ESPN's Lee Corso, Navy's Keenan Reynolds, Under Armour and more honored at DC Touchdown Club 3M Awards Dinner

Bethesda, Md. -- The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. honored one of the biggest personalities in college football, along with one of college football’s greatest players in recent years and the company that has revolutionized the athletic apparel business at its 3M Awards Dinner on Thursday night.

ESPN commentator Lee Corso received the Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award, while Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank accepted the Founder’s Award on his company’s behalf. Also, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds took home the Washington Metro College Player of the Year trophy for the second time in three years.

“What an incredible night,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “The Club has galvanized the Washington-area football community and brings together those who love this game so much.”

Beck also announced the DC Bowl Committee’s latest initiative at the dinner: Patriot Point, a 290-acre property on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that will be a retreat for military personnel and wounded service members.

The crowd included several former Timmie Award winners, two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, University of Maryland football coach DJ Durkin, University of Virginia assistant head football coach Ruffin McNeil, James Madison University football coach Mike Houston, Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Gill and several local executives.

Following a cocktail reception, Durkin and Ruffin – entering their first season at their respective schools -- had the opportunity to introduce their programs to the capacity crowd of 350. Emcee Doc Walker then presented the local high school players of the year: Damascus running back Jake Funk (Maryland), St. John’s defensive end Terrell Hall (Washington, D.C.) and Tuscarora quarterback Daniel Smith (Virginia). Wise Coach DaLawn Parrish was honored as the Washington Metro High School Coach of the Year.

Perhaps no player in the country has been more exciting over the past four years than Reynolds, who will graduate from Navy as the nation’s all-time leader in touchdowns scored by a Division I player.

After dinner, Al Thomas – who guided Seneca Valley, Damascus and Sherwood to a combined eight Maryland state championships – was inducted into the Circle of Legends. Kennedy Coach Dan Makosy, who previously guided Damascus to three state titles and is now battling colon cancer, was presented a grant from the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund.

After accepting the Founder’s Award on behalf of Under Armour, Plank said the question he is asked most often deals with Under Armour’s endorsers and how so many of them have been successful in their sports.

“Plain and simple, it all starts with character,” Plank said. “Picking the best people. They say please and thank you. They are intellectually curious. … I look at our team of athletes and we couldn’t be more proud, but we are most proud of the people they are.”

Corso followed, entertaining the crowd with tales from his coaching tenure.

“Thanks to the DC Touchdown Club for this honor,” Corso said. “It means a great deal to me.”

DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. to honor Lee Corso, Keenan Reynolds, Under Armour at 3M 2016 Awards Dinner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. is excited to announce its 3M Awards Dinner, which will honor ESPN commentator Lee Corso, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and longtime local coach Al Thomas on Thursday, April 14, in Bethesda, Md. Additionally, Under Armour will be presented with the Founders Award at the Touchdown Club’s fourth annual dinner.

“What a terrific lineup of award winners,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “We look forward to another capacity crowd enjoying each other’s camaraderie as we celebrate a night of football.”

Corso will receive the Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A native of Lake Mary, Fla., Corso played quarterback and cornerback at Florida State. As a college coach, he spent seven seasons as an assistant at Maryland, followed by three seasons at Navy. He then embarked on a head coaching career that saw stops at Louisville, Indiana and Northern Illinois, as well as one year with the Orlando Renegades of the USFL. After coaching, Corso went into broadcasting and quickly became a fixture on ESPN’s GameDay program; he has worked on the set of the Saturday morning preview show since 1987.

In a relatively short amount of time, Under Armour has established itself as one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of athletic apparel. Under Armour had revenue of $3.96 billion in the 2015 fiscal year. Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank, a Kensington native who played football for the Maplewood Athletic Association before going onto St. John’s College High School and the University of Maryland, is expected to accept the Club’s Founders Award.

The record-setting Reynolds, who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting, will be presented the Washington Metro College Player of the Year Award for the second time in three seasons. Reynolds guided Navy to an 11-2 record, the most victories in the Midshipmen’s 135 years of playing football. Reynolds finished his career with a victory over Pitt in the 2015 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, where he established an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision record with 88 touchdowns. His 4,559 yards rushing is the most ever by a Division I quarterback.

