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NFF Announces 2015 Chapter Leadership Award Recipients
Five outstanding chapter leaders will be honored at the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
Published: 10/21/2015 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: The NFF announced today the five outstanding recipients of the 2015 Chapter Leadership Awards, who will be honored at the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Above, the 2014 recipients were honored at last year's luncheon.)

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 21, 2015)
– The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the five outstanding recipients of the 2015 Chapter Leadership Awards.

The Chapter Leadership Awards, first presented in 1988, annually recognize five individuals, one from each region of the country, for their commitment, generosity and leadership at the local level in fulfilling the NFF’s mission of Building Leaders Through Football. Each of the five leadership award winners will be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

2015 NFF Chapter Leadership Award Recipients
(Full Bios Included)

  • Mark Ball – Texas Tech Chapter, representing the South Region
  • Marc Hudak – New York City Chapter, representing the East Region
  • Richard Lewis – Joseph Mewhiney/Central Massachusetts Chapter, representing the Northeast Region
  • Gerry McGuire – Sunflower (Kan.) Chapter, representing the Midwest Region
  • Tom Taradash – Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter, representing the West region

“Each of these individuals has embraced the mission of the NFF and is promoting the good in the game and the benefits to our nation’s youth,” said NFF President and CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “Their dedication and passion create a powerful presence for the NFF in their communities, making an impact and inspiring excellence on and off the field. We are excited to honor their exceptional commitment and sincere desire to give back.”

With 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network impacts more than 500,000 student-athletes at 5,000 high schools in 47 states each year. Collectively, the NFF chapters stage more than 1,000 annual events, celebrating the game and its unique ability to teach values of leadership, teamwork and the drive to compete. The events include coaching clinics, leadership conferences, college nights, media days and local awards banquets that recognize more than 3,500 scholar-athletes and distribute more than $1 million in annual scholarships.  

The Chapter Leadership Award recipients have spearheaded the efforts of their respective chapters: securing funds for scholarships; selecting the honorees; and staging events to benefit the young people who play football. Their efforts ensure that future generations of players are inspired to achieve on and off the field. Five student-athletes, selected from the more than 500,000 covered by the NFF Chapter Network, will also be honored as the 2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes at the luncheon. Former UCLA and NFL head coach Dick Vermeil will serve as the emcee.

For tickets to the Dec. 8 luncheon in New York, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000.

South Region
NFF Texas Tech Chapter

Football has played an integral part in the life of Mark Ball, the president of the NFF Texas Tech Chapter. Ball, 58, has been involved with the game of football for 45 years as a player, coach or administrator.

Ball played quarterback and defensive back for Wichita Falls Rider High School (Texas), a team that spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1 in the state. Although football has been a large part of Ball’s life, he was actually a more talented baseball player. Ball went through four MLB drafts while attending junior college and Texas Wesleyan University, but was never signed by a team. His passion returned to the game of football after graduating from TWU, when Ball took a job as an assistant coach at L.D. Bell High School (Texas). He went on to spend 17 years as a head football coach in the state of Texas and another 10 as a fulltime athletics director. Ball currently serves as the executive director of athletics for the Lubbock (Texas) Independent School District.

Ball’s involvement with the NFF began in 1993 when he teamed up with John Mackovic to start the NFF Greater Austin (Texas) Chapter. He served as the president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter from 2008-11, and he subsequently became the president of the Texas Tech Chapter after moving to Lubbock. At the time, the chapter only dispersed $1,000 in scholarships, but at their 2015 banquet, the chapter awarded $41,500 to the top high school scholar-athletes in West Texas.

“Knowing what part football played in the successes in scholar-athlete’s lives, not only in their profession, but with their families is incredible,” Ball said. “I think success in both football and life has a great correlation."

A big fan of golf, Ball and his wife of 34 years, Lori, have a daughter, Shelby, and two sons, Cody and Toby. Toby played three seasons at linebacker for the University of New Mexico.

East Region
NFF New York City Chapter

The best word to describe Marc Hudak from the NFF New York City Chapter is “lifer.” Hudak has played, coached and given back to the game in the State of New York for the past 30 years.

Hudak played center at Ithaca College (N.Y.), and he captained the 1988 NCAA Division III National Championship team. He was a two-time All-American, earning Honorable Mention honors in 1987 and First Team honors in 1988. Hudak was later inducted into the Ithaca College Athletics Hall of Fame. During his three-year varsity career, Ithaca totaled a 31-5 record and advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 1986, before taking the national title two years later.

While finishing his bachelor’s in education, Hudak continued to aid the Bombers’ success as a graduate assistant in 1989. He served the same role the following year at Cornell, helping the Big Red to an Ivy League title in 1990. Hudak went on to spend three years as a graduate assistant at Syracuse from 1991-93 while earning his master’s in educational administration. He helped the Orange to victories in the 1991 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1993 Fiesta Bowl. Hudak spent two years as the offensive line coach at Pittsburgh from 1993-94, where he coached 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ruben Brown.

