Archie Manning wins college football’s gold medal

Archie Manning
Archie Manning

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame has announced today that Archie Manning has been named the 2016 recipient of the NFF Gold Medal in recognition of his exceptional leadership and unblemished reputation. He will be honored for his achievements and contributions to our nation during the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Manning, a 1989 inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, received the 2014 Rube Award for his lifetime of contributions to Mississippi sports.

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.”

The highest and most prestigious award presented by the National Football Foundation, the Gold Medal recognizes an outstanding American who has demonstrated integrity and honesty; achieved significant career success; and has reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football. First presented to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in 1958, the Gold Medal boasts an impressive list of past recipients, including seven presidents, four generals, three admirals, one Supreme Court Justice, 29 corporate  CEOs and chairmen, actor John Wayne and baseball immortal Jackie Robinson. Manning will become the 63rd recipient of the NFF Gold Medal. (See below for the full list of past recipients.)

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.”

An All-America quarterback at Ole Miss, a Pro Bowl player with the New Orleans Saints and a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Manning charted a successful post-football career, including roles as an investment broker, broadcaster, restaurateur, endorser, community leader and philanthropist. He added the NFF to his list of many charities, joining the NFF Board of Directors in 1993. He served with distinction before becoming NFF Chairman in 2007 and 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. He 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. He will accept his award alongside the recipients of the other NFF Major Awards, including Chancellor of the University of Texas System and retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral William H. McRaven (NFF Distinguished American Award), College Football Hall of Fame coach and AFCA Executive Director Emeritus Grant Teaff (NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award), U.S. Naval Academy Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk (NFF John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration), the Voice of the Washington Huskies Bob Rondeau (NFF Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting), and the yet-to-be announced recipients of the NFF Legacy Awards.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will provide the stage for the induction of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments; and the bestowing of the 27th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Marlin Briscoe (Nebraska-Omaha), Derrick Brooks (Florida State), Tom Cousineau (Ohio State), Randall Cunningham (UNLV), Troy Davis (Iowa State), William Fuller (North Carolina), Bert Jones (LSU), Tim Krumrie (Wisconsin), Pat McInally (Harvard), Herb Orvis (Colorado), Bill Royce (Ashland [Ohio]), Mike Utley (Washington State), Scott Woerner (Georgia), Rod Woodson (Purdue) and coaches Bill Bowes (New Hampshire) and Frank Girardi (Lycoming [Pa.]).

The 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, will be announced Oct. 26, and the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced live in dramatic fashion at the Dec. 6 event. For ticket information at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, please contact NFF Director of External Relations Will Rudd at 972.556.1000 or wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

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