Silicon Valley leaders host inaugural event announcing the finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, establishing a powerful West Coast platform for promoting the scholar-athlete ideal.
(Pictured: A large number of luminaries gathered to pay tribute to the late Bill Campbell. L-R: Mark Flynn (GSV Asset Management Co-Managing Partner), Ray Anderson (NFF Board Member and Arizona State Athletics Director), Jonathan Rosenberg (Google Senior Vice President), event emcee Ted Robinson (Pac-12 Networks and San Francisco 49ers broadcaster), NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, Mike Moe (CEO of GSVlabs), Pat Gallagher (former San Francisco Giants senior executive), Dr. Jim Hansen (1992 Campbell Trophy winner from Colorado and current head of the Naval Research Laboratory’s Marine Meteorology Division), Chase Beeler (Altamont Capital Partners Senior Associate and former Stanford All-American) and Larry Scott (Pac-12 Commissioner).)
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (Nov. 2, 2016)
– A group of the nation’s top business leaders gathered last night to pay tribute to the late Bill Campbell
, one of the most influential corporate executives in Silicon Valley and the longest serving member of the National Football Foundation (NFF) Board of Directors who passed away in April. The collection of powerbrokers used the announcement of the 2016 finalists for the NFF’s William V. Campbell Trophy
, presented by Fidelity Investments, earlier in the day as a platform for paying homage to a man who influenced many of their careers.
“We all suffered a great loss in April when Bill Campbell passed away,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell
. “But tonight, we come together to celebrate his great legacy in what we hope will become an annual tribute to his profound and enduring impact. The Campbell Trophy
is a fitting tribute to Bill and the ideals that he embodied, and this event, highlighting the finalists for the award that bears his name, provides the perfect vehicle for promoting all of the values that he learned on the gridiron and carried into his business career.”
More than 300 luminaries attended the event at GSVlabs in Redwood City, Calf., including NFF Board Members Arizona State Athletics Director Ray Anderson and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Mike Moe, the CEO of GSVlabs, a former Minnesota player under Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz and a business protégé of Campbell’s, hosted the event at his company’s corporate headquarters. Moe asked the attendees to join him in an effort to use the trophy as a catalyst for recognizing thousands of the best student-athletes nationwide and bringing them to Silicon Valley for mentorship programs and an annual West Coast summit.
"Bill’s passing created a huge void for everybody in this room, but what is remarkable is that Bill is still able to bring us together,” said Moe. “Bill’s legacy reaches so far and wide, and he left us many opportunities to rally around the causes that he loved, and there is perhaps none more resonant to his core than the National Football Foundation and The William V. Campbell Trophy. So, we now have this excuse annually to come together to celebrate Bill, his values, his love of football and announcing the names of the finalists for The William V. Campbell Trophy.”
The Pac-12, led by Commissioner Larry Scott, collaborated with the NFF on the event, in an effort to create an important stage on the West Coast for the promotion of the award, which already has a prominent presence on the East Coast at its official home at the New York Athletic Club in New York City as well as in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Scott, who addressed the crowd, said the Pac-12 was “all-in” as a partner in helping elevate the stature of the trophy and all that it symbolizes.
“I have been inspired by Bill and inspired by his vision,” Scott said. “It was his wish that the world understand all the benefits that football can bring to young people in life, and I am up here to say that we want to be part of honoring Bill’s wish and really taking the Campbell Trophy to the next level because of the impact that we think it can have… The Campbell Trophy offers an incredible opportunity to shine a light on the amazing stories, life lessons and power of football to develop this country’s future leaders.”
Ted Robinson, who provides play-by-play for the Pac-12 Networks and the San Francisco 49ers and was a long-time friend of Bill Campbell, emceed the event. Robinson noted the evening’s poignancy in creating a vehicle for bringing Campbell’s friends together in his absence while paying tribute to all the values he embodied.
“We all loved Bill, and we’re all here tonight to elevate the profile of the trophy,” said Robinson. “It is about what Bill was trying to promote. He was trying to promote being a complete person… It is not just the scholar-athlete… It is academics. It is football, and it is about leadership, which is a big component of the Campbell Trophy, which sometimes gets lost in translation.”
Robinson conducted a set of interviews with former San Francisco Giants senior executive Pat Gallagher, Google Senior Vice President Jonathan Rosenberg and Altamont Capital Partners Senior Associate and former Stanford All-American Chase Beeler, three people with whom Campbell developed lasting relationships. The three all shared their favorite Campbell stories and the life lessons, which they had carried into their professional and personal lives.
“I knew Bill as parents, and we were parents of kids in sports and neighbors,” said Gallagher. “He also told me that I knew him before he was a big shot. He had failed at a bunch of stuff, which is hard to believe, and he thought in his mid-50s that it was all over, and that ‘I am not going to be able to do it.’ So, the gift that he gave me was getting to know him all the way through…
“He had to grit his teeth [about having the award] named in his honor, but the way he rationalized it was by saying a little bit of recognition is ok as long as it inspires other people.”
Special guests included Bill’s wife Eileen Bocci Campbell and son Jim Campbell. Two past recipients of the trophy, Dr. Jim Hansen from Colorado (1992) and David Helton from Duke (2014), attended the event. Hansen, a First Team, All-Big Eight offensive tackle, Rhodes Scholar and current head of the Naval Research Laboratory’s Marine Meteorology Division in Monterey, Calif., announced the finalists. (Click here for the 2016 finalists.)
“I take a lot of pride in having won an award with Bill’s name on it,” said Hansen. “He clearly set standards in the business world and had a passion for giving back as a mentor. Just last week, I spent a week with a bunch of admirals and members of the senior executive service, and I can tell you that Bill’s approach to leadership and building relationships is consistent with the direction that the U.S. Navy is heading from the four star level all the way down.”
Campbell, the captain of 1961 Columbia Ivy League football championship team, began his career as a football coach, and he joined the NFF Board in 1978 when he was still a young football coach at Columbia. After an unlikely career switch at age 39, he became an advertising executive, which then led to critical roles in the success of Apple, Google, Intuit and countless other high tech companies, earning him the moniker of “The Coach of Silicon Valley.” Along the way, he remained on the NFF Board as one of the organization’s most ardent supporters.
In 2009, the NFF named college football’s premier scholar-athlete award as The William V. Campbell Trophy in his honor. The Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Each year, the Campbell Trophy finalists are made up from the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class with each of the members receiving an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Each finalist travels to New York City for the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. At the event, one member of the class is declared in dramatic fashion as the winner of The William V. Campbell Trophy, and his postgraduate scholarship is increased to $25,000. The event this year will take place Dec. 6, marking the 27th presentation of the award.
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 FootballMatters.org, 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 Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Hofmann Brands, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour & VICIS. Learn more at footballfoundation.org.