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Introducing the Capital District Sports Women of the Year Initiative!

SCHENECTADY, NY — A new and innovative initiative to honor young women for their achievements was announced on August 26 at Proctors. The Capital District Sports Women of the Year was officially unveiled at a press conference.

The best and brightest college and high school female student-athletes will be honored each May (beginning in 2020) for their outstanding athletic, academic and community service. A total of 96 high schools and 15 colleges feature athletics in the Capital District. Each Athletic Director will be provided the opportunity to nominate one individual for CDSWOY recognition. A committee that features media members will select the honorees. The first awards Gala at Proctors, which will take place on May 12, 2020, will feature five collegiate and 10 scholastic honorees, with two Sports Woman of the Year honorees selected by the committee from the finalists in each category. A special CDSWOY Legacy Award will be presented to an administrator, staff member, coach or volunteer who has provided truly outstanding service and dedication in a role serving and supporting women’s sports in the Capital District. Spring sports nominees can include their accomplishments from the previous spring.

The CDSWOY initiative was created by Eric McDowell, President of The Eric Idea Agency, a Capital District business that provides services in public and media relations, event management and M.C. work, crisis management and public speaking. Mr. McDowell, a long-time publicist for professional and collegiate sports, spent many years promoting women’s sports. During his career he had a student selected to the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association) Good Works program, who was honored at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Women’s Final Four in Nashville. He also had an ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Women’s Student-Athlete of the Year and a candidate for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Mr. McDowell, a resident of the Capital District since 2005, desired to provide special recognition for outstanding female student-athletes who excel in academics and community service as well as athletics.

“Someday, we may vote for them,” said Mr. McDowell. “Someday, they may keep us healthy. Someday, they may keep us safe. No matter what their chosen career path may provide, they will succeed. But today, they are already our heroes. Today, we don’t know their names just yet. But all of us in the Capital District will know their names and we will applaud them on a grand stage next May.”

Mr. McDowell began working on the initiative in 2018, approaching various media individuals and community leaders. He continues to work to secure sponsorships and the CDSWOY program received 501(C)(3) charity status in April of 2019. CDSWOY will provide a donation to a charity in the summer of 2020.

To donate to the CDSWOY program, and also for advertising and sponsorship opportunities, please go to or write Mr. McDowell at

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