The Kiwanis Club of Columbia presented Ken Ash, Executive Director of the Show-Me STATE GAMES, with the Don Faurot Sportsperson of the Year award. Ash was recognized for his life-long sports career promoting sports, health and fitness in Columbia and throughout Missouri through his work as a coach, teacher and Executive Director of the Show-Me STATE GAMES.

Bill Clark, who nominated Ash, describes him as “truly a part of the central Missouri landscape.”

“He spans a time when he was the best kid pitcher in town to being a star at Hickman, came back to coach very successfully at Hickman, did an outstanding job at Central Methodist and was [Gary] Filbert’s right-hand man for 15 years before becoming the head guy,” said Clark. “Our Show-Me State Games are in good hands.”

Each year, the Kiwanis Club of Columbia recognizes an individual who has contributed greatly to Columbia’s sporting community, exudes sportsmanship, acts as a positive role model and promotes teamwork, determination, physical fitness and self-confidence. Past recipients include Norm Stewart, former MU head basketball coach; Mike Alden, MU’s director of athletics; and Gary Filbert, Ash’s predecessor as Executive Director of the Show-Me STATE GAMES.

“I am humbled and honored to be given this award and join the company of so many of Columbia’s great sports advocates who have also received this award,” said Ash.

In 1989, Ash joined the Show-Me STATE GAMES. He worked alongside Filbert as associate director before becoming executive director upon Filbert’s retirement in 2002. Ash has continued the strong success of the GAMES, adding new events and ensuring the GAMES remain the largest state games in the nation.

Before joining the Show-Me STATE GAMES, Ash demonstrated his passion for athletics by teaching and coaching. During his five years as Hickman’s head basketball coach, his team won five Central Missouri Conference titles and made it to the state tournament twice. He went on to Central Methodist College, winning the Heart of America basketball title three times. Ash’s coaching career ended at Pittsburgh State University in Kansas, after he left to return to Columbia for family reasons.