About Us

The Tempe Sports Authority Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, established the Courage Awards in 1993 through the volunteer efforts of the board and has recognized individual’s courageous spirit for the past 24 years at the Courage Awards Banquet. Our tax-exempt number is 26-3514625.


The purpose of the event is to honor exceptional men and women who inspire young people nationwide. These prestigious awards are given to outstanding men and women in sports who have overcome challenges and hardship. The Courage Awards is an evening filled with inspiring stories of courage. During the evening you will enjoy dinner, a live auction, and more, an evening the entire family will enjoy. The 2018 Courage Awards will be emceed by Daron Sutton. Sutton is the former television play-by-play voice of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball. Sutton also served for five years as the television voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, and he was one of the radio voices of the then-Anaheim Angels.


The mission of the Tempe Sports Authority Foundation is to enrich the lives of youth and teens in the Tempe community. The foundation provides scholarship opportunities that recognize the character and courage of individuals who overcome challenges as well as grants to nonprofit organizations in Tempe who offer programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body in our youth.

Board Members

President, Stephen Rich ~ moved to Arizona in 1982 and has practiced as a commercial litigator since then. He has served on the Tempe Union High School governing board from 1991 to 2002 and on the East Valley Institute of Technology governing board from 1992 to 1994. Steve also served as Chairman of the Arizona School Facilities Board from 1998 to 2002.

Vice President, Bryan Pate ~ is a Tempe resident and graduate of Arizona State University where he was a four year member of the Track and Field team. Bryan works as a Senior Solutions Workflow Consultant for Ricoh USA in Tempe providing software and IT solutions. Bryan enjoys spending time with his wife Jamie and their two children.

Secretary, Mike Chismar ~ a 1982 graduate of ASU, has been involved in college athletics throughout his life. A member of Sun Devil Athletics (SDA) for the past three decades, Mike began his Sun Devil career as equipment coordinator in 1980 and now serves as Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Treasurer, Mike Carney ~ is a Vice President & Commercial Banker for Bank of Arizona, and has been in business banking in the East Valley for over 30 years. Mike is a board member on 2 East Valley non-profits and is active in various other not for profit organizations throughout the Valley. Mike is married with 2 adult children, both ASU Graduates, and resides in Chandler.

Rodney Hu ~ is responsible for some of the Valley’s biggest gems: one of the longest-standing live music venues, Yucca Tap Room, and purveyor of fine local spirits, Arizona Distilling Company. The 39-year-old Tempe resident is proud to be a native Arizonan. Hu went to high school at Marcos de Niza and received his degree in finance from ASU.

Evan Kasian ~ has been a licensed professional in the insurance and financial services industry since 2009. He owns and operates a Farm Bureau Insurance Agency where he protects the livelihoods and futures of his clients. As an Arizona native, Evan was born and raised in South Tempe where he later went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate from Arizona State University.

Julianne C. Wheeler ~ is a 1987 ASU Law School graduate and a long-time Tempe resident. She is a partner at Jennings, Haug & Cunningham and an AV-rated commercial litigator with Martindale-Hubbell, specializing in construction litigation and real estate disputes. She also maintains her Tempe horse property and raises three children.

Marla Zimmerman ~ is a retired Educator and now CEO of Prostate On-Site Project a non-profit foundation which provides prostate cancer screenings for men in Arizona. Marla has lived in Tempe for over 30 years. She is married to Mark Zimmerman, has 2 sons and 3 grandboys!

Raveen Arora ~ is currently the CEO/Founder of Think Human-Global Initiative which is an international grass root movement to create awareness and practice of empathy, inclusion, diversity & humane thinking. Throughout the years, he has received many humanitarian awards including the Mother Teresa International Award and the Rotary International Humanitarian in 2018.


Past Vice President, John G. Bebbling ~ is a founding member of the Tempe Sports Authority and is a long-time Tempe resident and businessman. He actively supports Arizona State University and numerous charitable organizations. John currently serves as a consultant to Arizona Flooring and Interiors.

John D. Benton ~ a graduate of ASU’s College of Construction Engineering, is responsible for the development of The Lakes in Tempe. A previous President of Continental Homes, Phoenix, John was involved in various partnerships responsible for many Tempe projects including Hayden Square. John is a founding member and past chairman of the Arizona Capital Facilities Finance Corporation and of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

Eddie Goitia ~ is the Chief Financial Officer for Tilted Kilt Operating Franchise and the co-owner of Monti’s La Casa Vieja. A graduate of ASU and of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Eddie has served as Chairman of Downtown Tempe, Inc, and is a Board Member of the Tempe Diablos.

Gene L’Heureux ~ is the owner of Medical Insurance Advisors, LLC. and is dedicated to assisting individuals, families, groups, and seniors in Arizona with their health insurance needs. Gene has over 30 years experience in the healthcare industry and is an active member of the Tempe Diablos.

Steve McGrady ~ is a second generation Arizonan and a current resident of Tempe. He has over 28 years of global marketing, sales, and customer service management experience in the consumer and high-tech industries and is the current SVP of Partnerships at LifeLock.

Past President, Richard Neuheisel ~ is an attorney with The Neuheisel Law Firm and has been practicing law since 1961. He founded the Tempe, Arizona Sister City Program in 1970 and is a former Tempe City Councilman. Dick was elected to the National Sister Cities International Board of Directors in 1972, served as its Chairman and is its current President. Dick was also inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2011.