Thomas, regarded as one of the region’s greatest high school coaches, will be inducted into the Club’s Circle of Legends. Thomas coached at Seneca Valley, Damascus and Sherwood high schools, winning eight state championships, tied for the most by a coach in Maryland history. (The other coach with eight Maryland championship is Touchdown Club Coaches Committee member Bob Milloy.) Thomas’s final victory came in the 2008 Maryland 4A title game and he retired after that season with 242 victories, which still ranks 10th all-time in the state.

This year’s lineup of high school award winners is one of the Club’s finest yet, with representatives on both sides of the ball from across the region.

The Maryland High School Player of the Year is Damascus running back Jake Funk, who rushed for 2,866 yards and scored 57 touchdowns as the Swarmin’ Hornets went 14-0 and won the Maryland 3A championship. Funk, who was twice named the DC Touchdown Club Player of the Week this past fall, will play for Maryland.

The Virginia High School Player of the Year is Tuscarora quarterback Daniel Smith, the second consecutive year that a player from the Leesburg school has claimed the award. One of just two returning offensive starters from a team that went undefeated until falling in the 2014 Virginia 5A championships, Smith was spectacular this season. He passed for 2,649 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 1,109 yards and 24 touchdowns as the Huskies won their first 13 games. Smith will play for Campbell University.

The D.C. High School Player of the Year is St. John’s defensive end Terrell Hall. Hall was named the D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year after making 42 tackles with 21 tackles for loss and nine sacks for the Cadets. He also forced two fumbles and had two fumble recoveries and is considered one of the nation’s top college prospects. Hall will play for Alabama.

The Washington Metro High School Coach of the Year is DaLawn Parrish of Wise. The former Howard High and Wake Forest University standout defensive back is regarded as the architect of one of the region’s football powerhouses at Wise, where he has taken the Pumas to eight consecutive playoff appearances. This past season, Wise went 14-0 and won the Maryland 4A championship. In 10 seasons at the Upper Marlboro school, Parrish has a record of 92-30.

Tables can be purchased at dctouchdownclub.com/awards-dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Bob Treseler at 301-538-2046 or btreseler@militarybowl.org. For more information, please contact Steve Beck at 301-370-5454 or sbeck@militarybowl.org.

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About the DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A.                       
The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. honors the best in Washington-area football, with year-round events highlighted by the 3M Awards Dinner. The Club hosts entertaining social events for its members, promotes the benefits of the game of football, and generates a significant philanthropic impact. For more information, visit dctouchdownclub.com.

About Capital Bank N.A.
Capital Bank, N.A., is a leading private bank in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that offers a range of services encompassing cash management, commercial lending, consumer credit and residential mortgage/Veterans Administration mortgage loans. Capital Bank’s core commercial banking and lending business includes two rankings by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), ranked number two among community lenders and in the top ten among all lenders in the Washington Metropolitan District for loan volume for Fiscal Year 2014.  With double-digit asset growth over the past three years, Capital Bank has more than $600 million in assets and is well positioned to fulfill its culture of collaborative partnerships and solutions for area businesses and consumers nationwide. For more information, visit www.capitalbankmd.com. Member FDIC. An Equal Housing Lender.
CAPITAL BANK, PARTNERS IN YOUR VISION

About 3M
3M applies science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, 3M’s 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at www.3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNewsroom.

11th Annual Home of the Free... Because of the Brave Dinner

A capacity crowd that included more than 60 wounded warriors filled Morton’s The Steakhouse in Reston for the 11th annual Home   of the Free Because of the Brave Dinner on Thursday night. The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman was the event’s title sponsor.

“What really resonates and makes this dinner work is it allows us to show our respect and support for what you have done for us,” Military Bowl board member Paul Norman, the event’s founder and organizer, told the soldiers in attendance. “I speak for everyone here when I thank you and wish you all the best in your recoveries.”

The wounded warriors were treated to a first-class meal and watched the opening game of the NFL season. Also, the Military Bowl presented each soldier with a gift card and invited them to attend this year’s Military Bowl on Monday, Dec. 28 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Also among those in attendance were Military Bowl chairman of the board RADM (Ret.) Christopher W. Cole and board members Steffanie B. Easter, Lawrence C. Leber, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Vincent C. Smith. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund, which helps wounded warriors and others in need.

