Former collegiate and professional standout Archie Manning (Ole Miss) is the 2018 recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Distinguished American award. Manning will be honored at the organization’s National Awards Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.
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.
Past recipients of the Walter Camp Distinguished American honor include nationally-respected sportscasters Pat Summerall (2004) and Verne Lundquist (2014), all-purpose television personality Regis Philbin (2003), former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (1994), world-renowned entertainer Bob Hope (1985), former college coach Eddie Robinson (1982), and last year’s recipient, former coach and current television analyst Lee Corso.
“The Manning name is synonymous with football and greatness,” said Walter Camp Football Foundation president Michael Madera. “Archie Manning is everything good about football, from his exploits on the playing field and his tireless work off the field promoting it.”
A native of Drew, Mississippi, Manning attended Ole Miss where he was the starting quarterback for three seasons. He was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1970. He was the first Ole Miss player to have his number (18) retired. Manning was also an outstanding baseball player, having been drafted four times by major league teams.
Manning was the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft and played 10 seasons for the New Orleans Saints. He earned two Pro Bowl selections and was the NFC Player of the Year in 1978. He concluded his professional career with the Houston Oilers (1982-83) and Minnesota Vikings (1983-84). He passed for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns in his NFL career.
Following his playing career, Manning has created a reputation as a leading humanitarian, assisting with a variety of causes, including cystic fibrosis, Special Olympics, Boy Scouts, and Salvation Army.
Manning was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989, and in 1993, he was named to the organization’s board of directors. In 2007, he accepted the role as chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame which is currently still holds.
A current resident of New Orleans, Manning and his wife, Olivia have three sons, including Peyton (a 1998 Walter Camp All-American quarterback at Tennessee) and Eli (a two-time Second Team All-America quarterback at Ole Miss). In 2006, the National Father’s Day Council named Archie ‘Father of the Year,” and in honor of the Manning’s college football accomplishments, the Sugar Bowl has created the Manning Award which goes to the nation’s top college quarterback.
Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967. The organization’s mission is to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team and honoring deserving individuals.
Distinguished American recipients
2018 – Archie Manning, Ole Miss
2017 – Lee Corso, Florida State University
2016 – Mike Ditka, University of Pittsburgh
2015 – Tim Shriver, Yale University/Special Olympics
2014 – Verne Lundquist, Texas Lutheran
2013 – Joe Theismann, Notre Dame
2012 – Tom Osborne, Hastings College/University of Nebraska
2011 – Floyd Little, Syracuse University
2010 – Chuck Bednarik, Pennsylvania
2009 – Robin Roberts, Southeastern Louisiana
2008 – Len Dawson, Purdue
2007 – Frank Broyles, Georgia Tech
2006 – Dick Vermeil, San Jose State
2005 – Arthur Blank, Babson
2004 – Pat Summerall, Arkansas
2003 – Bill Walsh, San Jose State
2002 – Regis Philbin, Notre Dame
2001 – New York City Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Service Personnel
2000 – Gene Upshaw, Texas A&I
1999 – Bo Schembechler, Miami (Ohio)
1998 – Steve Young, Brigham Young
1997 – Steve Largent, Tulsa
1996 – Dick Ebersol, Yale
1995 – Keith Jackson, Washington State
1994 – Paul Tagliabue, Georgetown
1993 – Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C.
1992 – Carm Cozza, Miami (Ohio)/Yale
1991 – Alexander Kroll, Rutgers
1990 – Tex Schramm, Texas
1989 – Richard Kazmaier, Princeton
1989 – Burt Reynolds, Florida State
1988 – Y.A. Tittle, Louisiana State
1987 – Weeb Ewbank, Miami (Ohio)
1986 – Tom Landry, Texas
1985 – Bob Hope
1984 – Maj. Gen. Bill Carpenter, Army
1983 – Tom Harmon, Michigan
1982 – Eddie Robinson, Grambling State
1981 – Harold “Red” Grange, Illinois
1980 – Alexander Haig, Army
1980 – George Halas, Illinois
1979 – David “Sonny” Werblin, Rutgers
1978 – James Crowley, Notre Dame