The Campbell Trophy

Established: 1990
Presented by Fidelity Investments and Hosted at the New York Athletic Club

Named in honor of William V. Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the trophy has become the most prestigious and desirable "academic" award in college football. The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. In 2014, Fidelity Investments became the trophy's presenting sponsor, while the New York Athletic Club became its official home in 2013.

Known as "The Coach of Silicon Valley," Bill Campbell became one of our country's most influential business leaders, playing critical roles in the success of Apple, Google, Intuit and countless other high tech companies. The captain of the 1961 Columbia Ivy League championship team, he found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop, and manage talented executives - all lessons learned on the gridiron - proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success. Later in life, Campbell was driven by a heartfelt desire to give back, and he quietly gave away tens of millions of dollars to multiple charities while also finding an hour and half each autumn weekday to coach an eighth-grade boys and girls flag-football team near his home in Palo Alto, Calif. Campbell passed away April 18, 2016, at the age of 75.

Criteria and Selection Process 
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be:

* A senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility;
* Have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale;
* Have outstanding football ability as a first team player; and 
* Have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. 

Selected by the NFF Awards Committee in October, the finalists and the winner are all honored at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in December at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. Each finalist receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The individual selected as the absolute best and the winner of the Campbell Trophy has his postgraduate scholarship increased to a total of $25,000, which is endowed by HealthSouth. The award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy.

William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official website: 

Current Recipients

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New York Athletic Club

In December 2013, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) became the exclusive home of The William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments.

As part of the partnership between the NYAC and the National Football Foundation, the trophy occupies a prominent section of the NYAC Hall of Fame, featuring the names of each of the Campbell Trophy winners at the club's landmark building on Central Park in New York City.

"The New York Athletic Club is extremely pleased to showcase the Campbell Trophy in our Hall of Fame and to partner with the National Football Foundation to promote all that the award symbolizes," said NYAC President Dominic Bruzzese at the time of a ribbon cutting ceremony. "The Trophy recognizes those attributes ­- sportsmanship and a dedication to excellence - that the Club prizes in its own athletes."

The organizations work together each year to stage multiple events at the facility with the trophy as the focal point. The events include a special annual celebration with the newest recipient of the Campbell Trophy, occurring the day after the announcement of the winner during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. Other events include college football kickoff and championship celebrations. 

“The New York Athletic Club provides the Campbell Trophy a powerful and versatile venue for promoting the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Making the NYAC the official home of the Campbell Trophy provides the award an outstanding platform in one of the most important cities in the world. Our partnership with the NYAC helps us amplify the spotlight on the award and our goal of inspiring student-athletes to achieve excellence in all aspects of their lives.”

Founded in 1868, the New York Athletic Club boasts a unique history. The Club’s founding premise was to bring structure to a sporting environment that was lacking in organization and uniformity of measurement. Quickly, the NYAC organized the first US championships in boxing, swimming, wrestling and track & field. Today, the New York City clubhouse stands in tribute to an unmatched athletic history and the NYAC’s ongoing commitment to the pursuit of sporting excellence, while also providing unmatched social opportunities for its members. Among its members have been some of the most accomplished individuals in the worlds of sport, business and the arts. Notably, Club athletes have won 248 Olympic medals. Visit for more information.

Corporate Partners