Annual Blanton Collier Award
The Blanton Collier Award was established by the KY Chapter of the NFL alumni in 2007 to honor individuals who not only excelled on the football field, but utilized the platform given them through their athletic careers to give back off the field. The annual winner is chosen by the Blanton Collier Sportsmanship Group. The award is named for Blanton Collier who was head football coach at the University of Kentucky and went on to be head coach of the Cleveland Browns where he led them to the World Championship in 1964. Coach Collier was known for his integrity on and off the field. He always shook hands left-handed, for the left hand 'is closer to my heart'. In presenting the first award to Coach Rich Brooks, former NFL star Frank Minnifield quoted Collier's famous words, "You can accomplish anything you want, as long as you do not care who gets the credit." The list of recipients has set a high standard for the award: Coach Brooks, the 2008 awardees, members of Collier's final University of Kentucky football recruiting class and team who were recognized for "getting up off their knees and moving on to successful college careers and lives" after a coaching change which disrupted many young lives, the 2009 recipient Tony Dungy, the 2010 recipient Jim Brown, the 2011 recipient Gale Sayers, the 2012 recipients the Manning family, the 2013 recipients the Harbaughs, Jack and sons John and Jim and the 2014 recipient Franky Minnifield.
Franky Minnifield with the Blanton Collier Award accompanied by Blanton Collier Hansen (grandson of Blanton Collier from Houston), wife Diane Minnifield and Kay Collier McLaughlin (daughter of Blanton Collier from Lexington)
The 2014 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award was presented to Franky Minnifield in Louisville, KY on June 20, 2014
Franky Minnifield is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, who graduated from Henry Clay High School and the University of Louisville. After graduating from Louisville, he played cornerback for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for nine years, from 1984 -93. During this time, Franky made the Pro Bowl 4 years straight, All NFL 3 years and played in 3 AFC championship games. Upon his retirement from professional football, he returned home to Lexington, where he still resides with his wife, Diane, and two children, Chase and Chanel. Franky displays the same tenacious commitment to his business and civic endeavors as he exhibited in his pro football career. In 2006, he received the Volunteers of America “Person of the Year” Award. In 1997, Minnifield Enterprize was selected as Lexington’s “Minority Business of the Year”. Franky has served on several boards including the YMCA of Central Kentucky, LexTran, Governor’s Sports Commission, the Lexington Sports Authority, and currently, Community Trust Bank and the University of Louisville. In addition, Franky is a member of several halls of fame including: Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame, University of Louisville Hall of Fame, Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, and the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The 2013 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
FATHER JACK HARBAUGH AND SONS JIM and JOHN RECEIVED THE NFL/COLLIER AWARD JUNE 28, 2013 IN LOUISVILLE, KY
The 2012 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
The Archie Manning Family receives NFL/Collier Award June 15, 2012
Scott Brogdon, President of the Blanton Collier Sportsmanship Group, and Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, who presented the award on behalf of the Players Association, the BCSG and the Collier family, celebrate with Archie Manning, whose family were receipients of the 2012 award.
The 2012 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award Video - Part 1 of 2
The 2012 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award Video - Part 2 of 2
Celebration and awards in Louisville, KY on June 14 and 15, 2012.
The 2011 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
GALE SAYERS RECEIVED NFL/COLLIER AWARD ON JUNE 24, 2011
#40 came to town!
College and NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers came to Lexington to receive the BLANTON COLLIER AWARD for giving back with integrity both on and off the field.
Gale Sayers set a standard of excellence in his football days, first at the University of Kansas where he earned the nickname the Kansas Comet and then with the Chicago Bears where injuries ended his career after five short years. Mr. Sayers is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sayers' NFL records include most touchdowns in a rookie season (22 in 1965), most touchdowns in a game (6, tied with others), highest career kickoff return average (30.56), and most return touchdowns in a game (2, tied with many others). His friendship and support of fellow Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo was the basis for the movie Brianï¿½s Song. The movie exemplifies the type of character that Mr. Sayers has shown throughout his life. Gale Sayers has had a successful career following his retirement from football. In 1976, Sayers was named Athletic Director at Southern Illinois University. In 1984 he founded Crest Computer Supply Company in the Chicago-area. Under Sayersï¿½ leadership, the company experienced consistent growth and was renamed Sayers 40, Inc. Gale Sayers and his wife are also active philanthropists in Chicago, Kansas and elsewhere. They support the Cradle Foundationï¿½an adoption organization in Evanston, Illinois, and, most recently, they founded the Gale Sayers Center in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The Gale Sayers Center is an after-school program for children ages 8ï¿½12 from Chicago's west side and focuses on leadership development, tutoring, and mentoring.
The 2010 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
JIM BROWN RECEIVED NFL/COLLIER AWARD ON JUNE 18, 2010
#32 came to town!