“It’s not just the responsibility of our government, but also the responsibility of our nation to help our soldiers and we are thankful for leaders like Paul Norman to put together events like this,” said Col. Greg Gadson, a former football player at West Point who lost his legs in combat in Iraq. “What a great way to initiate the NFL season.”

3rd Annual DC Touchdown Club Golf Outing presented by Capital Bank N.A., benefiting the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund

LEESBURG, Va. – A capacity field enjoyed the third annual DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. Golf Outing benefiting the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund on Friday afternoon at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club. Once again, the Club raised thousands of dollars for the fund, which is used to help wounded warriors and others in need of assistance.

Among those playing in the round were Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum, representatives of the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Golf Program, James Madison University football coach Everett Withers, American Athletic Conference administrators and two of Bill Phillips’ sons, Paul and Colter Phillips.

“What an awesome day,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “It is incredibly satisfying to look at all those who have joined us before for this event and those who are newcomers and know the difference everyone comes together to make. This event gets bigger and better every year.”

Beck also thanked the event’s sponsors, including DC Touchdown Club title sponsor Capital Bank; Under Armour; Comcast-NBCUniversal and Hyundai, which sponsored the Hole-in-One, Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin contests, provided golf balls to every player and will send two members of the winning foursome to its National Final in Las Vegas in October. Each golfer received an Under Armour gift bag including UA sunglasses and a discount card.

The group of Wes Strang, Jonathan Peel and Johnny Wilson took first place by shooting a 17-under par 55 in the scramble format. Peel and Wilson will represent the group in the Hyundai Invitational National Final in Las Vegas in October. Clay Solomon won the longest drive competition, while Billy Gribbin won the closest to the pin.

Bill Phillips was 56 when he was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Alaska. His three older sons played major-college football: Andrew at Stanford, Colter at Virginia and Paul at Indiana. His youngest son, Willy, is entering his senior year of high school.

“We are proud and honored to work in Bill’s memory and continue his tradition of helping others,” Beck said. “This event is the catalyst for what we do. Also, we want to thank the Raspberry Falls staff and head pro, Willy Lutz, for all they did to make our event so successful.”

The DC Touchdown Club is working on events for the fall. Visit www.dctouchdownclub.com for updates and more information.

Ditka, Theismann, Lester Shine at DC Touchdown Club Awards Dinner

Bethesda, Md. -- The DC Touchdown Club’s third annual Awards Dinner took guests on a trip down memory lane on Thursday night as Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Theismann, the architect of the Chicago Bears 1980s dynasty Mike Ditka and legendary local coach Roy Lester regaled a near-capacity crowd with stories from yesteryear.

“What a night,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “It was simply awesome to look around the room and see so many faces that are familiar to football fans.”

The crowd included several former Timmie Award winners, three Medal of Honor recipients, former Washington Redskins stars and former Redskins coach Richie Petitbon, who was Ditka’s teammate with the Bears in the 1960s. Petitbon was on hand to see his grandson, also Richie Petitbon, honored as the D.C. High School Player of the Year.

Following a VIP reception and cocktail reception, the program began with a Career Achievement Award for Theismann, who led the Redskins to a victory in Super Bowl XVII and has since forged a successful career as a broadcaster and businessman.

“You look around at the players who are here and many people look at us as heroes,” Theismann said. “But the Medal of Honor recipients here are the real heroes. We are just men who are fortunate to have an athletic talent.”

After dinner, emcee Doc Walker – Theismann’s former Redskins’ teammate – presented the local award winners: Petitbon, Maryland High School Player of the Year Isaiah Prince of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Virginia High School Player of the Year Noah Reimers of Tuscarora High School in Leesburg and Washington Metro High School Coach of the Year Mike Neubeiser of Northwest High School in Germantown.

University of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall introduced the Washington Metro College Player of the Year, Terrapins kicker Brad Craddock.

“He is the unquestioned leader of our team,” Edsall said.

Then it was time for the stars of the show. Lester, who had six undefeated teams at Richard Montgomery High School and led Magruder High and Paint Branch High to Maryland state championships, credited his success to hard work and being fortunate enough to have talented players.

“That was luck,” Lester said.

