Sugar Bowl Legend Archie Manning Named 2016 NFF Gold Medal Recipient park
Ole Miss legend and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning, the Most Valuable Player of the 1970 Sugar Bowl, is set to be honored as the 63rd Gold Medal Recipient at the National Football Foundation's 59th Annual Awards Dinner December 6th at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Manning has also been a member of the Sugar Bowl Committee since 1986.
Manning, a former All-American quarterback for the Rebels and a Pro Bowl player with the New Orleans Saints, is the latest in a long line of distinguished Gold Medal winners, the first of whom was President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958. Since then six other United States Presidents, four generals, three admirals, one Supreme Court Justice and famous luminaries from actor John Wayne to baseball immortal Jackie Robinson to last year's award winner Condoleeza Rice have been honored.
"Coming from humble beginnings, Archie Manning has exhibited an extraordinary work-ethic throughout his life," said NFF Awards Committee Chairman Jack Ford. "His exceptional composure enabled him to handle adversity both on and off the field, and he has remained deeply committed to his family and the community. His focus has always been on others and making those around him better. No individual is more worthy of our highest honor, and we look forward to celebrating the excellence he has come to personify at the NFF Annual Award Dinner in December."
Manning has also been the NFF Chairman since 2007 and has been the leader of a nationwide network of 120 chapters in 47 states with more than 12,000 members. During his tenure as chairman, the NFF has experienced remarkable growth, and his leadership played a critical role in the recent opening of the state-of-the-art $68.5 million College Football Hall of Fame in the heart of Atlanta.
"Archie Manning became an icon as one of the greatest players to ever set foot on the gridiron, and he subsequently used his standing to become one of the game's greatest ambassadors," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The entire football community has been blessed by his enormous contributions, and we take great pride in having him as our chairman. He has earned this honor many times over, and we are extremely proud to add his name to the esteemed list of past NFF Gold Medal recipients."
Manning also oversaw the launch of the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, which has helped raise and distribute millions of dollars for the NFF scholarships, programs and initiatives. Currently, the organization distributes more than $1.3 million each year and recognizes thousands of student-athletes for their accomplishments on and off the field.
"There are a lot of good things and people because of football, and we recognize them," said Manning in a promotional video for the organization. "I am especially proud of the fact that we recognize the scholar-athlete, and we reward kids starting in high school with our chapter program, distributing scholarships to those who do a great job of balancing football time with their academic requirements. We honor those kids, and they're the ones who turn out to be great leaders and people in our society. It's just gratifying to be part of something that does something great for young people."
Manning will be honored at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. For Archie Manning's full biography and more information about the NFF Award Dinner, as well as a complete list of past Gold Medal Award recipients, click here.