Slate of 2010 NFF Major Awards Finalize

Last week’s announcement naming Bill Cosby and Tom Brokaw as the 2010 Gold Medal and Distinguished American recipients concludes the slate of 2010 NFF Major Award Honorees.

DALLAS, August 25, 2010 – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) finalized last week the full slate of 2010 NFF Major Award recipients, headlined by entertainer Bill Cosby and journalist Tom Brokaw, who will be recognized at the 53rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. The event, which will take place Dec. 7, always attracts a sellout crowd of the most influential people in college football to the three-level Grand Ballroom of the storied hotel.

GOLD MEDAL

BILL COSBY
Entertainer, Humanitarian and Scholar

DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN

TOM BROKAW
Respected Journalist and Author

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO AMATEUR FOOTBALL

DR. JOSEPH KEARNEY (posthumously)
Longtime Athletics Administrator

JOHN L. TONER AWARD

ROBERT E. MULCAHY III
Former Director of Athletics, Rutgers University

CHRIS SCHENKEL AWARD

JOE STARKEY
Sports Broadcaster, University of California

OUTSTANDING FOOTBALL OFFICIAL

ROGERS REDDING
SEC Coordinator of Officiating

“The 2010 NFF Annual Awards Dinner promises to be one of the most memorable and entertaining in history,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Universally admired, the 2010 recipients have touched almost every aspect of American culture and college football, and their contributions to our sport and society will be felt for generations. They richly deserve their moment as part of college football’s most hallowed event.”

Since 1958, when U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower took a break from the election trail to accept the first NFF Gold Medal at the inaugural event, the NFF’s Dinner has proven to be one of our nation’s most magnetic affairs, attracting giants of industry and leaders from all walks of life to the Waldorf to celebrate America’s passion for football and its benefits to society at large.

As the culmination of the regular season, the event features the presentation of the NFF Major Awards and the induction of the College Football Hall of Fame class from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). This year’s Hall of Fame class includes Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State); Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas); Ray Childress (Texas A&M); Randy Cross (UCLA); Sam Cunningham (Southern California); Mark Herrmann (Purdue); Clarkston Hines (Duke); Desmond Howard (Michigan); Chet Moeller (Navy); Jerry Stovall (LSU); Pat Tillman (Arizona State); Alfred Williams (Colorado); and coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, Alabama).

The first organization in history to provide post-graduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic and athletic accomplishments, the NFF also utilizes the event’s national stage to distribute $300,000 to the winners of the highly sought-after National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and one member of the class will be declared the winner of the coveted William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, as the nation’s top scholar-athlete. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow claimed the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient. The scholar-athlete class will be announced on the last Thursday in October.

Cosby becomes the 56th recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal. Bestowed since 1958, previous honorees include seven U.S. Presidents, four U.S. Generals, three U.S. Admirals, one U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 28 Corporate CEOs and Chairmen, John Wayne, Jackie Robinson and 2009 co-recipients Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, the co-founders of Nike.

Brokaw becomes the 39th recipient of the NFF Distinguished American Award, joining a list that includes 1966 inaugural recipient Bill Carpenter, Vince Lombardi, Bob Hope, Jimmie Stewart, Pete Rozelle, the late Pat Tillman, T. Boone Pickens and 2009 recipient Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.

Hundreds of the nation’s top business executives, community leaders, military officers and dignitaries turn out each year for the black-tie affair, and the event also boasts many famous returnees, including more than 50 current head coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision (Formerly Division I-A) and 50 returning Hall of Famers.

For ticket information to the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, please contact Will Rudd at 800.486.1865 or via email at wrudd@footballfoundation.com. A limited number of special “Gold Medal” tables have been reserved and will be placed prominently in the front of the Grand Ballroom.

–    Please see below for bios on each 2010 NFF Major Award Winner –

THE GOLD MEDAL

The highest and most prestigious award bestowed by the Foundation, the Gold Medal has been awarded annually since 1958 and recognizes an outstanding American who has demonstrated integrity and honesty, achieved significant career success and has reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football.

BILL COSBY
Entertainer, Humanitarian and Scholar

Considered one of the most influential and celebrated stars in American show business, Bill Cosby has touched the lives of many people through his humor, fight for civil rights, charitable involvement and quest for higher education.

A native of Philadelphia, Cosby grew up fostering a lifelong love of sports. After finishing high school via a correspondence course while enlisted in the Navy, he enrolled at Temple University on an athletic scholarship and later earned academic honors. A member of the football team, Cosby lettered as a fullback in 1961 and also ran track for the Owls. An avid supporter of his alma mater, Cosby frequently attends games and even made media rounds during Temple’s EagleBank Bowl berth against UCLA last fall. He also participated in the unveiling of the team’s new uniforms in 2007.