Ditka, the legendary Bears players and coach, scanned the room for his former teammate Petitbon, then remarked what a player Petitbon had been. While he is best remembered for his tenure coaching with the Redskins, Ditka remembered Petitbon had started at safety when the Bears won the NFL championship in 1963.

“I love people who compete,” Ditka said. “And he was a fierce competitor.”

The evening wrapped up with a surprise Bill Phillips Memorial Fund grant presented to Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ken Swartz. Severely injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in October 2010, Petty Officer Swartz is now a full-time student at Georgetown University. While he is busy with schoolwork, he continues to give his time and is actively involved in local wounded warrior events and activities.

The DC Touchdown Club’s next event is the DC Touchdown Club Golf Outing presented by Capital Bank N.A., benefiting the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund, on June 12 at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va. For more information or to reserve a place in the tournament, please visit dctouchdownclub.com/golfouting.

Click here to view photos from the event on our Facebook page!

DC Touchdown Club to honor Mike Ditka with Founder's Award at March 26 Awards Dinner

The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. proudly announces that Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka will be presented with the inaugural Founder’s Award at the Club’s annual Awards Dinner on March 26.

Ditka will join former NFL Most Valuable Player Joe Theismann and longtime local coach Roy Lester among this year’s honorees. Theismann, who led the Washington Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XVII, will be presented with a Career Achievement Award. Lester will be inducted into the Touchdown Club’s Circle of Legends.

Ditka, a Rookie of the Year and six-time All-Pro during his playing career and three-time Super Bowl champion, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is one of two men (along with Tom Flores) to win an NFL championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach and is the only man in modern NFL history to win a championship with the same team as a player and a coach. Ditka currently works as a television and radio commentator.

“Mike Ditka, quite simply, is a football legend,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “When you think about all of the things he has accomplished in his career – as a player, coach, broadcaster and businessman – it is easy to see why he is the perfect recipient of our first-ever Founder’s Award. He set a standard for excellence and challenged others to match it. What a night it will be, to honor a football legend like Mike Ditka and one of the greatest players in Washington Redskins’ history in Joe Theismann.”

Ditka was an All-American tight end at the University of Pittsburgh and a first-round draft pick in both the NFL and AFL, then enjoyed a stellar 12-year playing career with the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He caught a touchdown pass in the Cowboys’ victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.

Ditka then moved into coaching and is best-known for his 11 years as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, guiding the team to a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Off the field, Ditka owns a chain of restaurants, has co-owned an Arena Football League team, and partnered to create a collection of his own wines and a line of his own sausages.

Additionally, he has contributed considerable time and effort to various charitable endeavors, including the Mike Ditka Foundation and the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, where he serves as president of the board of directors.

The DC Touchdown Club also will honor the region’s top high school and college players and coaches at the Awards Dinner on March 26.

Tables and individual tickets can be purchased at dctouchdownclub.com/awards-dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, please contact Steve Beck at 301-370-5454 or sbeck@militarybowl.org.

 

DC Touchdown Club Announces Players and Coach of the Year

The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. is proud to announce the local award winners for its Awards Dinner on March 26. The group includes a pair of talented linemen heading to schools that participated in the first-ever College Football Playoff, a recruit heading to one of the nation’s most prestigious colleges, a coach who led his team to a second consecutive state championship and the nation’s best collegiate kicker.

Eleanor Roosevelt offensive lineman Isaiah Prince, who is 6 feet 6 and 270 pounds, is the Maryland High School Player of the Year. He recently signed a letter-of-intent to play for national champion Ohio State.

The D.C. High School Player of the Year is Gonzaga offensive lineman Richie Petitbon, an Alabama recruit. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound senior will sound familiar to many local football fans; he is the grandson of former Washington Redskins coach Richie Petitbon.

Tuscarora running back Noah Reimers is the Virginia High School Player of the Year after rushing for 3,005 yards and scoring 49 touchdowns as the Huskies advanced to the Virginia 5A championship game. Reimers, who rushed for 6,373 yards in his career, plans to play at Harvard.

The Washington Metro High School Coach of the Year is Northwest’s Mike Neubeiser. A former All-Met linebacker at Gaithersburg High, Neubeiser took over at Northwest prior to the 2011 season and has amassed a record of 38-12 while guiding the Germantown school to back-to-back Maryland 4A championships.

