Coyotes prospect Andy Miele didn’t win the 2011 ESPY for Best Male College Athlete on Wednesday night, but that didn’t dampen his experience at the annual star-studded awards show in Los Angeles.
That’s because Miele, who won the Hobey Baker Award in April, got to rub elbows with royalty of the sports world for a few nights and got to take home some eye-popping consolation prizes such as an HP TouchPad and a vacation package to the West Indies.
“The ESPYs was unbelievable,” Miele said. “It was totally different than the Hobey Baker ceremony. The Hobey Baker was centered around me and the other hockey players. At this event, I was just kind of in the background watching everything. And at the Hobey Baker, if you lose you don’t really walk away with anything. At the ESPYs, I lost – and no one really knew who I was – but I still walked away with a lot of cool stuff.”
Miele, who notched an NCAA-high 71 points for Miami University in 2010-11, was one of five nominees for Best Male College Athlete. Fans voted BYU basketball player Jimmer Fredette the winner, but Miele said there was a brief moment during the ceremony when he thought he was going to pull off an upset and have to improvise a speech on national television:
“So we’re sitting there and we knew the Best College Athlete award was coming up, and the camera guy came up to me and asked ‘Are you Andy Miele?’ I told him yes, so then he sat there with the camera in my face and I started thinking ‘Oh my God, I might actually win this award.’ Right away I started to panic because I didn’t prepare a speech because I thought there’s no way I’m going to win against people like Cam Newton, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette. So I started freaking out and my heart started beating out of my chest. I leaned over and told my agent that I might faint on my way to the stage because my heart was beating so hard. Obviously I didn’t win, so that was kind of a relief.”
Miele was a good sport about not winning the award and not being recognized very much at the ESPYs. He chuckled when he spoke about walking the red carpet and not being stopped for a single interview. He also thought it was funny that Fredette referred to he and fellow nominee Rob Pannell – a lacrosse player from Cornell – as “the other guys” in his acceptance speech. (Miele said he and Pannell playfully called each other “the other guys” at the official ESPYs post-party.)
Miele, 23, had a blast attending the event’s pre and post-parties. It was there he spotted celebrities such as David Spade and Kim Kardashian, and where he met and took photos with a few world-famous athletes and sports personalities including Dirk Nowitzki, Lindsey Vonn, Tim Tebow and Erin Andrews.
One of the highlights of the night, Miele said, was getting to speak with Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who won two ESPYs, one for Best Championship Performance and one for Best NHL Player.
“I really liked his speech and how he thanked his teammates and how he said if it wasn’t for them he wouldn’t have been in that position to win the awards,” Miele said. “I thought that was really cool because not many of the other athletes said anything like that.”
Miele was wowed by the Nokia Theatre, the venue in which the ESPYs was staged. Seated across the aisle from the UConn women’s basketball team, Miele said he enjoyed emcee Seth Meyers’ monologue.
He was hilarious,” Miele said. “I thought it was really cool how he just made fun of everyone. It really lightened the mood of the whole thing.”
One athlete Miele didn’t cross paths with at the ESPYS was San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, who wore a spandex tuxedo that somehow upstaged his trademark long, jet-black beard.
“I didn’t get to meet him, but that’s OK,” Miele said with a smile. “He kind of scares me.”
►EDITOR’S NOTE: Fans can follow Andy Miele on Twitter @Andy_Miele.
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