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The Tennessee men’s basketball team was given an SEC Sportsmanship Award for its display of compassion and encouragement to Iowa coach Fran McCaffery during the NCAA Tournament in March.
The league announced the winners of its annual award on Thursday.
McCaffery’s 13-year-old son underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his thyroid on the morning of Iowa’s NCAA Tournament game against Tennessee. The league wrote in announcing the award that UT players and coaches “refrained from extensive celebration” after their overtime win “so they could each talk to McCaffery, give him a heartfelt hug and express their sympathy. McCaffery acknowledged the support received from the Tennessee basketball team in his post-game press conference.”
The league also recognized the Missouri football team for the way it supported defensive end Michael Sam after he revealed that he was gay before the season.
The SEC also gave honors to the Georgia equestrian team for the way it handled a scoring error and the league’s women’s golf coaches for the way they supported Auburn golf coach Kim Evans, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year.
The league said the awards were decided by the conference’s 14 athletic directors.
“Sportsmanship, civility and social responsibility are marks of character that last a lifetime,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a release. “We are proud of these teams from Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia and the women’s golf coaches of the SEC for setting an example for us all.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.