The Washington Metro College Player of the Year is Maryland kicker Brad Craddock, who this year won the Lou Groza Award presented annually to the nation’s top kicker. An Australian originally recruited as a punter, Craddock set school and Big Ten Conference records by making 24 consecutive field goal attempts this past season.

Additionally, former NFL Most Valuable Player Joe Theismann will be presented with a Career Achievement Award and longtime local coach Roy Lester will be inducted into the Touchdown Club’s Circle of Legends.

Tables and individual tickets can be purchased at dctouchdownclub.com/awards-dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, please contact Steve Beck at 301-370-5454 or sbeck@militarybowl.org.

DC Touchdown Club Announces Third Annual Awards Dinner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The DC Touchdown Club presented by Capital Bank N.A. is excited to announce its third annual Awards Dinner, which will honor former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann and local coach Roy Lester on Thursday, March 26 in Bethesda, Md.

“The DC Touchdown Club is a great fit for Capital Bank because we’re both young organizations working to make a positive impact in the community,” said Ed Barry, CEO of Capital Bank, N.A. “We are pleased to be a part of the Club’s mission to increase football’s philanthropic influence, and are excited to sponsor the Awards Dinner.  We look forward to honoring one of the game's most recognizable faces in town in Joe Theismann and a dedicated coach like Roy Lester who molded so many players into fine young men.”

Theismann, who played 12 seasons for the Redskins and led the team to its first-ever Super Bowl championship in 1982, will be presented a Lifetime Achievement Award. Theismann was named the NFL Man of the Year in 1982 for his community service and dedication to the health and welfare of children. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1983. After his playing career, Theismann became a restaurant owner and television commentator.

Lester, a three-sport athlete at West Virginia University, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and be inducted into the Touchdown Club Circle of Legends. Lester guided teams to three Maryland high school state championships (including Paint Branch High School in 1975) and had a three-year stint as the head coach at the University of Maryland. His teams at Richard Montgomery once won 25 consecutive games and he finished his high school career with 260 victories. After retiring as the coach at Magruder High School in Derwood, the school named its stadium after Lester.

“We are thrilled to be able to honor such an amazing pair of football minds,” said DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck. “While this is just our third year, the DC Touchdown Club Awards Dinner has cemented its place as an event for the Washington-area football community to come together and enjoy a night of camaraderie.”

Additionally, the DC Touchdown Club will honor the region’s top high school and college players and coaches.

Tables and individual tickets can be purchased at dctouchdownclub.com/awards-dinner.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, please contact Steve Beck at 301-370-5454 or sbeck@militarybowl.org.

DC Touchdown Club Golf Outing benefiting the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund adds Hyundai as exclusive automotive sponsor

Opportunity to Compete in the Hyundai Invitational National Final and a Chance to Take the Road to Kapalua for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions

At this year’s DC Touchdown Club Golf Outing, you’ll now have the chance to win an all-new 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan and much more, thanks to our new automotive sponsor Hyundai.

The many benefits of the Hyundai sponsorship include a hole-in-one opportunity for the 2015 Genesis and a chance to earn a spot in the Hyundai Invitational National Final. On top of that, Hyundai will also make a donation towards the tournament along with many other prizes and giveaways.

Two winners from our tournament will be invited to compete at the Hyundai Invitational National Final in Las Vegas at the Cascata Golf Club in October. There they will compete with the winners from the 49 other Hyundai Invitational tournaments.

At the Hyundai Invitational National Final, the player with the low-net score from his/her region will receive a trip to the PGA TOUR’s winners-only event, the 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. The player with the overall low-net score at the National Final will also earn a spot to play in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions Pro-Am, the only Pro-Am where you’re guaranteed to be partnered with a PGA TOUR winner.

We can’t wait to see you all at the course on June 6th and we look forward to awarding the winners a trip to Las Vegas for the Hyundai Invitational National Final. If those winners play well at the National Final, perhaps they can even earn a ticket to Hawaii for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions!

For more information on the Hyundai Invitational tournament series, please visit www.Hyundai-Invitational.com.

DC Touchdown Club celebrates the "Year of the Coach" at its 2014 Awards Dinner

A capacity crowd saluted four-time Pro Bowl linebacker London Fletcher and legendary local high school coaches Jim Fegan, Joe Gallagher and Willie Stewart at the DC Touchdown Club Awards Dinner on Thursday night at Carmine’s.

