Ole Miss’ Archie Manning Named 2016 NFF Gold Medal Recipient

archie head shot suit smallOrganization Will Present Highest Honor to Manning in December

IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame 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.

“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.

Archie Manning’s Bio

A 1989 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Archie Manning makes many people immediately think football. But Manning’s appeal has long transcended his athletic achievements. From his earliest days, he has continuously leveraged his fame to assist a wide range of causes, and in the subsequent years, he has more than solidified his reputation as a leading humanitarian and a community leader.

Born May 19, 1949, in Drew, Miss., Manning excelled in football, basketball, track and baseball at Drew High School. He started on the varsity baseball team at age 13, and the Atlanta Braves drafted him after his senior season. However, his focus on education and his passion for football led him to accept an athletic scholarship to the University of Mississippi and a chance to play football for Hall of Fame Coach Johnny Vaught. He continued to play baseball at Ole Miss, playing shortstop for the Rebels in the College World Series and receiving three more baseball draft offers, but it would be on the football field where he would make his name.

In between his freshman and sophomore year, Manning landed the starting quarterback job, becoming the first sophomore ever entrusted with the role by Coach Vaught in his previous 21 years. Prior to his junior season, Manning’s composure faced a severe test when his father committed suicide in the summer of 1969. His mother insisted he return to Ole Miss to complete his education, and he did, continuing his historic college career, which lasted from 1968-70.

Manning notched many great days at Ole Miss, earning the nickname Archie “Super” Manning. Against Alabama in 1969, he passed for 436 yards and ran for 104 during one of the first nighttime college games ever nationally televised. The combined figure, 540 yards, stood as a Southeastern Conference record for total offense in one game until 2012. Alabama prevailed 33-32, but Manning’s mesmerizing performance became an enduring example of his unique grit and determination. Other legendary Manning games included a 362-yard game against LSU in 1968; a 38-0 upset victory over Tennessee in 1969 where fans donned “Archie Who?” buttons; and the 1969 Georgia game where Manning returned in the middle of the third quarter after a second quarter injury to engineer a 25-17 come-from-behind victory.

He led Ole Miss to a 34-17 comeback victory over Virginia Tech in the 1968 Liberty Bowl. In the 1970 Sugar Bowl, he earned offensive MVP honors, passing for 273 yards and a touchdown and rushing for another score while guiding Ole Miss to a 27-22 upset win against Arkansas. In the 1971 Gator Bowl, he played against Auburn with a plastic sheath encasing his left arm, which he had broken several weeks earlier against Houston. He ran for 95 yards and completed 19 passes, but despite his heroics the Rebels came up short in a 35-28 loss to the Tigers.

Manning ended his career with 5,576 yards of total offense, and he accounted for a then-school-record 56 touchdowns. He still holds several school records, with a number of his previous records having been broken by his son, Eli, who quarterbacked the Rebels from 2000-03. He earned All-America and All-SEC honors in both 1969 and 1970, and he finished fourth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy in 1969 and third in 1970.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft by New Orleans, Manning played the bulk of an outstanding 14-year pro career with the Saints, twice making the Pro Bowl. In 1978, he was named the NFC Most Valuable Player by Sporting News and the NFC Offensive Player of the Year by UPI. He also received the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award the same year for his work in the community. He finished his career in 1984 after stops with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings. He amassed 23,911 career passing yards, 125 touchdown passes and 18 rushing touchdowns during his NFL career.

Manning’s football accolades are numerous at both the college and pro levels. His No. 18 became the first of only two Ole Miss jerseys ever retired by the school, and the on-campus speed limit is also set at 18 mph in his honor. (A 10 mph speed limit was later added in certain areas as a tribute to Eli’s jersey number.) He is a member of the Ole Miss Team of the Century (1893-1992) and SEC All-Century Team. He was named an SEC Legend in 1998. In addition to being in the College Football Hall of Fame, he is a member of multiple halls of fame, including the Mississippi Sports, Ole Miss Sports, Gator Bowl, Greater New Orleans, Louisiana Sports and National Quarterback Club. He is a member of the Louisiana Superdome Wall of Fame and New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor. He was voted Mississippi’s Greatest All-Time Athlete in 1992, and he was named Mississippi’s Most Popular Athlete of the Century.

Manning’s post-football career has included roles as an investment broker, broadcaster, restaurateur, endorser, founder of the Manning Passing Academy and philanthropist, and he has served in public relations and consulting capacities for several local, regional and national companies, including Gatorade, Direct TV, Reebok, Nationwide, Entergy and CBS Sports.

Along the way, Archie developed another career in community service, and he has been recognized for his work with the Boy Scouts, Special Olympics, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4-H, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, United Negro College Fund, Easter Seals, United Way, New Orleans Sports Foundation, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee, the Salvation Army and others. He headed the Archie Manning’s “Run So Children can Walk” project, and for more than 25 years, he hosted numerous golf tournaments to raise funds to battle Cystic Fibrosis.

Manning joined the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Board of Directors in 1993, and he became the chairman in 2007, leading a nationwide network of 120 chapters in 47 states with more than 12,000 members. During his tenure, the NFF opened the state-of-the-art $68.5 million College Football Hall of Fame in the heart of Atlanta, and he 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. His stature in the college football community also earned him a prestigious spot on the inaugural College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee during the 2014 season.

