The Lombardi Award
|Phil Steele is proud to be on the voting
committee for this award
2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Winner: Manti Te'o of Notre Dame
The 2012 Finalists: Barrett Jones, Alabama • Jarvis Jones, Georgia • Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
About the Rotary Lombardi Award
The Rotary Lombardi Award is hosted by the Rotary Club of Houston and benefits the American Cancer Society. The Award was initiated by the Rotary Club in 1970 shortly after the death of Vince Lombardi to cancer. Rotary Lombardi Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association.
The Rotary Lombardi Award goes annually to the college football lineman -- offense or defense -- who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi. As the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi first made a name for himself as the smallest but toughest member of Fordham University's "Seven Blocks of Granite," renowned in their day (1934-37) for being the most unyielding line in college football.
Appropriately, the trophy is a 40-pound block of granite atop a silver pedestal built over a foundation of discipline. The symbolic design was created by Houston Rotarian and professional artist, the late Mark Storm.
A distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America's most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists, participate in a three-tiered balloting process. Each year the selection committee selects twelve semifinalists, four finalists and the ultimate winner in balloting conducted by the accounting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick.
All four finalists, their head coaches and sports information directors are brought to Houston for two days of hospital visits , media interviews and local hospitality. The climax of the trip is the annual Rotary Lombardi Dinner, when a sellout crowd gathers to hear the announcement of the winner prior to its release to the national media.
Just weeks after his death in 1970, the Rotary Club of Houston was authorized by Vince Lombardi's widow, Marie, to establish the Lombardi Award, an annual honor which not only recognizes the nation's best collegiate lineman but which also celebrates the memory of one of football's greatest coaches.
As stipulated by Mrs. Vince Lombardi, net proceeds from all Award Dinners and associated activities are contributed to the American Cancer Society to help fight the disease that claimed the life of Coach Lombardi. Since the award's inception in 1970, over $3,100,000 has been raised to help the American Cancer Society's program of cancer research, public education and direct services to cancer patients.
Vince Lombardi guided the Green Bay Packers to their first two Super Bowl titles, leading the Packers to six divisional championships and five NFL Championships in a coaching career that led to his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971.
A fierce competitor on the field and a highly motivational man off the field, Lombardi first gained notoriety as one of the legendary "seven blocks of granite" while playing collegiately as a lineman at Fordham University in New York in the mid 1930's. He was a high school Latin and chemistry teacher before beginning a collegiate coaching career in his native New York.
He was named head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959 at the age of 46 and immediately turned around the fortunes of the Pack, guiding the club from a 1-10-1 mark in 1958 to a 7-5 record in his first season.
After the second of his Super Bowl titles in 1967 , he stepped down from his coaching duties in 1968 and served as Packers general manager. Missing the fast pace of the NFL sidelines, Lombardi accepted a position as general manager and head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1969 and guided Washington to a 7-5-2 mark. Tragically, he was stricken with cancer during that 1969 season and succumbed at the age of 57 in 1970.
Today the legacy of Mr. Lombardi is carried on by his estate, which includes his son, Vince Lombardi as well as by the annual Rotary Lombardi Award.
|Previous Lombardi Award Winners|
1970 Jim Stillwagon Ohio State
1971 Walt Patulski Notre Dame
1972 Rich Glover Nebraska
1973 John Hicks Ohio State
1974 Randy White Maryland
1975 Lee Roy Selmon Oklahoma
1976 Wilson Whitley Houston
1977 Ross Browner Notre Dame
1978 Bruce Clark Penn State
1979 Brad Budde USC
1980 Hugh Green Pittsburgh
1981 Kenneth Sims Texas
1982 Dave Rimington Nebraska
1983 Dean Steinkuhler Nebraska
1984 Tony Degrate Texas1985 Tony Casillas Oklahoma
1986 Cornelius Bennett Alabama
1987 Chris Spielman Ohio State
1988 Tracy Rocker Auburn
1989 Percy Snow Michigan State
1990 Chris Zorich Notre Dame
1991 Steve Emtman Washington
1992 Marvin Jones Florida State
1993 Aaron Taylor Notre Dame
1994 Warren Sapp Miami, FL
1995 Orlando Pace Ohio State
1996 Orlando Pace Ohio State
1997 Grant Wistrom Nebraska
1998 Dat Nguyen Texas A&M
1999 Corey Moore Virginia Tech
2000 Jamal Reynolds Florida State
2001 Julius Peppers North Carolina
2002 Terrell Suggs Arizona State
2003 Tommie Harris Oklahoma
2004 David Pollack Georgia
2005 A.J. Hawk Ohio State
2006 LaMarr Woodley Michigan
2007 Glenn Dorsey LSU
2008 Brian Orakpo, Texas
2009 Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
2010 Nick Fairley, Auburn
2011 Luke Kuechly, Boston College