NEW HAVEN, CT – Former University of Notre Dame and All-Pro running back and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis is the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s 2014 “Man of the Year” award.
The Walter Camp “Man of the Year” award honors an individual who has been closely associated with the game of football as a player, coach or close attendant to the game. He must have attained a measure of success and been a leader in his chosen profession. He must have contributed to the public service for the benefit of his community, country and his fellow man. He must have an impeccable reputation for integrity and must be dedicated to our American Heritage and the philosophy of Walter Camp.
Bettis joins a distinguished list of former “Man of the Year” winners, including Roger Staubach (Navy), Gale Sayers (Kansas), Dick Butkus (Illinois), John Elway (Stanford) and last year’s recipient Matt Millen (Penn State).
“Jerome Bettis’ success on the football field pales in comparison to what he has done off the field to help children succeed. This devotion makes him a worthy recipient of the Man of the Year Award,” said Foundation president James Monico.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Bettis was an All-State running back and linebacker at MacKenzie High School before attending the University of Notre Dame. He played three seasons at Notre Dame, accumulating 1,912 rushing yards while setting a school record with 20 touchdowns during the 1991 season. It was at Notre Dame where he was first nicknamed, “The Bus.”
Bettis was drafted in the first round (10th pick overall) in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and played three seasons with the team before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996. He proceeded to rush for more than 1,000 yards over the next six seasons for the Steelers, including a career-best 1,665 in 1997.
In 2005, Bettis led the Steelers to Super Bowl XL and a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Following that Super Bowl win, Bettis announced his retirement.
During his NFL career, he earned First Team All-Pro honors twice (1993 and 1996) and Second Team honors once (1997). Bettis was selected to play in six Pro Bowls. He finished his 13 NFL seasons as the NFL’s 5th all-time leading rusher with 13,662 yards and 91 touchdowns.
In 2002, he was named the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Following his playing career, Bettis began television work for NBC and the NFL Network. He currently hosts a radio show and is an NFL analyst for ESPN. More importantly, he founded the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation, which creates a variety of programs and provides resources to assist under-privileged youth in making healthy choices. In addition, Bettis, who suffered from asthma as a child, focuses his efforts to encourage and educate children how to better manage their asthma and reduce its limitations.
Jerome and his wife Trameka reside in Georgia and have two children.
Bettis as well as all of the major award winners and members of the 2014 Walter Camp All-America team will be honored at the organization’s 48th annual national awards banquet on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. The Foundation is offering a “Holiday Ticket Promotion” for the National Awards Dinner. Buy two tickets for $450 (you save $150). Please call (203) 288-CAMP (288-2267) for more information.
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 (www.waltercamp.org) – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.
Man of the Year Recipients
2014 – Jerome Bettis, Notre Dame
2013 – Matt Millen, Penn State
2012 – Herm Edwards, San Diego State
2011 – Harry Carson, South Carolina State
2010 – Will Shields, Nebraska
2009 – John Elway, Stanford
2008 – Morten Andersen, Michigan State
2007– Dick Butkus, University of Illinois
2006 – Mike Utley, Washington State
2005 – Dwight Stephenson, Alabama
2004 – Anthony Munoz, Southern California
2003 – Ozzie Newsome, Alabama
2002 – Jim Kelly, Miami (Fla.)
2001 – Mike Singletary, Baylor
2000 – Howie Long, Villanova
1999 – Gil Brandt, Dallas Cowboys
1998 – Lou Holtz, Kent State University
1997 – Calvin Hill, Yale
1996 – Lynn Swann, Southern California
1995 – Reggie Williams, Dartmouth
1994 – Dick Anderson, Colorado
1993 – Warren Moon, Washington
1992 – Bob Griese, Purdue
1991 – Mel Blount, Southern
1990 – Nick Buoniconti, Notre Dame
1989 – Paul Brown, Miami (Ohio)
1988 – Andy Robustelli, Arnold
1987 – Levi Jackson, Yale
1986 – Willie Davis, Grambling
1985 – Ricky Bleier, Notre Dame
1984 – Don Shula, John Carroll
1983 – Roger Staubach, Navy
1982 – Merlin Olsen, Utah State
1981 – Otto Graham, Northwestern
1980 – Gale Sayers, Kansas
1979 – Jack Kemp, Occidental
1978 – Floyd Little, Syracuse
1977 – Fred Dunlap, Colgate
1976 – Edward Krause, Notre Dame
1975 – Pete Dawkins, Army
1974 – Jake Gaither, Knoxville College/Florida A&M
1973 – Duffy Daugherty, Syracuse/Michigan State
1972 – Clinton Frank, Yale
1971 – Doc Blanchard, Army
1970 – Harry Kipke, Michigan
1969 – Pete Rozelle, San Francisco
1968 – Ted Blair, Yale
1967 – Hamilton Fish, Harvard