Jim Brown, the Hall of Fame record setting running back for the 1964 World Champion Cleveland Browns, and Founder of the Amer-I-Can Foundation to assist young people who might otherwise fall through society's cracks came to Lexington to receive the Kentucky Chapter NFL Hall of Fame BLANTON COLLIER AWARD for giving back with integrity off the field as well as on.
The BLANTON COLLIER SPORTSMANSHIP GROUP, a non-profit established to promote ethics, education and excellence in athletics joined with the KY Chapter NFL in the presentation of the award and other activities during Brown's visit to Lexington.
While many of Jim Brown's records still stand today, the KY Chapter NFL Hall of Fame Committee and the Blanton Collier Sportsmanship Group are proud to note that upon his retirement, the then-29 year old Brown asked not for a gala event for himself; rather, for a fund-raiser for the Negro Industrial and Economic Union which he had founded to assist minority business owners. While Brown is still known today as arguably the greatest football player to ever play the game, and is an advisor to the Browns, his time and energy are devoted to work with young people through Amer-I-Can.
The 2009 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
The Recipient Of The 2009 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award - Coach Tony Dungy!
COACH TONY DUNGY, retired head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Bucaneers has been named the recipient of the 2009 NFLPA- Kentucky Chapter's 3rd Annual Blanton Collier Award for INTEGRITY ON AND OFF THE FIELD. He was presented the award at the 7th annual Kentucky Chapter NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday evening, June 19th, at the Opera House in Lexington, Kentucky.
At the NFL Media Conference on April 16th, the following introduction was given for the 2009 award:
We believe that there could be no higher standard set for those who might be considered for the NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award than the 2009 recipient. You have known him as the winning coach of two NFL teams. You have known him as a teacher, of both the men who have played for him, and his assistant coaches, three of whom are presently head coaches in the National Football League. You have known him to have widespread recognition as an individual of such personal integrity and deep beliefs, lived daily in his actions , that he has received awards and accolades from educational, civic and religious institutions. You have known him as the author of five books ; the title of the latest of these describes so well the reasons he has been chosen to receive this award:Quiet Strength:The Principles, Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life. He is the living example of the truth of the statement that GOOD GUYS DO WIN 'on the field and in life.
Coach Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory on February 4, 2007, the first such win for an African American coach. Dungy established another NFL first by leading his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years. He has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Prison Crusade Ministry, and All Pro Dad. He also works with Basket of Hope, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the American Diabetes Association. He retired from coaching in 2008 and now serves as an analyst for NBCï¿½s Football Night in America.
The 2008 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
1961-62 University of Kentucky Football Team
The second annual NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award was presented in 2008 to the 1961-62 University of Kentucky varsity and freshman football teams, Blanton Collier's final UK team and recruiting class. It was presented for the manner in which they overcame the difficulties of the loss of their coach, and the change in coaching philosophy, in order to achieve success in life as well as on the field.
The 2007 NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
Coach Rich Brooks with the Blanton Collier award trophy!
The first annual NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award was presented in 2007 to University of Kentucky head football coach Rich Brooks; for integrity on and off the field.
Coach Rich Brooks has had a high degree of success as a college and pro football coach. He ended his coaching career as head coach of the University of Kentucky. He was head coach at the University of Oregon for 17 years. Brooks was also head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. His efforts have been recognized through a number of national coaching awards including Pac- 10 Coach of the Year, Slats Gill Sportsman of the Year (State of Oregon) and National Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America. Throughout his coaching career coach Brooks has been known for his ethics and his efforts to build character in his players.
More About Blanton Collier and The NFLPA, Kentucky Chapter Blanton Collier Award
Collier, a native of Paris, Kentucky, played Midget Football at Georgetown, College, where his nick-name was 'Brainy.' Graduating at age 20, he became the coach of all sports at Paris High School, and taught history and math. He was a few hours from completion of his Doctorate in Educational Administration at the University of Kentucky, scouting for both Bear Bryant and Adolph Rupp when war intervened, bringing with it a story-book meeting of the high school coach from Kentucky and the famed Paul Brown, who, recognizing genius when he saw it, hired Collier to assist him in coaching the Great Lakes Navy team, and then as his top assistant with the newly formed Cleveland Browns, where the two took the Browns to the top of the pro football world. Collier then spent eight winning years in Kentucky , compiling a record of wins against arch-rival Tennessee that still stands today, before returning to Cleveland. He became Head Coach of The Cleveland Browns, master-minding their 'return to glory,' with a World Championship (pre-Super-Bowl) in 1964. The great Jim Brown said of his Coach:'I was prepared for his genius; I was not prepared for his humanity.'
His college coaching staffs yielded seven NFL head coaches and a Doctor of Philosophy. He is still known in the pro ranks as 'The Old Professor'-according to Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, 'probably the best of them all.' His innumerable former students include such famous names as Ara Parseghian and Don Shula, as well as literally hundreds who benefitted from his teaching and his example on the field, in the classroom, and in life.
Coach Collier's biography, FOOTBALL'S GENTLE GIANT:THE BLANTON COLLIER STORY is available at local libraries and online.