Tuesday, May 23, 2006

USA Football Names 2006 Champions Award Winners

VIENNA, Va. – USA Football, a non-profit organization leading the development and growth of youth football, and the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association (NSSA) has announced the state winners of the 2006 Champions Award program.

The second-annual Champions Award recognizes the thousands of coaches, volunteers and administrators whose contributions enable millions of boys and girls to participate in the sport of football each year.

One winner was selected from each state, along with two Grand Champions (James Lynch of Cranston, R.I., and John Solomon of Brooklyn Center, Minn.), who were recognized during the NSSA Hall of Fame Weekend from April 29-May 1 in Salisbury, N.C. Both Grand Champion winners also received a $1,000 grant from USA Football for their respective youth program.

"Having played the game at all levels and watched my sons and now my grandsons come through the ranks as well, I truly understand the value of these committed individuals and the role they have in a young person's life," said Jack Kemp, USA Football Chairman and former Buffalo Bills quarterback. "We are honored to recognize the efforts of these volunteers and have them as part of our football family.”

Lynch has devoted his entire adult life to helping, supporting and guiding young people through the sport of football. He began his coaching career in 1950 and coached at Cranston East and Cranston West High Schools for more than 30 years before retiring in 1983. During his tenure at Cranston West, he founded the city’s youth football program, where he coached for nearly 10 years. At age 83, Lynch is still going strong, volunteering as an assistant coach/equipment manager with the Portsmouth (Rhode Island) High School football program.

Solomon has been involved with youth football for nearly 25 years. In addition to volunteering many hours of his time on the athletic fields, his involvement with youth in the child welfare system has left a lasting impact in the Brooklyn Center community. Coach Solomon, who recently started his own non-profit youth organization, Dynamic Initiatives, was recognized as the 2005 NSSA-USA Football Champion Award winner for the state of Minnesota and continues to volunteer countless hours as a coach, administrator and mentor.

"The sport of football is thriving through the contributions, leadership and commitments of these individuals," said Mitch Holthus, President of the NSSA National Board of Directors and voice of the Kansas City Chiefs. "The stories we received from across the nation and overseas military bases are truly remarkable.”

2006 Champions Award Winners

Alabama-Eric Roberts
Alaska-David DeVaughn
Arizona-Mark LaBell
California-Elizabeth Steves
Colorado-Clayton Brown
Delaware-Martha Burns
Florida-Jose Regaldo
Georgia-Gerald Mitchell
Hawaii-Richard Turner
Iowa-Mike Sheeley
Idaho-Tom Gwinn
Illinois-Michael Oliver
Indiana-Kirk Kennedy
Kansas-Roger & Brooks Bartal
Kentucky-Bob Schneider
Louisiana-Kevin Vanek
Massachusetts-Richard Fennelly
Maine-Bob Hallinan & Steve Feder
Maryland-Bob Hartwick
Minnesota-Wilson Edwards/*John Solomon
Missouri-Klint Oldham
Montana-Eric Johnson
North Carolina-Mike Baldwin
North Dakota-Mike Berg
Nebraska-Tim Aylward
New Hampshire-George Woodhill
New Jersey-Joseph Donnelly
New Mexico-Donnie Gassoway
New York-John Holcomb
Nevada-Greg Murphy
Ohio-Mike Martin
Oklahoma-Bill Blakenship
Oregon-Mychal Kempt
Rhode Island-*James Lynch
South Carolina-Robin Bacon
South Dakota-Terry Dosch
Tennessee-Maurice Fitzgerald
Texas-L.E. Chamberlain
Utah-Mike Favero
Vermont-Jay Michaud
Virginia-Gene Ware
Washington-Jim Sandusky
Wisconsin-Bob Landsee
West Virginia-William Carter
Wyoming-Kermit Sweeny
APO (Military)-Tiffanee Hodge

*national winner

About USA Football
USA Football is a non-profit organization leading the development and growth of youth football. USA Football provides resources to help youth football organizations keep the sport fun, safe and accessible. USA Football was founded by the NFL and NFL Players Association in 2002 and offers in-depth youth football resources focusing on coaching education, league enhancement, officiating development, and health & safety awareness for administrators, coaches, officials and parents.

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