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Former ASU AD Joe Kearney to receive NFF award


July 07, 2010

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF), announced today the recipients of four of the NFF's 2010 Major Awards.

They include:

Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award
Dr. Joseph Kearney
Longtime Athletics Administrator

John L. Toner Award
Robert E. Mulcahy III
Former Director of Athletics, Rutgers University

Chris Schenkel Award
Joe Starkey
Sports Broadcaster, University of California

Outstanding Football Official
Rogers Redding
SEC Coordinator of Officiating

The winner of the Foundation's highest honor, the Gold Medal, as well as the Distinguished American Award recipient will be announced in the coming weeks via national press release.

"The 2010 recipients of these awards have given tirelessly to college football, and it is a privilege to recognize them for their dedication," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "They now join an elite few who have claimed these national awards as college football pioneers who have made significant contributions in their respective professions."

Each honoree will accept his award at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 7, 2010, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Kearney, who passed away May 5 of this year, will be represented by his family. Also that evening, the NFF will recognize the National Scholar-Athlete class (announced in the fall); award the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth; and induct the 2010 Football Bowl Subdivision College Football Hall of Fame Class.

For ticket information to the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, please contact Will Rudd at 800.486.1865 or via email at wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award
This award is intended to provide national recognition to an individual whose efforts and activities in support of the Foundation and its goals have been local in nature. It also applies to individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of football either to the manner in which it is played and coached or to the manner in which it is enjoyed by spectators.

Dr. Joseph Kearney: Longtime Athletics Administrator
As one of the most highly respected administrators in the country, Kearney left an indelible mark on the gridiron throughout his nearly 30 years in college athletics.

Kearney's career began as an assistant athletics director under former University of Washington coach and athletics director Jim Owens. After Owens dropped his administrative duties to focus solely on football, Kearney was appointed to the helm, serving as Huskies' athletics director from 1969-76. He is credited with hiring legendary UW head coach Don James, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

He was hired as Michigan State's athletics director in 1976, and the Spartans would go on to claim 11 Big Ten championships during his tenure. MSU captured conference titles in football, basketball and baseball in 1978-79, winning the NCAA men's basketball championship the same year. He also hired College Football Hall of Fame coaching nominee Darryl Rogers, who led the Spartans to national acclaim.

After a one-year stint as athletics director at Arizona State, Kearney was hired as the Western Athletic Conference Commissioner in 1980, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1994. Under his tutelage, the conference crowned its first national football champion (BYU, 1984); earned its first Heisman and Outland Trophy winners; and oversaw the expansion to add Fresno State. For his devotion to intercollegiate athletics and its betterment, he was awarded NACDA's prestigious Corbett Award in 1991.

Dedicated to promoting the good that comes from the game of football, Kearney established three chapters (Colorado, Southern Arizona, King County (Wash.)) of the National Football Foundation throughout the country and was actively involved in the Southern Arizona Chapter until his health declined. He also served as a board member for the College Football Association; acted as president of the Collegiate Commissioner's Association; gained recognition as a special delegate to Congress on Title IX; and served on the U.S. Olympic Committee for 16 years. In his honor, the WAC established the Joe Kearney Award, which has been presented to the conference's top male and female athlete each year since 1991-92.

Kearney passed away on May 5, 2010 after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife Dorothea, five children and 11 grandchildren.