The program began with a Career Achievement Award for Fletcher, who passionately told the younger award winners to stay focused and work hard. Fletcher remembered showing up for one training camp during his early playing days and being issued jersey No. 66, normally a number given to linemen, not linebackers, before quickly making his mark and becoming one of the game’s all-time most dependable players.

The next award winner told a similar story. Maryland High School Player of the Year Ja’Whaun Bentley, a linebacker from DeMatha Catholic, could not help cracking a smile. Bentley, who was not interested in playing football when he was younger, eventually gave in after going to watch his younger brother’s practice. “I was given No. 66 too,” said Bentley, who has signed with Purdue. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Briar Woods record-setting quarterback Trace McSorley, a Penn State recruit, received the Virginia High School Player of the Year award. H.D. Woodson wide receiver and defensive back D’Andre Payne, who has already enrolled at Tennessee, joined the event via Skype and was all smiles as he was presented the D.C. High School Player of the Year award. Centreville’s Chris Haddock received the Washington Metro High School Coach of the Year award and Navy’s sensational quarterback Keenan Reynolds worked the crowd as he accepted the Washington Metro College Player of the Year award.

Then it was time for the stars of the show. Lifetime Achievement Award winners Jim Fegan, Joe Gallagher and Willie Stewart combined to coach high school football in the Washington area for 91 years, winning countless games, numerous championships and, most importantly, influencing the lives of countless teenagers.

Fegan was introduced by his former player and successor at Georgetown Prep, Dan Paro, who told of the way Fegan changed the culture at the North Bethesda school, commanding the respect of all.

Gallagher was introduced by Hall of Fame basketball coach Morgan Wootten, who recounted the lessons he learned after Gallagher hired him for his first high school coaching job as an assistant basketball and football coach at St. John’s.

Cato June, who played for Stewart at Anacostia and now is the coach at the Southeast Washington school, told of how Stewart was a father figure for his players. In 2012, when Anacostia named its football stadium after Stewart, June told of the discussion he had with Stewart’s son Troy regarding whether the stadium should be Stew Stadium (for Stewart’s nickname), Willie Stewart Stadium or some other combination. “I’m his son,” Troy Stewart said. “I’m his son, too,” June fired back.

With many of their former players in attendance, all three Lifetime Achievement Award winners regaled the crowd with stories from their coaching days, each tale seemingly better than the next.

To conclude the night, Jim Morhard, one of the survivors in the plane crash that killed Bill Phillips, made a special presentation on behalf of the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund. Morhard told the story of the plane crash and how he, Bill’s son Willy (who also was in attendance Thursday night) and two others survived the crash in the Alaska wilderness in dire circumstances. Morhard talked about serving others and one’s fighting spirit and determination before making a surprise presentation to SFC Jon Smith, who has had eight surgeries to repair a serious knee injury sustained in Iraq in 2008. Despite his injuries, Smith has remained in the army and now serves as a mentor, sounding board and advisor for wounded warrior care.

The DC Touchdown Club’s next event is the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund Golf Tournament on June 6 at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va. For more information or to reserve a place in the tournament, please visit dctouchdownclub.com or contact Lauren Schweitzer at 202-776-2130 or lschweitzer@militarybowl.org.

Bill Phillips Memorial Fund supports double-amputee Marine Corps Marathon competitor

 

Joe Beimfohr was under the weather much of this past week, but a severe cold did not dampen his spirit as the double-amputee handcycler competed in his 25th marathon.

Beimfohr finished this past Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon in 2 hours 4 minutes and 49 seconds.

“That’s the slowest I’ve gone in like five years,” said Beimfohr, who was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in 2005 and spent one year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. “But being sick, I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted to.”

Beimfohr’s schedule last week was limited because of the illness. While he participated in an exhibition in Gettysburg, Pa., and raced in the Army Ten Miler the previous weekend, he had to pass up planned rides on the C&O Canal and Washington & Old Dominion trails, as well as a trip to Baltimore.

Still, he had a great time during his 1 1/2 weeks in the Washington area, with his lodging arranged by the DC Touchdown Club and Bill Phillips Memorial Fund, with assistance from the generosity of Marriott. He stayed at the Renaissance Capital View in Arlington.

