NASHVILLE – Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk received a standing ovation at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday night while being honored as the 2019 Tennessean of the Year.
After a video played recognizing her work in the state – from helping bring the NFL Draft to Nashville to her generosity in the community to the resurgence of her football team – Strunk gave thanks to football fans in the state.
"While I am proud to have been involved, the people of Tennessee were the true stars of the show and I want to thank every single person who touched the event," Strunk told the crowd. "They say it takes a village, but this event, it took an amazing city and a great state to come together and throw one of the biggest parties in NFL history."
Strunk said she was honored to receive the award on a night when the 2019 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame class was inducted.
"I am just awed when I look at the inductees and what they did in their careers," Strunk said. "I am just happy to be here and I'm so appreciative."
The Tennessean of the Year award "honors an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to our society through sports or other methods, demonstrating strong character and high profile leadership."
"She's very deserving," Peyton Manning, a former University of Tennessee and NFL star quarterback, said of Strunk. "I have gotten to know Amy and she does so much."
Manning, who was inducted into the TSHOF on Saturday night, complimented Strunk for the success of the draft, but said she's done a lot more behind the scenes as well in addition to reshaping the Titans.
In April, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell praised Strunk for her role in bringing the 2019 NFL Draft to the city.
On the same day, Strunk donated $100,000 to a pair of Nashville non-profits charged with fighting hunger in the community at the NFL's Huddle Against Hunger event at Nissan Stadium.
This year's draft easily shattered records for attendance, as over 600,000 fans fill the streets of Nashville for the three-day event. The NFL and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced this year's NFL Draft generated a record $133 million in direct spending -- a 79 percent increase over the $74 million at the 2018 Dallas event.
The economic impact was another record-breaker at $224 million, also a 79 percent increase over the $125 million in 2018.
"Amy supports a charity fundraiser every year that I have here in Nashville for the Pat Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer's, Kenneth Adams has as well," Manning said. "She has supported various causes (I've been involved in).
"It's a great winner for the Tennessean of the Year. She has carried on her father's legacy and done some things unique with her leadership style and has the Titans in a great place. Bringing the draft here tells you everything you need to know about how serious the NFL is about the Titans and their fan support here.
"I am proud to be here and recognized with her the same year."
In her acceptance speech, Strunk talked about her father's vision in bringing Houston's NFL team to Nashville. The success of the draft, she said, would have surpassed his expectations.
The Tennessean of the Year award was first awarded by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. The award is not bestowed each year; only when people are deemed worthy.
"I'm beyond happy for Amy Adams Strunk to get recognized the way she is," said Charles Davis, a former University of Tennessee star who was also a 2019 TSHOF inductee. Davis is now an analyst for NFL Network.
"A lot of times, when you own a franchise, you often get taken for granted. People think: 'You've got money, and you can do this and you can do that.' But what she has done in her time at the head of the Titans organization, pulling everything together has been impressive, and that is because of her leadership and it is because of her guidance and because of her demanding accountability.
"She deserves this honor in a huge way, not just for the city of Nashville but for the state of Tennessee. And I think this state is very fortunate to have her leading the Tennessee Titans."
Winners of the Tennessean of the Year award:
2019: Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk
2018: Nashville Predators
2016: Peyton Manning
2014: Todd Helton
2013: James Franklin
2012: Pat Summitt
2011: Kenny Chesney, Ryland Hoskins.
2007: Hank Williams, Jr.
2006: James A. "Jim" Haslam II
2005: Tennessee Olympians.
2004: Avron Fogelman
2003: Gaylord Entertainment Company
2002: 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Major General Richard A. Cody. Commanding.
2001: Tennessee Olympians
2000: Doug Dickey
1999: Phillip Fulmer
1998: Peyton Manning
1997: Phillip Bredesen
1996: Don Sundquist
1995: Vince Gill
1994: Albert Gore, Jr.
1993: Cybil Shepard
1992: John Seigenthaler
1991: Johnny Majors
1990: Ned Ray McWherter
1989: Roy Acuff
1988: Pat Summitt
1987: Stanley Cohen
1986: Lamar Alexander
1985: Tennessee Olympians
1984: Conway Twitty
1983: Jake F. Butcher
1982: Barbara Mandrell
Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk was honored as the 2019 Tennessean of the Year at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet Saturday night. (Photos: Donald Page)