A veteran performer, Cosby started at various comedy clubs before getting his big break from his first comedy album, “Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow-Right!” and a Tonight Show appearance. He was launched into the television world with the 1960s action show, I Spy. He broke television’s racial barrier, becoming the first African American to costar on a television series and win three consecutive Emmys for “Outstanding Lead Actor” in a dramatic series. He later starred in his own series, the situation comedy The Bill Cosby Show; served as one of the major characters on the children’s television series The Electric Company for its first two seasons; and created the educational cartoon comedy series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

Perhaps Cosby’s greatest contribution to American culture is The Cosby Show, about a close-knit, upper-class black family. The Cosby Show first aired in 1984 and ran for eight seasons on NBC (1984-92). It can still be seen in syndication to this day. Time magazine named his character “Cliff Huxtable” the No. 1 most memorable TV dad of all time.

For his philanthropic efforts and positive influence as a performer and author, Cosby was honored with a 1998 Kennedy Center Honors Award. In 2002, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, and the 2009 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Cosby earned a Masters Degree in Education (M.Ed.) in 1972 and his Doctorate in Education (Ed. D.) in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts. He and his wife Camille have five children and reside in New England.

DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN AWARD

Presented on special occasions when a truly deserving individual emerges, the award honors someone who has applied the character building attributes learned from amateur football in their business and personal life, exhibiting superior leadership qualities in education, amateur athletics, business and in the community.

TOM BROKAW
Respected Journalist and Author

One of the most trusted and respected figures in all of broadcast journalism, Tom Brokaw made his way from a small town in South Dakota to become the only person to anchor all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press.

As a student at Yankton Senior High School, Brokaw played quarterback for the school’s football team. Having a great respect for the game, he would later mention the sport numerous times in his best-selling book The Greatest Generation. After graduating from the University of South Dakota, Brokaw began his journalism career in 1962 at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska. Following stints in Atlanta and Los Angeles, Brokaw was hired by NBC News in 1966 and from 1976-1981 he anchored NBC News’ Today program.

In 1982, Brokaw began co-anchoring NBC Nightly News. Just a year later, he became the sole anchor of the show and also served as the program’s managing editor until his retirement in 2004. Brokaw was regarded as the most popular news personality in the United States after Nightly News moved into first place in the Nielsen ratings in 1996 and held onto the spot for the remainder of Brokaw’s tenure on the program, placing him ahead of ABC’s Peter Jennings and World News Tonight and CBS’s Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News.

Boasting an impressive list of “firsts,” Brokaw landed the first exclusive U.S. one-on-one interview with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, earning him an Alfred I. duPont Award. Brokaw was the first and only anchor to report from the scene the night the Berlin Wall fell, and he was the first American anchor to travel to Tibet to report on human-rights abuses, conducting an interview with the Dalai Lama. Brokaw also has interviewed every president since Lyndon B. Johnson and has covered every presidential election since 1968. Brokaw was NBC’s White House correspondent during the national trauma of Watergate (1973-1976).

Currently serving as a special correspondent for NBC News, Brokaw reports and produces long-form documentaries and provides expertise during election coverage and breaking news events for the network. He has won a dozen Emmys, two Peabody and two duPont awards for his journalistic achievements. He is also an accomplished author with five best-selling books to his name. He and his wife Meredith have three daughters.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO AMATEUR FOOTBALL AWARD

This award is intended to provide national recognition to an individual(s) whose efforts and activities in support of the Foundation and its goals have been local in nature. It also applies to individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of football either to the manner in which it is played and coached or to the manner in which it is enjoyed by spectators.

DR. JOSEPH KEARNEY
(Posthumous Honoree)
Longtime Athletics Administrator

As one of the most highly respected administrators in the country, Kearney, who passed away May 5 of this year, left an indelible mark on the gridiron throughout his nearly 30 years in college athletics.

Kearney’s career began as an assistant athletics director under former University of Washington coach and athletics director Jim Owens. After Owens dropped his administrative duties to focus solely on football, Kearney was appointed to the helm, serving as Huskies’ athletics director from 1969-76. He is credited with hiring legendary UW head coach Don James, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

He was hired as Michigan State’s athletics director in 1976, and the Spartans would go on to claim 11 Big Ten championships during his tenure. MSU captured conference titles in football, basketball and baseball in 1978-79, winning the NCAA men’s basketball championship the same year. He also hired College Football Hall of Fame coaching nominee Darryl Rogers, who led the Spartans to national acclaim.

After a one-year stint as athletics director at Arizona State, Kearney was hired as the Western Athletic Conference Commissioner in 1980, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1994. Under his tutelage, the conference crowned its first national football champion (BYU, 1984); earned its first Heisman and Outland Trophy winners; and oversaw the expansion to add Fresno State. For his devotion to intercollegiate athletics and its betterment, he was awarded NACDA’s prestigious Corbett Award in 1991.

Dedicated to promoting the good that comes from the game of football, Kearney established three chapters (Colorado, Southern Arizona, King County (Wash.)) of the National Football Foundation throughout the country and was actively involved in the Southern Arizona Chapter until his health declined. He also served as a board member for the College Football Association; acted as president of the Collegiate Commissioner’s Association; gained recognition as a special delegate to Congress on Title IX; and served on the U.S. Olympic Committee for 16 years. In his honor, the WAC established the Joe Kearney Award, which has been presented to the conference’s top male and female athlete each year since 1991-92.