“It was very nice,” Beimfohr said. “It was a good week. I don’t get back to D.C. often, so I would have liked to take more advantage of it while I was there. But you can’t control when you get sick. … At least I was able to suck it up and finish.”

Freddie Uzeta and General James F. Amos, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, at the starting line with Joe Beimfohr

Freddie Uzeta and General James F. Amos, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, at the starting line with Joe Beimfohr

DC TOUCHDOWN CLUB HOSTS BILL PHILLIPS MEMORIAL FUND GOLF OUTING AT RASPBERRY FALLS

The DC Touchdown Club hosted the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund Golf Outing on Friday afternoon at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club, raising money to help wounded warriors, former and current college athletes and others in need of assistance.

Following the round, DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck welcomed participants to a post-golf reception in the clubhouse. In addition to awarding traditional prizes to golfers, Beck had a few other announcements, sharing details of what some of the proceeds will go towards:

“This is going to help them continue to live their lives, in spite of their injuries; help them be able to participate and be a part of things and a part of the community,” said Ayandria Barry, the soldiers’ advocate in the Army Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Belvoir. “Everything being done here is helping soldiers be a part of society and helping them feel like they can contribute to their families.”

Three members of the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Golf Program participated in the outing. They were joined by several executives from throughout the region, as well as two of Bill Phillips’ sons, Willy and Paul. Phillips’ sister, Paula, greeted golfers upon their arrival and his widow, Janet, met with the participants in the clubhouse after the round.

Bill Phillips was 56 when he was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Alaska. His three older sons played major-college football: Andrew at Stanford, Colter at Virginia and Paul at Indiana, where he will be a redshirt junior this fall. Willy is a high school student.

“Bill was a generous man and he would have taken immense satisfaction in bringing everyone together for an event like today’s,” Beck said. “We are honored to be able to do this in his memory. Also, we want to thank the terrific staff at Raspberry Falls for their hospitality and support of our event.”

The foursome of Greg Kubasik, John Pobiak, Bob Hillerson and Terrell Richmond won the Captain’s Choice scramble with a net score of 14-under par 58. Wes Strang won the long drive contest, while Patrick Bulger won the closest to the pin contest.

The DC Touchdown Club’s next event is being planned for the fall. Visit www.dctouchdownclub.com for updates and more information.

DC Touchdown Club Scores Big

Awards Dinner draws capacity crowd to honor Beamer, others

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The DC Touchdown Club welcomed a capacity crowd of more than 250 and presented Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its Awards Dinner on Friday night at Carmine’s.

“I know how fortunate I’ve been getting to stay in one place for 26 years,” Beamer told the crowd that included former Washington Redskins players, former Timmie Award winners, the former Secretary of the Navy John Dalton, the former Under Secretary of the Army Joe Reeder and DC Bowl Committee Chairman Bill Hall. “I don’t know if that will ever happen again.”

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was the night’s featured speaker and told the high school and college award winners that they “are truly the future of football.”

Among other awards, three Parade All-Americans received Local High School Player of the Year awards: Friendship Collegiate linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, who has signed to play at Maryland, was the Washington D.C. player of the year; Our Lady of Good Counsel defensive back Kendall Fuller, who has signed to play at Virginia Tech, was the Maryland player of the year; and Stone Bridge defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who has signed to play at Alabama, was the Virginia player of the year.

Also, Our Lady of Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy, who has led his team to four consecutive No. 1 finishes in The Washington Post, was presented the Local High School Coach of the Year award.

Howard University’s Gary Harrell was named the Local College Coach of the Year. University of Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano, who like his father, Paul, was an All-American for the Terrapins, was named the Local College Player of the Year.

Also, Reeder presented a check for $5,000 from the Bill Phillips Memorial Fund and a signed helmet from Minnesota Vikings star Jared Allen to SPC(R) Robert Murafsky. Murafsky lost his right eye when he was shot while on duty in Iraq in 2006; today he works as a security specialist at the Pentagon and is very involved in helping other wounded warriors.

To conclude the night, Beamer called longtime assistant coach Billy Hite up to the podium. Hite, a DeMatha High School graduate who won a Timmie Award as a high school player of the year in 1968, was surprised with the Local Personality Makes Good award.

