May 16, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After flirting with Super Bowl champion quarterbacks and the Cradle of Astronauts the previous two years, the National Football Foundation's Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana focuses on Hall of Fame inductions for 2012.
Three highly-accomplished individuals - football coaches Frank O'Shea from the high school ranks and Joe Tiller from the collegiate ranks along with Big Ten football official Tom Ransom - will be inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame as a highlight of the NFF Honors Dinner "Celebrating Our Legends VIII" on June 21 at the Purdue Memorial Union.
Tiller, the founder of the Northwest Indiana NFF chapter and now a resident of Buffalo, Wyo., is being inducted as the all-time wins leader in the history of Purdue football. O'Shea is a long-time and highly-successful high school coach who is currently serving as an assistant to his son, Kevin O'Shea, the head coach of the three-time defending state champion Knights of Lafayette Central Catholic. Ransom, who is chairman of the board of Kramer Lumber Company in Frankfort, has been a football official since 1965, including 30 years with the Big Ten Conference (21 years on the field, seven in the replay booth and two years as an observer).
Among the six chapter awards acknowledged this year, Purdue basketball star Robbie Hummel is the first-ever non-football player to receive the Drew Brees Mental Toughness Award, long-time Purdue athletic trainer Denny Miller will be honored with the Legends Award, and Lafayette Central Catholic High School star Danny Anthrop will be the first winner of the chapter's Courage Award for helping save the life of his uncle last fall.
Always a highlight of the NFF Honors Dinner is the announcement of the winner of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Last winter, 22 high school seniors were nominated by their schools and honored at sthe NFF's Scholar-Athlete Banquet in Merrillville on May 6 when six finalists for the top award were announced. They are Cameron Colby of Kokomo, Austin Magley of Lowell, Dylan Morang of Lake Central, Travis Smith of Lafayette Central Catholic, Dayton Snyder of West Lafayette and Mason Zurek of Andrean.
In addition, Chris and Clay Oppy of Lafayette are recipients of the Bernie Flowers Award for Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football for their efforts with Dream Season, a program that works with people of special needs, Kurt Lichtenberg of the Boilermaker football team gets the Citizenship Award for his mission work locally as well as in Haiti and South Africa and Arnette Tiller, Joe's wife, will receive the Indiana Football Coaches Association's Appreciation Award.
The chapter also will celebrate the selection of Otis Armstrong, Purdue's Consensus All-America halfback of 1972, for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame next winter. That announcement was made by the NFF on May 15, marking the third time in six years - and just the ninth time ever -- that a Boilermaker player has been chosen for induction into the Hall of Fame, which will move from South Bend to Atlanta, Ga., in 2014. It is hoped that Armstrong, who lives in Denver where he concluded his NFL career in 1980, will be in attendance for the June 21 Honors Dinner.
Music for this year's Honors Dinner will be provided by one of Tiller's former players at Purdue, Craig Terrill, a seven-year veteran defensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks following his four years (1999-2003) with the Boilermakers. He now sings professionally with the Craig Terrill Band and wants to help honor his head coach with a mini-concert between the evening's Silent Auction Reception and the Honors Dinner. His genre is "Americana" and "Rock."
The program also will include comments from former Boilermaker great Ryan Kerrigan, now with the Washington Redskins, former Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack, now the head football coach at Illinois State University, and his wife, Aimee. Officials from the Hall of Fame, which is located in Richmond, will be on hand to conclude the ceremony.
Drew Brees, one of Coach Tiller's first recruits who led Purdue to the Rose Bowl in 2001 and the current quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, will help honor his coach via video, but will be unable to attend this year's dinner. Brees has been a guest speaker and presenter at each of the first seven dinners.
Table prices for the "Celebrating Our Legends" Honors Dinner are the same as last year for a table of eight ($400 for general public, $320 for NFF chapter members and honorees' families, and $280 for students). Single tickets are $55 for public, $45 for members and $35 for students. Tickets are available for $200 each to the VIP Reception, which will allow access to the honorees and posed pictures prior to the dinner. Proceeds from the VIP Reception will go to support the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and the NFF Scholarship Program.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. that day, the NFF and Purdue's Trademark Licensing Office will host the Ryan Kerrigan/12th Boiler Golf Outing on Purdue's Ackerman Hills Course. Spaces are available for Purdue fans and the general public. For more information about the golf outing and the NFF dinner, call 765-494-2086.
As a non-profit organization, the NFF's Northwest Indiana Chapter has awarded more than $131,000 in grants, scholarships and honorariums since receiving its charter in the fall of 2004. In addition to seeking donations and sponsorships (which are tax-deducible) to support the scholarship program, the chapter also receives money ($500 for every 50 dues-paying members in the local chapter) from the national office in Irving, Texas. In its first seven years, this chapter has recognized 122 scholar athletes and awarded them between $250 and $5,000 each.
The tax-deductible membership costs $40 per year or $99 for three years, payable to the National Football Foundation. The NFF has 121 chapters and more than 12,000 members, nationally, and awards approximately $1.3 million in scholarships each year.