Kearney passed away on May 5, 2010 after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife Dorothea, five children and 11 grandchildren, and he will be represented by a family member on the dais at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7.

JOHN L. TONER AWARD

Presented annually, the Toner Award is given to a director of athletics who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football.

ROBERT MULCAHY
Former Director of Athletics, Rutgers University

A visionary in New Jersey athletics, Mulcahy has spent his life working towards the betterment of sports in his home state, steering the Rutgers football program toward national prominence during his time in Piscataway.

Coming off a winless season the year before his arrival as athletics director in 1998, he worked fast to improve conditions for Rutgers football. In 2001, he hired Greg Schiano, who in four short years would lead the Scarlet Knights to their first postseason appearance in nearly 30 years. Mulcahy, a Villanova graduate, also obtained funding from the state legislature for a massive renovation of the university’s athletic facilities, raised the athletics department’s endowment and secured increased television coverage for the football program.

Mulcahy is also credited with positively affecting student-athlete welfare, putting an emphasis on academics and community service. He initiated significant upgrades in athlete tutoring and supervision programs, boosting Rutgers to one of the top academic institutions in the Big East. He also encouraged participation in area toy drives, blood drives, reading programs and hospital visits. And, in 2006, Scarlet Knights’ team captain Brian Leonard took home the NFF’s William V. Campbell Trophy as the top senior football scholar-athlete in the country for his combined academic, athletic and community involvement.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Mulcahy served as president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) for 19 years. Under his watch, the NJSEA created the Kickoff Classic; attracted the Army-Navy game; and hosted eight NCAA Men’s Basketball Regionals and the last Final Four ever to be held in an arena. He also negotiated contracts to host the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants and the MLS’ MetroStars to play at the Meadowlands.

Mulcahy has served on the NFF Board of Directors since 1990, chairing the organization’s Awards Committee. He is also an honorary member of the American Football Coaches Association. He and his wife Terry live in Basking Ridge, N.J., and have seven children and 11 grandchildren.

CHRIS SCHENKEL AWARD

Named in honor of its first recipient, the Chris Schenkel Award seeks to recognize a sports broadcaster who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football at a single institution.

JOE STARKEY
Sports Broadcaster, University of California

The renowned voice of Cal football, Starkey will return for his 36th season with the Bears this fall. Perhaps best known for his legendary call of “The Play” in 1982 – when the Cal football team famously returned a five-lateral kick-off return for a touchdown in between Stanford band members – Starkey has been named the Best Play-by-Play Announcer in the state of California nine times.

A graduate of Loyola University, after briefly playing football at Thornton Junior College, Starkey began his career as a television and radio broadcaster for the California Golden Seals in 1972. Three years later, he became a freelance announcer for Cal games, a relationship that would continue for the next 36 years. He joined KGO Radio as its sports director in 1979, leading the station to a No. 1 ranking in the market for 15 consecutive years. After stints with the Minnesota Vikings and with the USFL’s Oakland Invaders, Starkey became the play-by-play announcer for the San Francisco 49ers until his retirement from the franchise in 2008.

Starkey has narrated for NFL and HBO films and has offered his vocal talents for various commercials and civic organizations. He and his wife Diane have three children, and they reside in Walnut Creek, Calif.

OUTSTANDING FOOTBALL OFFICIAL AWARD

Honors an official for his officiating abilities, demonstrated in intercollegiate competition and for his sportsmanship, integrity, character and contribution to the sport of football.

ROGERS REDDING
SEC Coordinator of Officiating

Having officiated football for more than three decades, Redding started his career working high school football in Texas. He later officiated in the Southwest Conference from 1988-1993 and served as a referee in the Southeastern Conference for nearly a decade.

Redding boasts several post-season assignments, including three national championship games: the 1991 Orange Bowl (Colorado-Notre Dame); 1993 Sugar Bowl (Alabama-Miami); and 1998 Rose Bowl (Michigan-Washington State). Other post-season honors include the 1998 Holiday Bowl (Nebraska-Arizona); 2001 Tangerine Bowl (Pittsburgh-North Carolina State); 2003 Las Vegas Bowl (New Mexico-UCLA); and the 2004 Gator Bowl (Maryland-West Virginia). He also was the referee in the 1999 SEC Championship game (Florida-Alabama). Following his retirement from active officiating in 2004, Redding has served as a technical advisor and instant replay official for the SEC before becoming the conference’s current coordinator of officials.

Redding has served as an instructor at camps sponsored by the Texas Association of Sports Officials and has annually written and published Redding’s Study Guide to the NCAA Football Rules since 1991. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and later obtained a masters and Ph. D. in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt. He has served as a physics professor and senior academic administrator at the University of North Texas, Northern Kentucky University, the United States Air Force Academy, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Redding and his wife Shirley live in Birmingham, Ala.

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