ASU athletic director recipient of 2 NFL awards

Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson, ASU’s vice president for University Athletics and athletic director, has been recognized by the National Football League as a beacon of the sports industry, shining a spotlight on outstanding leadership with a desire to promote equality and diversity.

Anderson was presented with the 2015 Paul J. Tagliabue Award and the John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award, two of the NFL’s most prestigious honors, on Jan. 29 at an awards ceremony dinner in Tempe, Arizona.

“I’m honored to know that my work in the NFL was meaningful and productive, and judged as worthy enough to be publicly recognized,” Anderson said. “I am humbled by this.”

The Paul J. Tagliabue Award is presented to individuals that represent the commitment to fairness, equality and excellence displayed by the former NFL commissioner throughout his tenure (1989-2006).

The John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award is given out annually at the Super Bowl to the NFL player, executive and sports personality who best exemplify the leadership and vision of Wooten, the man who has led the charge to promote diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.

Harry Carson, an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker with the New York Giants and executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which co-hosted the awards ceremony, said no one was more deserving of the twin honors than Anderson.

“Ray Anderson was the overwhelming candidate for these two awards this year,” Carson said. “Ray has been a champion for diversity throughout his career and is a tremendous person. We look to support Ray any way we can as he has supported us throughout the years.”

Anderson was hired last January by Arizona State University. Before making the move to Tempe in 2014, he managed NFL football operations since 2006 and served as vice president of the Atlanta Falcons for four years.

A month after he was hired, Anderson and ASU football coach Todd Graham each donated $500,000 to a fundraising campaign to renovate Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. It is considered one of the largest gifts in school history by athletic department employees.