“What an event,” DC Touchdown Club Executive Director Steve Beck said. “This is what it is all about, bringing together people from throughout Washington’s football community for a night of camraderie and story-telling.”

The DC Touchdown Club’s next event is its Golf Outing on June 7 at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va. For more information or to reserve a place in the outing, please contact Maureen Licursi at 202-776-2509 or mlicursi@militarybowl.org

A New Touchdown Club for Washington

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog writes about the emergence of the DC Touchdown Club. Full story with pictures can be found here on the Post’s website.

Thirty-six years ago this month, a Sports Illustrated profile of awards dinners paid particular attention to the Touchdown Club of Washington, calling it “the granddaddy of all sports banquets.” That year’s black-tie affair attracted 2,000 all-male attendees who ate filet mignon, Italian green beans and water chestnuts at the then-Sheraton Park Hotel; the guest list included Supreme Court Justice Byron White, brother of the president Billy Carter, Tony Dorsett, Ken Stabler, John Madden, Roger Staubach, Carl Yastrzemski, Adrian Dantley, Bruce Jenner and John Havlicek.

The year before, the same event attracted Henry Kissinger, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Jack Kramer, Joe DiMaggio, Meadowlark Lemon, Fran Tarkenton, Abe Pollin and Johnny Bench, among others.

“I don’t know how in the world you ever talked me into this,” Hope told dinner chairman Charlie Brotman, according to the next day’s Post.

For decades, Brotman and pals attracted dozens of A-listers to this banquet, from Ronald Reagan to Mickey Mantle, from Richard Nixon to Sugar Ray Leonard.

“Every major coach, every major player —  and I mean EVERY one that we went after — came here. No exceptions,” Brotman told me this week. “We have never really been known as a sports town, because most of our teams have not actually been very successful. But with the advent of the Touchdown Club, every January we would have the greatest athletes in the United States here in town. For about a week, we were like the sports capital of America. “

The awards banquet circuit isn’t what it used to be, and the Touchdown Club dinner faded away sometime in the ‘90s. Now, there’s an effort to bring it back. The DC Touchdown Club– note the slightly different name – will hold its first dinner March 8 at Carmine’s in Chinatown, headlined by Frank Beamer, who will be given a lifetime achievement award.

Organizers are hoping to start anew by tapping into the previous Touchdown Club’s original roots in local prep and college football. The event will raise money for a local youth football cause, and will honor high school players of the year in the District (Yannick Ngakoue), Maryland (Kendall Fuller) and Virginia (Jonathan Allen), as well as Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy, Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano andHoward Coach Gary Harrell. Previous Touchdown Club high school players of the year will also be invited.

“It was a vibrant piece of the local football community for years,” said Steve Beck, the executive director of the Military Bowl, who is leading the resuscitation efforts. “This is something that the community really liked in the past, and I think it’s something that they’ll wrap their arms around again.”

Of course, it’s hard to replicate the celebrity power of the past, like the 1988 appearance by Sylvester Stallone, accepting the President’s Council on Physical Fitness award. Or the 1966 event, which featured then-Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Willie Mays and Red Auerbach.  Or the 1973 dinner, emceed by Howard Cosell and featuring Johnny Unitas, Bart Star, Sonny Jurgensen, Don Strock, John McKay, Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry.

The club was founded by Arthur “Dutch” Bergman in 1934; its symbol was the “Timmie” award, a trophy featuring a boy in uniform and sneakers. The new club hasn’t settled on a name for its trophy.

“What I would like for it to be, on a personal level, is something people could get together with their dad about: father and son, father and daughter, going and enjoying themselves together,” Beck said.

Organizers are hoping for more than 300 attendees at their initial effort, including several pros and retired players. They have consulted with Brotman, who supports their mission but cautioned that the world has changed since the banquet’s heyday. Athletes, he said, are less likely to show up at a banquet without an appearance fee. Friends can’t lean on friends to participate in quite the same way.

“I don’t think you can ever have the same success as something that was so historic, but they’re on the right direction, they’ve got the right idea,” Brotman said. “They’re trying to start the way the Touchdown Club actually started a century ago — go for the high school player, the prep school player, all local stuff. That’s the first domino to fall.”