OAKLAND INSIDER BY TERRY FOSTER
The Black and Gold Awards.
Fun. Cool. Hilarious.
Those are some of the words used to describe The Black and Gold Awards show Monday at the historic Fox Theatre.
It is fun from the skits and videos that chronicle the accomplishments of Oakland University’s top student-athletes. It is cool because the entire athletic family lets its hair down and relaxes for one evening. And it is hilarious because many of the skits and videos are a hoot and everybody forgets the stressful games and matches which fueled the athletes to this point.
“It is such a cool event,” said junior volleyball player Melissa Deatsch who was voted team captain for next season. “It is the perfect way to celebrate your season at Oakland and the way they do it where we have the Fox Theatre to ourselves. We have a unique and first-class athletic program to celebrate. The videos are cool. There is a lot of effort not just in the videos and skits, but also in the things they do for nominees. It is well done and feels like a real ceremony.”
Doors open at 5:30 pm and the awards show begins at 7 pm. There will also be a Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The awards show is free to the public as Oakland honors its 320-plus athletes and 18 varsity teams.
The concept of the show began many years ago at the University of Memphis where Athletic Director Jeff Konya served as an athletics administrator. When he moved to the University of California Bakersfield, the show was wildly popular in a Fox Theatre there.
This is the second year of the show at Detroit’s Fox Theatre after being held previously at the O’rena.
“I knew it would be successful with its ESPY’s feel with the student-athletes and its entertainment,” Konya said. “It has become kind of a gold standard of what we are trying to do with the athletic organization and I think it will only get bigger and bigger. It is something we can definitely hold our hats on. It is a unique thing we do and can become a difference maker for us.”
The Black and Gold play-by-play man Neal Ruhl will host the show and awards will be given out by media members by Fox 2 personalities Amy Andrews and Jennifer Hammond, Brad Galli (Channel 7), Kevin Grigg of the Pistons and Tom Wilson from Olympia Entertainment.
I have been welcomed into the Oakland University family as the Insider for the men’s basketball team and will also present an award.
Sophomore all-league player Jalen Hayes will be part of the smiles and fun down at the Fox.
“It means a lot,” Hayes said. “Everybody comes to the Fox to be recognized. It is a great event last year and I am very excited for this year.”