America's Cup winner and former Atlanta Braves and Hawks owner Ted Turner will receive a special tribute at the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet on Feb. 26.
The 79-year-old Turner will be represented by his son Rhett and his grandson — also Rhett, a McCallie School senior — at the 6:30 p.m. event at the Chattanooga Convention Center. They will accept the President's Special Recognition for the champion yachtsman and innovative media tycoon who also attended McCallie and got his business start with his father's Savannah-based billboard company that had a presence in Chattanooga.
Turner also did much of his early sailing out of Privateer Yacht Club, while attending McCallie and well into his adult years. When he later got into ocean racing, he took it to the ultimate with the "Courageous" America's Cup triumph in 1977 and his "Tenacious" victory in the storm-blasted Fastnet race in 1979.
"The Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame is thrilled to recognize and honor Mr. Ted Turner," president Catherine Neely said. "Our Hall of Fame strives to honor the best in their field, and Mr. Turner certainly deserves the recognition because of the tremendous influence he has had in athletics not only locally but nationally and internationally. We are proud of him and delighted to honor him."
Seventeen new inductees and six special award winners previously were announced for the banquet, and tickets will be available through next Monday by calling Neely at 423-842-7274. They cost $40.
Turner not only gave the world a huge cable television empire, including the first 24-hour news network and an impressive marriage of his "Superstation" with his Braves, but he is known for extensive philanthropy and environmental protection.
"I think he's one of the two or three most transformative figures on the American scene, if not the most transformative," said Privateer's Brainard Cooper, who was instrumental in connecting Hall of Fame officials to the Turner family. "Among many other things, he transformed the way we see television."
A biographical profile from Turner Enterprises says that in his many and varied contributions, "Turner's vision, determination, generosity and forthrightness have consistently given the world reason to take notice.
"Turner is chairman of the United Nations Foundation, which promotes a more peaceful, prosperous and just world; co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; chairman of the Turner Foundation, which is committed to protecting and restoring natural systems — land, air and water — on which all life depends; and co-founder of Ted's Montana Grill restaurant chain, which operates more than 48 locations nationwide."
He started the Turner Endangered Species Fund in 1997, and his ranches are home to some of those species in restorative efforts. And Ted Turner Expeditions allows public access to his four New Mexico properties that total about a million acres.
Among his many honors, Turner was TIME Magazine's Man of the Year in 1991 and cable's Man of the Century in 1999. He received the 2011 Palazzo Strozzi Foundation's Renaissance Man of the Year award and got lifetime achievement awards from the Overseas Press Club in 2012, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2014, the Annual News & Documentary Emmys in 2015 and the Forbes 400, for philanthropy, in 2016.
Just last year he received the New York Yacht Club medal in tribute to his America's Cup victory 40 years earlier.
Contact Ron Bush at email@example.com or 423-757-6291.