Brad Bradley and Eddy Peach headline the area football leaders that will be honored at the Eighth Annual Awards Banquet on April 10 at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.
(Pictured: Legendary college football photographer Brad Bradley and longtime former Arlington Lamar head football coach Eddy Peach headline the area football leaders that will be honored at the Eighth Annual Awards Banquet on April 10 at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.)
IRVING, Texas (March 10, 2016) -
The National Football Foundation (NFF) Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter announced today the 2016 major award winners who will be honored at the club's Eighth Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 10, at 6 p.m. CT at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria. In addition to the award winners, the event will also feature new University of North Texas head football coach Seth Littrell
as the keynote speaker, and Award-winning sportscaster Scott Murray
will serve as the evening's emcee for the eighth consecutive year.
The 2016 major award winners include:
- Norm Hitzges, longtime Dallas sports talk radio staple and current host on The Ticket, 1310 AM and 96.7 FM – Distinguished Texan Award (previously announced)
- Brad Bradley, legendary college football photographer – Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award
- Eddy Peach, longtime former head football coach at Arlington Lamar – Legends Award
- Rory Bernard, Dallas Football Officials Association and Southland Conference official – Steve Storie Official of the Year
- Jeff Rayburn, Frisco Lone Star – Large School Coach of the Year
- Chad Worrell, Brock – Small School Coach of the Year
- Steven Lemley, Cedar Hill – Assistant Coach of the Year
The awardees will join the collegiate and high school scholar-athletes who will be announced in the coming weeks. A number of scholarships will be distributed to several of the high school scholar-athletes.
“All of our 2016 honorees have built tremendous careers geared toward making football in North Texas as good as it can be,” said Gerald Brence, president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter and athletics director for the Plano Independent School District. “They have all enjoyed considerable success, and it is our pleasure to recognize each of their efforts.”
The event will showcase the great stories in North Texas that will inspire future student-athletes to excel in the classroom and become more involved in their communities. The event also provides a key platform for recognizing the contributions of the football leaders in the region who have placed North Texas football among the best in the nation, and this year's honorees have been selected for their outstanding accomplishments and lasting community impact.
The event has attracted a sellout crowd of 500-plus people each of the past seven years and several members of the College Football Hall of Fame are expected to attend. For more information on 2016 tickets and/or banquet sponsorship opportunities, please contact club president Gerald Brence at 469-878-5370 or via email at Gerald.Brence@pisd.edu.
The NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas is one of 120 nationwide chapters of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The NFF 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. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, the William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF High School Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes.
2016 NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Major Award Honoree Bios
Distinguished Texan Award – Norm Hitzges
In August 1975, Norm Hitzges began working at KERA-FM (90.1), hosting an hour of Saturday morning radio airtime that started an unparalleled sports-talk run on the Dallas-Fort Worth radio dial. In 1985, he hosted the country’s first all-sports morning-drive show in a major market on KLIF-AM 570. Hitzges moved to The Ticket, 1310 AM and 96.7 FM, in 2000, where his weekday radio show with co-host Donovan Lewis can be heard from 10 a.m.-Noon CT. Hitzges has been on-air continuously for more than 40 years in the DFW Market, which is the longest such stretch of any major market talk show host in the country. Hitzges has been honored by the Texas Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Dallas All Sports Association and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. In addition to his broadcasting resume, Hitzges has also authored four books, and since 2000, he has hosted the “Norm-A-Thon”, an 18 hour broadcast marathon during the Christmas holidays that has raised more than $3 million for the Austin Street Center for the Homeless. Click here for the full release previously announcing Hitzges as the Distinguished Texan Award recipient.
Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award – Brad Bradley
Brad Bradley has been a college football photographer in North Texas for almost 70 years. Bradley’s career began in 1947 when his father-in-law, Jim Laughead, asked him if he wanted to help with the SMU yearbook, and he soon jumped on the Southwest Conference football beat. He covered his first Cotton Bowl game on New Year's Day, 1948, when College Football Hall of Famer Doak Walker was in his heyday, and he has been a permanent fixture at the game ever since. Through the years, Bradley became one of college football's favorite photographers, traveling southeast in an old station wagon with Laughead to take photos of every team in the Southeastern Conference. They are credited with creating “huck and buck” shots, which simulate players movements on the field without their helmets on. At one point in their almost-40-year run, the Laughead Photography duo was covering 44 colleges and various NFL teams. Still going strong at age 93, he also continues to work for SMU, most recently snapping the Doak Walker Award Banquet in mid-February.
Legends Award – Eddy Peach
Eddy Peach was the head football coach at Arlington Lamar High School from when the school opened in 1970 until his retirement in February 2010. The first and only Texas coach to win 300 games at the Class 5A level, Peach retired as the state's seventh-winningest high school football coach with a career record of 309-124-6. He led Lamar to the 5A championship game in 1990, and his teams were state semifinalists in 2000 and 2003. In four decades, he suffered only four losing seasons and his teams claimed 16 district championships. Under his direction, the Vikings set an Arlington Independent School District record for most consecutive playoff appearances with 13 in a row. An All-American baseball player at Oklahoma, Peach landed his first varsity coaching position with the Arlington High School baseball team in 1965. When Lamar opened, he was hired to be the school's first football coach, and he coached his first varsity football game in 1971. Eddy and Debbie Peach Elementary, named in honor of the legendary coach and his wife, a longtime teacher in the Arlington school district, will open this fall in North Arlington. His son, Scott, is the current head coach at Arlington High School, while his other son, Shawn, is an assistant at Moody High School.
Steve Storie Official of the Year – Rory Bernard
Rory Bernard has been working as a college football official since 2011. He began his officiating career for the Lone Star Conference in NCAA Division II before becoming an official with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision in 2015. Bernard has also served as a referee in the CFO West since 2013, working games in the Big 12, Mountain West and Southland conferences. He has also served as a longtime president of the Dallas Football Officials Association, a chapter of the Texas Association of Sport Officials, which is the governing body over most high school and junior high school sports officials in the state of Texas.
Large School Coach of the Year – Jeff Rayburn, Frisco Lone Star
In just his third season as the head football coach at Frisco Lone Star High School, Jeff Rayburn led the Rangers to a 14-2 record and a trip to the Class 5A Division II state championship game. Lone Star is the first Frisco ISD team to have played in a state championship. In his first season as head coach in 2013, he led the Rangers to the third round of the 3A Division I playoffs. Rayburn has been with the program since its inception in 2010, serving as offensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach. After graduating with a degree in education from the University of Oklahoma, he had coaching stints at Duncanville, Haltom and Hillcrest high schools.
Small School Coach of the Year – Chad Worrell, Brock
In only its second year of varsity football, Chad Worrell led Brock High School to a perfect 16-0 record and the Class 3A Division I state title in 2015. Brock scored five touchdowns in the second half of the championship game to rally from behind for a 43-33 victory over three-time reigning state champion Cameron Yoe. Worrell began building the Brock football program from scratch in 2011, and the Eagles played their first full season in 2013 before joining the UIL in 2014 to become playoff eligible. In that first season, Worrell led Brock to the state quarterfinals. He previously had stints as the head coach at San Angelo Grape Creek and Tom Bean and as an assistant at Celina from 2005-09, helping the Bobcats to their seventh and eighth state titles.
Assistant Coach of the Year – Steven Lemley, Cedar Hill
A football coach and teacher for 13 years at Cedar Hill High School, Steven Lemley has been inspirational both on and off the field. He came to Cedar Hill in 2003 along with head coach Joey McGuire, starting an unprecedented run of success for the Longhorns. Cedar Hill had never won a football playoff game before 2003, but under Lemley’s guidance, the Longhorns have won 31 playoff games, played in four state title games and won three of them, including back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014. Despite being diagnosed with throat cancer last June and undergoing multiple surgeries and treatments, Lemley helped Cedar Hill to a 9-2 record and another trip to the playoffs in 2015. A fire recently damaged his home, but he has refused to miss too much time from school, crediting coaching and teaching with the strength to keep going.