2011, Seimone Augustus: After two years of misfortune, the Lynx star dug deep and inspired her team to a WNBA title.

2010, Earl Santee: The architect of Target Field turned a desolate urban parking lot into the "best ballpark in America."

2009, Brett Favre: Future Hall of Famer led the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season and into the NFC Championship Game. At 40 years old, Favre completed 68 percent of his passes and threw 33 TD passes.

2008, Lindsey Vonn: Vonn, who got her start on Burnsville's Buck Hill, became the most successful downhill skier in U.S. history and the first American woman in 25 years to win the World Cup overall title.

2007, Adrian Peterson: The Vikings' rookie sensation became an instant star, and in only his eighth game set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against the Chargers.

2006, Twins organization: A playoff team with a Cy Young Award winner (Johan Santana), an MVP (Justin Morneau) and a batting champ (Joe Mauer) also got approval for a new outdoor stadium.

2005, Greg Eslinger: Virtually unnoticed by recruiters, the consensus All-America center became one of the greatest Gophers and won the Outland Trophy.

2004, Lindsay Whalen: The driving force behind the transformation of the Gophers women's basketball program into a national power.

2003, John Gagliardi: The St. John's coach earned his 409th victory on Nov. 8, 2003, becoming college football's winningest coach, and his team won the NCAA Division III national title.

2002, Harry Crump: Hennepin County judge issued a restraining order that kept the Twins out of MLB's contraction plans.

2001, Joe Mauer: The baseball, basketball and football star at Cretin-Derham Hall High School was one of the state's all-time great prep athletes before he put on a Twins uniform.

2000, Jac Sperling: The Wild's chief executive officer led the NHL back to Minnesota and started the rally to build Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.

1999, Glen Mason: The Gophers' most successful football season in three decades (culminating with a Sun Bowl vs. Oregon) earned him Coach of the Year honors from his Big Ten peers.

1998, Randall Cunningham: Out of football before joining the Vikings as a backup quarterback, he led the team to a 15-1 regular season.

Note: Candidates are nominated by members of the Star Tribune sports department, and a selection committee of staff members makes the final choice.