the Fever to the top seed in the Eastern Conference
    •       Averaged 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals during 2011 regular season

    BEST MALE GOLFER
    Bubba Watson
    •       Earned his first major championship, winning the 2012 Masters
    •       Earned over $3.47 million during 2011 season

    BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
    Anthony Davis, Kentucky basketball
    •       Won Wooden and Naismith awards as Player of the Year
    •       Won Most Outstanding Player at NCAA championship
    Mike Zunino, Florida baseball
    •       Won the Dick Howser Award, which goes to college baseball’s best player
    •       Finished with .322 batting average, 19 home runs and 67 RBI during 2012 season

    BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
    Jackie Traina, Alabama softball
    •       Led Crimson Tide to first softball national championship
    •       Finished 42-3 on the season
    •       Named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, threw a complete game four-hitter in championship series-clinching game

    BEST TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE
    Jason Richardson
    •       Won the 110-meter hurdles at the 2011 World Championships
    Christian Taylor
    •       Making his first appearance at the worlds, the 21-year-old American jumped a world leading 58 feet, 11 1/4 inches to win gold, beating defending champion Phillips Idowu of Britain