In May of 1971, Manning married his college sweetheart, Olivia Williams. They raised three boys, Cooper, who became a partner in a successful energy investment firm, and Peyton and Eli, who both experienced enormous success as college student-athletes and subsequently as pro football players in the NFL. In college, both earned All-America status as quarterbacks, Peyton at Tennessee and Eli at Ole Miss, while also receiving NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Peyton also claimed the coveted William V. Campbell Trophy from the National Football Foundation as the nation’s top scholar-athlete. Both were taken first overall in the NFL Draft, and each won two Super Bowls, Eli with the New York Giants (2008, 2012) and Peyton splitting his victories between the Indianapolis Colts (2007) and the Denver Broncos (2016). Their back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 2007 and 2008 also made each of them a Super Bowl MVP with Eli adding the honor a second time in 2012.

Cooper, Peyton and Eli have all followed their father’s example as community leaders, and the family collectively founded the Manning Passing Academy in 1996 as a way of mentoring young high school football players. The camp has reached more than 21,000 high school players since its inception, and it will stage its 21st edition this July on the campus of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., producing an annual economic impact of more than $4.5 million for the rural area.

Another key example of the Mannings’ efforts to give back includes the Manning Family Fund for a Healthier Mississippi, which was launched on July 23, 2014. A partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the fund aims to address the many health challenges facing Mississippians, including some of the highest rates in the country for obesity, diabetes, low-birth weight, heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension and dementia.

In recognition of their countless contributions, Ole Miss Athletics named its Indoor Practice Facility as the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center in 2013, and in honor of the Mannings’ many college football accomplishments, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee created the Manning Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s best college quarterback. Manning’s connection to the Allstate Sugar Bowl also includes playing a prominent role with the local NFF Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter in New Orleans, which annually distributes more than $40,000 in scholarships for high school football players.

Archie and Peyton wrote a book in 2000 entitled Manning: A Father, His Sons and A Football Legacy, and ESPN Films profiled the family and their football experiences in the 2013 documentary The Book of Manning. The Manning family was named the second most inspiring family in America by Town & Country Magazine in its June 2013 issue.

Manning’s numerous other accolades include being voted the 1981 Mississippian of the Year; the 2005 Legends Award from the Davey O’Brien Foundation; the Aspire Award, a tribute to life’s coaches, from the Cal Ripken Foundation; the “Father of the Year” award from the National Father’s Day Council; the 2011 Francis J. “Reds” Bagnell Award from the Maxwell Football Club for his contributions to the game; the 2013 Pat Summerall Award from Legends for Charity; the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Distinguished Citizen Award; the 2016 Touchdowner of the Year Award from the Touchdown Club of Houston NFF Chapter; and the National Pathfinder Award alongside his wife Oliva from the Indiana Sports Corporation for their contributions and dedication to youth.

Archie and Olivia reside in New Orleans, and in addition to their three sons and daughters-in-law, they have eight grandchildren.

Recipients of the NFF Gold Medal include:

2016 – Archie Manning
2015 – Dr. Condoleezza Rice
2014 – Dr. Tom G. Catena
2014 – George M. Weiss
2013 – Roger Goodell
2012 – Roscoe C. Brown, Jr.
2011 – Robert M. Gates
2010 – Bill Cosby
2009 – Bill Bowerman
2009 – Phil Knight
2008 – Sen. John Glenn
2007 – Gen. Pete Dawkins
2007 – Roger Staubach
2006 – Bobby Bowden
2006 – Joseph V. Paterno
2005 – Jon F. Hanson
2004 – William V. Campbell
2003 – Gen. Tommy R. Franks
2002 – George Steinbrenner III
2001 – Billy Joe “Red” McCombs
2000 – F.M. Kirby
1999 – Keith Jackson
1998 – John H. McConnell
1997 – Jackie Robinson
1996 – Eugene F. Corrigan
1995 – Harold Alfond
1994 – Thomas S. Murphy
1993 – Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
1992 – Donald R. Keough
1991 – Pres. George H. Bush
1990 – Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
1989 – Paul Brown
1988 – Clinton E. Frank
1987 – Gen. Charles R. Meyer
1986 – William H. Morton
1985 – William I. Spencer
1984 – John F. McGillicuddy
1983 – Sec. Jack Kemp
1982 – Silver Anniversary – All Past Honorees Recognized
1981 – Justin W. Dart
1980 – Walter J. Zable
1979 – Adm. William P. Lawrence
1978 – Vincent dePaul Draddy
1977 – Gen. Louis H. Wilson
1976 – Edgar B. Speer
1975 – David Packard
1974 – Gerald B. Zornow
1973 – John Wayne
1972 – Pres. Gerald R. Ford
1971 – Pres. Ronald W. Reagan
1970 – Adm. Thomas J. Hamilton
1969 – Pres. Richard M. Nixon
1968 – Chester J. LaRoche
1967 – Frederick L. Hovde
1966 – Earl H. “Red” Blaik
1965 – Juan T. Trippe
1964 – Donold B. Lourie
1963 – Roger M. Blough
1962 – SCJ Byron “Whizzer” White
1961 – Pres. John F. Kennedy
1960 – Pres. Herbert C. Hoover
1960 – Amos Alonzo Stagg
1959 – Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur
1958 – Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE HALL OF FAME
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

Media Contact:
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