Hudak entered the high school coaching ranks in 1995 as the head coach of Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y. He coached Canisius for three seasons, before his last coaching stop as the offensive line coach at Canisius College (N.Y.)

“The game of football has provided me a lifetime of great memories, meaningful relationships and significant educational and professional opportunities,” Hudak said. “I am honored to serve as the chairman of the New York City Chapter of the National Football Foundation with the hope that others will be able to enjoy the game of football and benefit in a similar manner.”

Hudak was a founding board member of the Western New York Chapter and served as the president of the New York City Chapter from 2012-14. He currently serves as chapter chairman.

Hudak is the Managing Director of The Whitmore Group, an insurance company in Garden City, N.Y. He also serves as the president of the Ithaca College Alumni Association. Hudak enjoys boating on Long Island Sound and skiing in the Adirondack Mountains. His two children are daughter Gabriella, 6, and son Matthew, 4.

Northeast Region
NFF Joseph Mewhiney/Central Massachusetts Chapter

Richard Lewis’ strong leadership skills have earned him recognition as the recipient of the NFF Northeast Region Chapter Leadership Award.

Lewis played football at the University of Massachusetts from 1961-66, lettering in 1962 and 1965. He went on to coach high school football for 22 years, and he spent 10 years as the head coach at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, Mass. Lewis served on many committees for state and local football leagues, including stints as chairman of the Central Massachusetts Athletic Committee and as president of the Massachusetts Athletic Directors Association.

“Football has been a big part of my life and the benefits have been enormous to me personally,” Lewis said.

Lewis continues his community involvement with the National Football Foundation, serving as a charter member of the Joseph Mewhiney/Central Massachusetts Chapter. He serves on the scholarship committee and has emceed multiple chapter events.

“I have been very fortunate to be associated with the Joseph Mewhiney/Central Massachusetts Chapter. The people that are associated with the chapter are a very dedicated group of coaches and members of the community who promote the game of football,” Lewis said. “Honoring scholar-athletes as well as numerous individuals who have, in a positive manner, influenced and promoted this great game has been very satisfying.”

Lewis and his wife of 49 years, Johanna, have two children and enjoy traveling and gardening on top of attending various high school and college sporting events.

Midwest Region
NFF Sunflower (Kan.) Chapter

Gerry McGuire has established himself as an essential member and one of the primary leaders of the NFF Sunflower Chapter in Kansas, which recently held its 22nd Annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet.

McGuire’s background in football began at Sheffield High School (Pa.), where he played four years at fullback and linebacker and served as a team captain in his senior year. He was named First Team All-League and Honorable Mention All-State. McGuire also served as the president of the senior class at Sheffield. McGuire went on to play two years at Pratt Junior College (Kan.)

After building a successful career in the insurance industry, McGuire became involved with the Sunflower Chapter in 1994. During his tenure as president, the chapter has had three scholar-athletes selected as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes: Brandon Weir (Olathe North High School, 1997), Blake Lawrence (Shawnee Mission West High School, 2007) and Jesse Hiss (Basehor-Linwood High School, 2012).

“It’s wonderful to be a part of the National Football Foundation Chapter Network and it’s been very rewarding to me,” McGuire said. “I truly feel that these kids are tomorrow’s leaders.”

McGuire’s community involvement extends to attending local high school and University of Kansas football games and the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade, for which he has helped raise funds for more than 20 years.

McGuire and his wife, Teresa, reside in Lawrence, Kan.

West Region
NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter

A dedicated leader, Tom Taradash has brought exceptional energy and organizational skills to fulfilling the mission of the NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter.

Taradash grew up in the Chicago area and began his relationship with the game of football as a starting guard for Rich Township High School in Park Forest, Ill. He was a member of the undefeated Rockets in 1959. After earning a degree in business administration from Bradley University (Ill.) in 1965, Taradash embarked on a successful career as a salesman for Wrangler Jeans in Arizona, spanning more than 25 years. He won a number of awards, including the company’s Salesman of the Year.

In 1974, Taradash joined the Fiesta Bowl as a parade volunteer, which led to a 30-year affiliation with the bowl game and resulted in many chairmanships, awards and community involvement. At one time or another, he sat on almost every committee of the Fiesta Bowl. Taradash’s laundry-list of leadership positions included Game Operations chairman, Parade chairman, Statewide Support chairman and Licensed Merchandise Development chairman. His tenure with the Fiesta Bowl culminated with his election to the Board of Directors, which he served on for eight years. He is currently a Life Member. Taradash’s stake in Arizona sports led him to serving on the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission for the past eight years. He is currently the treasurer of the commission.

Taradash’s reputation among the sports community led to his involvement with the NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter. A 20-year member, he served as the chapter’s president from 2003-07, and has chaired the Scholar-Athlete Banquet, Play It Smart, the High School Champions Luncheon and coach’s clinics.

“Football develops character that is a valuable component on and off the playing field and is everlasting,” Taradash said. “It doesn’t matter at what level you play; Pop Warner, high school, college or professional.”

Residing in Scottsdale, Ariz., Taradash and his wife of 50 years share the love of travel and family.

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, 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 the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, SKP, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at

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