The Walter Camp Distinguished American

The Walter Camp “Distinguished American” award is presented each year to an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service and who may have accomplished that which no other has done.  He or she may have a record of dedication to mankind that should not pass unrecognized and a life that has been dedicated to the preservation of the American ideal.   The recipient need not have participated in football but must be one who understands its lesson of self-denial, cooperation and teamwork, and one who is a person of honesty, integrity and dedication.  He or she must be a leader, an innovator, even a pioneer, who has reached a degree of excellence that distinguishes him or her from contemporaries, as well as someone who lives within the principles of Walter Camp.

Tom Coughlin – Distinguished American

Two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Tom Coughlin is the recipient of the Distinguished American award.   Coughlin led the New York Giants to victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, both times against the New England Patriots.

In all, Coughlin was a part of three Super Bowls, helping the Giants win Super Bowl XXV as the wide receivers coach under Bill Parcells.    A member of the Giants Ring of Honor, Coughlin recorded a 102-90 record (.531) in 12 seasons as head coach.
Coughlin was also the inaugural coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, serving from 2005 to 2022 and leading the team to four playoff appearances and two AFC Championship Games and a 68-60 mark (.531).

Prior to his NFL head coaching career, Coughlin served three seasons at the collegiate level at Boston College where he was 21-13-1 record, a victory in the Car Quest Bowl, and a number 12 final national ranking in 1993.  Coughlin also served as an assistant coach at BC, where he coached eventual Walter Camp Player of Year Doug Flutie in 1983.  Coughlin started his head coaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology from 1970 to 1973.

Currently, Coughlin is the President of The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, which was created in honor of Jay McGillis.  Jay was a special young man who developed leukemia while a member of Coach Coughlin’s team at Boston College, and subsequently lost his valiant battle with the disease.   After going through the tragic events with Jay’s family, Coach Coughlin vowed that if he ever had the chance, he would create a way to help families with children battling cancer.  Coach Coughlin kept his promise and started the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund.

For over 25 years, the Jay Fund has evolved in size and scope and has helped over 5,200 families and provided over $17 million in financial assistance to families in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

Coughlin is a native of Waterloo, N.Y.   He played halfback for Syracuse and set the school single season pass receiving record in 1967.  He also earned his master’s degree from his alma mater.

Previous winners of the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award

Chris Berman – Brown University (2019)

Archie Manning – Ole Miss (2018)

Lee Corso – Florida State University (2017)

Mike Ditka – University of Pittsburgh (2016)

Tim Shriver – Yale University (2015)

Verne Lundquist – Texas Lutheran (2014)

Joe Theismann – University of Notre Dame (2013)

Tom Osborne – Hastings College (2012)

Floyd Little – Syracuse University (2011)

Chuck Bednarik – University of Pennsylvania (2010)

Robin Roberts – Southeastern Louisiana University (2009)

Len Dawson – Purdue University (2008)

Frank Broyles – Georgia Institute of Technology (2007)

Dick Vermeil – San Jose State University (2006)

Arthur Blank – Babson College (2005)

Pat Summerall – University of Arkansas (2004)

Bill Walsh – San Jose State University (2003)

Regis Philbin – University of Notre Dame (2002)

New York City Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service Personnel and Port Authority Policy (2001)

Gene Upshaw, Texas A&I University (2000)

Glenn “Bo” Schembechler – Miami (Ohio) University (1999)

Steve Young – Brigham Young University (1998)

Steve Largent – University of Tulsa (1997)

Dick Ebersol – Yale University (1996)

Keith Jackson – Washington State University (1995)

Paul Tagliabue – Georgetown University (1994)

The Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh – C.S.C (1993)

Carm Cozza – Miami University, Yale University (1992)

Susan Saint James – (1991)

Alexander Kroll – Rutgers University (1991)

Texas E. (Tex) Schramm – University of Texas (1990)

Richard W. Kazmaier – Princeton University (1989)

Burt Reynolds – Florida State University (1989)

Y.A. Tittle – Louisiana State University (1988)

Sid Luckman – Columbia University (1988)

Weeb Ewbank – Miami University (1987)

Tom Landry – University of Texas (1986)

Bob Hope – (1985)

Major General William “Bill” Carpenter – U.S.M.A. (1984)

Tom Harmon – University of Michigan (1983)

Edward “Eddie” Robinson – Grambling State University (1982)

Harold “Red” Grange – University of Illinois (1981)

Hon. Alexander M. Haig, Jr. – U.S.M.A. (1980)

George S. Halas – University of Illinois (1980)

David A. “Sonny” Werblin – Rutgers University (1979)

James Crowley – University of Notre Dame (1978)