June 5, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ten years of celebrating legends ... providing scholarships for students ... fund-raising for charities.
This year, to honor those 10 years, the National Football Foundation's Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana is focusing on community service and philanthropy as it prepares for the NFF Honors Dinner "Celebrating Our Legends X" on Wednesday, June 25, at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms.
Highlighting the awards ceremony at this year's marquee event will be the induction of three gentlemen into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. They are former Super Bowl champion and Boilermaker star Mike Alstott, former Purdue Heisman Trophy runner-up Leroy Keyes, and long-time high school coaching great Tim Roth of Winamac.
This year's dinner will also feature the presentation of the following awards:
* Drew Brees Mental Toughness Award to former Purdue defensive end Cliff Avril of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks
* Bernie Flowers Award for Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football to Lafayette resident Linda Rohrman
* Legends Award to Joe Rudolph, the long-time executive director of the Purdue Alumni Association
* Citizenship Award to former Purdue quarterback Rob Henry
* Courage Award to West Lafayette high school player Jack Folkers
* "He Played Football" Award to a former football player Froncie Gutman
There will also be a special presentation involving major league pitcher Clayton Richard, who is a McCutcheon High School grad and former football and baseball star for the Mavericks. He went on to the University of Michigan before starting his pro baseball career with the Chicago White Sox and most recently the San Diego Padres. Clayton resides in Lafayette, where he is very active in community service, and is home this spring rehabilitating from off-season surgery.
For the 10th straight year, the top scholar-athletes of Northwest Indiana, who were nominated by their schools for the NFF's scholarships, will be featured during the annual Honors Dinner at the Purdue Memorial Union.
Those 22 scholar-athletes are all high school seniors who are headed to college next fall. Academically, it is an outstanding group. Twelve of the 22 have 4.0 grade point averages or better, six are ranked among the top five in their senior classes, and three are on course to be valedictorians at their schools.
The scholar-athletes' names and high schools are Ryan Ball (North White), Nicholas Bokun (Hobart), Jacob Brown (Fountain Central), Kolbie Cox (Lewis Cass), Quentin Douglass (Caston), Ben Fields (Harrison), Rob Fox (Delta), Everett Gorup (West Lafayette), Nigel Hensley (Central Catholic), Nicklaus Ingoglia (Munster), Jake Jatis (Crown Point), Michael Krutz (Valparaiso), Garrett Johnson (Delphi), Fletcher Miller (Kokomo), Matthew O'Brien (Andrean), Andrew Ralph (Chesterton), Levi Schultz (Winamac), Tyler Souligne (Benton Central), Mitchell Sterner (Lafayette Jefferson), Khalil Upshaw (Gary West Side), Erick Vas (Northwestern) and Avery Walker (Rensselaer).
Eight of those young men - Ball, Bokun, Gorup, Johnson, Miller, Ralph, Vas and Walker - have been singled out by judges as finalists for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and the winner will be announced that evening making him a candidate for the Indiana Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. The "competition" is based 40 percent on academics, 40 percent on athletics and 20 percent on citizenship, leadership and character.
In addition, the Honors Dinner crowd will pay tribute to the high school players and managers chosen from Regions 1 and 4 to compete on the North Squad in the annual North-South All-Star Game this summer in Indianapolis.
Purdue head football coach Darrell Hazell will be part of he program as will Miss Purdue Emily Mishler, who will be competing in June for the title of Miss Indiana.
Also, Karli Edging, a Purdue student and rising vocal star from nearby Delphi, will perform for the second straight NFF Honors Dinner.
All previous award winners are being invited back to take part in the 10th Annual Honors Dinner and the VIP Dessert Reception immediately after.
But, the highlight of the night, in conjunction with the Indiana Football Coaches Association, will be the three Hall of Fame Inductions.
Alstott, a punishing fullback who became Purdue's all-time leading rusher (still standing) and scorer (since broken) in 1995, now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he coaches his son Griffin's high school football team.
Keyes, who was chosen by Boilermaker fans as the greatest player in the first 100 years of Purdue football as a two-time Consensus All-American at running back and defensive back (1967 and 1968), is now retired and living in West Lafayette.
Roth, an Indiana State University grad, is the all-time football wins leader (215) at Winamac in 33 years and was last year's head coach in the North-South All-Star Football Game. He is a past president of the IFCA and lives in Winamac.
Table prices 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. VIP Dessert Reception tickets are $200 each for general public and $100 for NFF members. Ticket orders may be placed at any time (see page 3 or via credit card on Eventbrite.com.), but chapter members receive priority seating if ordered by June 11.
Since receiving its charter in the fall of 2004, as a non-profit organization, this chapter has awarded nearly $162,000 in grants, scholarships and honorariums to students plus another $48,000 to other charities in the region.
In addition to seeking donations and sponsorships 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, Tex. In its first nine years, this chapter has recognized 173 scholar athletes and awarded them between $200 and $5,000 each. (For information about sponsorship/partnership/advertising packages, contact Jim Vruggink via email or phone shown below.)
The NFF's tax-deductible membership dues are $40 per year or $99 for three years, payable to the National Football Foundation. The NFF has 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, nationally, and awards more than $1 million in scholarships each year. For more information, contact Vruggink at 3672 Farnsworth Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47906; (email; phone: 765-427-3303).