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January 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Kasey Keller named Seattle’s Professional Sports Star of the Year

keller star.jpgPhoto credit: Ellen M. Banner, The Seattle Times

The 77th Annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year banquet was held Wednesday night at Benaroya Hall and a couple Sounders walked out with awards.

sports star.jpgFormer goalkeeper Kasey Keller took home one of the big ones as he won Professional Sports Star of the Year. As had been announced earlier, senior VP of business operations Gary Wright won Executive of the Year.

The Sounders were nominated for Story of the Year — winning a third-straight U.S. Open Cup championship — but the national champion Eastern Washington football team took that one.

Keller, Wright and general manager Adrian Hanauer did some radio interviews with Mike Gastineau and Elise Woodward on KJR 950-AM. I’ve linked to the interviews after the jump and noted a couple highlights:

* * *

Kasey Keller

— Keller: “I’m enjoying this retirement thing.”

— Elise asked if he was itching at all to get back to it, Keller said, “No, not at all.” Then he had some stories about his new-found passion of snowboarding.

— Keller gave the Seahawks their due and said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Beastquake inspired upset of New Orleans won Story of the Year.

Gary Wright

— The ever-gracious Wright said he’s used to being in the background, and has tried to keep it that way, reiterating that he felt the award was about the organization.

— Wright talked about sitting in on Sounders meetings in 2007 as he eyed retirement after many years with the Seahawks. Eventually the soccer enthusiast was courted to join the expansion MLS franchise.

— When asked about favorite memories, the 2005 Seahawks came up, as did his presentation at Steve Largent‘s induction into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Adrian Hanauer

— Hanauer had great praise for Wright, calling him “the rock star behind the curtain” and a great leader.

— He said the team expects an average attendance next season to surpass 40,000. (The math appears to add up: an average attendance of 38,496 in 2011 + around 2,000 seats opening up in the Hawks Nest)

— There are some plans to open up more of the stadium for certain games, which would likely involve another multi-game package surrounding a summer friendly.

— He (gasp!) also had some nice things to say about the Timbers organization.

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