'BET Honors' set to toast Kearney in Washington, D.C.
Jan. 13, 2012
Natalie England, Texas Media Relations
For her Minority Mentorship Symposium every spring, Women's Track and Field coach Beverly Kearney hosts an event called "Intimate Conversations with Greatness," so University of Texas students have an opportunity to listen and learn from those who have already achieved excellence.
This weekend, Kearney will likely develop a new appreciation for the opportunity she provides, as she is one of seven extraordinary legends in music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education to be honored at the fifth consecutive BET Honors gala at the historic Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night.
The 2012 honorees include renowned poet/author Dr. Maya Angelou (literary arts), internationally acclaimed musician Stevie Wonder (musical arts), Grammy-Award winning songstress Mariah Carey (entertainer), influential filmmaker Spike Lee (media), the heroic Tuskegee Airmen (service) and Kearney, the inspirational coach and mentor (education).
"There is not an honoree who I don't feel a connection to. It's truly an amazing group of people," Kearney said. "I am humbled and inspired."
Through a coaching career that now spans four decades, Kearney has grown into one of the most decorated and distinguished coaches in the sport of women's track and field. Kearney has led the Longhorns to six national titles and in 2007 was enshrined in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Hall of Fame.
This weekend, Kearney will officially add another eye-opening accomplishment to her resume.
"For me, this is the highest honor I've been given," Kearney said. "I'm blessed to be among such great individuals. I'm in the midst of my own history in the making."
Actress Gabrielle Union serves as host for the star-studded affair. The memorable night will celebrate the honorees' lifelong achievements, and also feature performances to complement the legends and icons being honored.
On Friday night, Kearney and the honorees will have a private dinner reception with Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET networks.
In addition to her coaching accolades, Kearney is a proactive philanthropist in the Austin community and nationally as well.
Kearney dreamed up the Minority Mentorship Symposium six years ago as a forum for teaching, inspiring and mentoring student-athletes, but it has grown to an event that reaches the entire community. Initially an intimate gathering of pupils and mentors, the symposium is now a focal point of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays weekend, drawing and attracting professional athletes, high-profile minority executives and stars from the sports, music, political and corporate industries.
Kearney's unique lesson, which applies to people of all walks of life, is that persistence can help you reach goals. This latest distinction from BET only adds credence to that notion.
A national film crew has been with Kearney in Austin several times in the past year to follow her and document her inspirational life story, and that video will be featured during the event. BET will broadcast the awards show Monday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. Central.
"I really just want to sit and listen and absorb," Kearney said. "With these other honorees, I'll be sitting at the feet of greatness."