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Manti Te'o Takes Home the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award


Manti Te'o was announced as the winner of the 43rd Rotary Lombardi Award tonight, joining the legendary ranks of Luke Kuechly, Dat Nguyen, and Warren Sapp who also won this prestigious award.

“I am not sure the Rotary Club has ever had four better qualified candidates to receive this prestigious award, but the voters felt Manti Te'o best exhibited the qualities of Coach Lombardi for his courage, determination and leadership,” said Rick Slemaker, the national chairman of the Rotary Lombardi Award committee. “I simply want to thank these remarkable young men and their coaches for helping renew this incredible college football tradition and help save lives in the process.”

Manti Te'o, a senior at the University of Notre Dame, is one of the most decorated players in the history of the university. He leads the Fighting Irish with 103 tackles and is only the second Notre Dame player to get at least 100 tackles in three consecutive seasons. Te'o has started 48 career games, including each of the last 47 games. This is the longest streak of any linebacker in the country. Te'o has had seven interceptions this season and he set a school single-season record for most interceptions by a linebacker. He generated nine total turnovers which is a tie for the most of any FBS player.

Te'o is a first team All-American, a National Scholar-Athlete and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He is a recent winner of the ARA Sportsman, Nagurski and Butkus awards. He is a finalist for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Bednarik awards as well as the Lott Trophy. Additionally, he was one of the finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

The Rotary Lombardi Award televised announcement was the culmination of two days of community outreach and networking events. The players, along with the reigning Ms. Texas USA Ali Nugent, visited Cullen Middle School to talk about their individual journeys and to inspire the 6th graders to stay in school.

The finalists visited the Texas Children's Hematology and Cancer Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to talk with children and their families who are displaying courage in the face of great human struggles. Finally, they met with business and community leaders at the Energy and VIP receptions whose generosity is helping to fund the war against cancer.

The evening of the Rotary Lombardi Award announcement began at 5 p.m. CST with a star-studded red carpet. The red carpet arrivals included Coach Brian Kelly of the University of Notre Dame, former Green Bay Packer great Jerry Kramer, Coach Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M University, coaching legend from the University of Nebraska Tom Osborne, young patients from the Front Line Kids, and Houston's Mayor Annise Parker.

The telecast was carried live nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

Rotary Lombardi Award

The Rotary Lombardi Award helps sustain the legacy of Coach Vince Lombardi by recognizing excellence both on and off the football field. Established in 1970, The Rotary Lombardi Award has raised millions of dollars to support cancer research, education and direct services to cancer patients. The award embodies the Rotary tradition of service above self as well as the ideals of Vince Lombardi.

National College Football Awards Association:

The Rotary Lombardi Award 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,

Rotary Lombardi Award
Rick Slemaker, Programs Chairperson, 713-973-9936
Steve Vetrano, Administration and Finance Chairperson, 713-973-9936
Yvette Scheiber, Public Relations Chairperson, 713-973-9936

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