Celebrate Our Legends

June 12, 2009

Former Purdue stars Drew Brees and Akin Ayodele, former head coach Joe Tiller and former Lafayette Journal & Courier writer Tom Kubat will highlight the card for the June 23 NFF Honors Dinner, co-hosted by the National Football Foundation's Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana and Purdue's Gimlet Leadership Honorary.

Tickets are selling quickly for "Celebrating Our Legends V" at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms. The dinner also will include the presentation of scholarships and honorariums to 17 high school scholar athletes who are headed to college in the fall. Last year, nearly 500 football fans attended the fourth-annual event.

This year's version is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with a silent auction reception that also serves as an autograph session that will include Purdue head coach Danny Hope, former quarterback Curtis Painter, former punter-kicker Travis Dorsch, along with Ayodele, Brees and Tiller.

Ticket prices are $30 each for students ($240 for a table of eight), $35 each for NFF members ($280 for a table of eight) and $45 per person for non-NFF member adults ($360 for a table of eight non-members). Tickets can be ordered by contacting chapter executive director Jim Vruggink at 765-427-3303 or via e-mail at jvruggink@purdue.edu.

In addition to signing autographs, Brees, a 2009 inductee into Purdue's Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, will discuss his most recent season and life in New Orleans before presenting the chapter's Drew Brees Mental Toughness Award to Ayodele, a former teammate and the current Miami Dolphin linebacker.



Tiller, who became the winningest football coach in Purdue history during his 12 seasons, will be recognized as the chapter's Distinguished American Award recipient, an honor he received earlier this year from three Midwestern chapters.

Meanwhile, Kubat, who retired as a J&C sportswriter last winter, will receive the chapter's Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award. He will be recognized for his 40 years of covering local sports and providing exposure for scholar athletes in the Lafayette-West Lafayette and throughout the area.

A total of 17 high school football players, seven of whom will attend Purdue next fall from the 15-county region that encompasses the Joe Tiller Chapter, will receive scholarship assistance for their first year of college. Three of the young men will be singled out as finalists for the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, with the winner being announced at the Honors Dinner. Prior to this year, the chapter has awarded approximately $68,000 worth of scholarships, honorariums and grants in its first three years.

The scholar athletes, nominated by 17 different high schools, are Bradley Andrews (Lafayette Central Catholic), Jonathan Beale (Clinton Prairie), Cody Binkley (Knox), Aaron Connell (Twin Lakes), Mitchell Daily (Northwestern), Terry Howard (North Judson-San Pierre), Chandler Keown (Carroll), Chad Kingsolver (Clinton Central), Andrew Koning (Lafayette Jefferson), Matt Lancaster (West Lafayette), Dan Lehe (Tri-County), Adam Middlesworth (Oak Hill), Patrick Neary (Frontier), Taylor Schoen (Benton Central), Kyle Stuard (Frankfort), Alex Yaggie (West Central), and Ethan Zartman (Caston).

Local recording artist (and NFF chapter member) Levi Riggs will provide music, accompanied by Malachi Jaggers, at the dinner.

The chapter is seeking partners and sponsors for scholarship packages, which are tax-deductible. Interested parties should contact Vruggink at 765-427-3303 or via e-mail at jvruggink@purdue.edu.


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