PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers were named the George Pasero Team of the Year and head coach Caleb Porter was awarded the Slats Gill Award for Sportsperson of the Year as part of the Oregon Sports Awards, it was announced Monday evening at the organization’s 64th-annual awards ceremony held in Beaverton, Ore.
The Team of the Year award, accepted on behalf of the club by president of soccer/general manager Gavin Wilkinson and named after longtime Oregon Journal and Oregonian sportswriter/editor George Pasero, was presented to the Timbers in honor of their first MLS Cup championship in 2015. The Sportsperson of the Year, an award named after legendary Oregon State University coach and administrator Slats Gill, is given to an outstanding coach, administrator or organization from an Oregon-based team at any level of competition during the calendar year.
Porter, who led the Timbers to their first MLS Cup trophy in 2015, was honored with the Sportsperson of the Year award for the second time in three seasons (2013, 2015). Further, it marked the third time in five years a Timbers figure was the recipient of the Slats Gill Award, as club owner Merritt Paulson received the award in 2011. It also was the sixth time a Timbers-related figure won the award, with previous honorees also including legendary NASL Timbers player and Portland soccer icon Clive Charles (1995, 2002) and NASL Timbers head coach Vic Crowe (1975).
In an evening of celebrating outstanding achievements at all levels of sports in the state, Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck was co-honored as Sportsperson of the Year after leading the Beavers to their first NCAA Final Four appearance, while the Timbers headlined a select group of winners for Team of the Year.
Timbers forward Fanendo Adi was a finalist for the male Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year and Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath was a finalist for the female Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year. Adi, Timbers defender Nat Borchers and Thorns FC defender Kat Williamson were awards-presenters at Monday evening’s event that was hosted by ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor and University of Oregon alum Neil Everett at the Stanford Theater in the Tiger Woods Center at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton.
In a season in which they celebrated 40 years as a club – dating back to their NASL debut in 1975 – and commemorated their fifth season in Major League Soccer, the 2015 Timbers made history with a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC in MLS Cup on Dec. 6, 2015. The Timbers hoisted their first league championship trophy with the victory over Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, and capped an impressive nine-game unbeaten run through the end of the regular season and the MLS Cup playoffs, including postseason victories over Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas on their way to their first Western Conference Championship and eventual MLS Cup.
Portland finished the regular season with an MLS-club-record 15 wins, while also tying for the league lead in shutouts (13). On the road, the Timbers finished the 2015 season tied for the most road wins (7) in the league.
During the season, Porter coached in his 100th game as an MLS coach against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 14, 2015, posting a record of 39-25-36 in those games, which tied San Jose Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear for the fewest losses (25) in MLS history in a coach’s first 100 career games. In addition, his .570 winning percentage during that span ranked fourth among active coaches through their first 100 games, behind the LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena (62-37-1, .625), Seattle’s Sigi Schmid (52-33-15, .595) and Kinnear (40-25-35, .575).
In Porter’s first three seasons (2013-15), the Timbers compiled one of the league’s top winning percentages, with one MLS Cup title, two Western Conference Championship appearances and two berths in CONCACAF Champions League. With a regular-season record of 15-11-8 (53pts) in 2015, the Timbers compiled 159 points over the three seasons, fourth-most in MLS in that span behind only the New York Red Bulls (169), Seattle Sounders FC (167) and LA Galaxy (165).
Through a statewide voting panel consisting of TV, radio and print personalities and respected sports professionals, finalists for the Oregon Sports Awards were nominated and selected after two rounds or voting. Originally the Hayward Banquet of Champions, the Oregon Sports Awards began in 1948 to honor Oregon’s outstanding professional and amateur athletes, teams, coaches and administrators from many levels and a wide range of sports.