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NFF's High School Academic Excellence Award Named For CU's Hatchell

Jul 24, 2022
Steve Hatchell speaking at the 2021 NFF Hall of Fame Induction dinner.

IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced last week that the annual recipient of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Award will receive the NFF Hatchell Cup trophy. The honor is named for current NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell in recognition of his leadership and longstanding service to the NFF and his commitment to the betterment of the game of football.
 
Hatchell is a 1970 University of Colorado graduate, having worked in the school's equipment office as well as serving as editor of CU's yearbook.  He started his career in athletics as an assistant to then-CU athletic director, the late Eddie Crowder.  He was eventually named co-Sports Information Director before leaving CU for the positions in the Big Eight Conference, the Orange Bowl, the Southwest Conference, the Big 12 Conference and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association before undertaking his current position in 2006. 

"For the past 17 years, nobody has worked harder or more tirelessly to promote the scholar-athlete ideal than Steve Hatchell," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "Steve has been a force in college athletics since the early 1970s, and naming this award in his honor pays tribute to his vision and leadership as a protector of the game and a passionate advocate in highlighting our sport's ability to inspire excellence in the classroom."
 
The NFF announced the creation of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards in 2021, with the Nebraska and Texas state high school coaches associations leading the initial effort. The initiative is designed to inspire and foster a culture of academic excellence on high school football teams throughout the nation.
 
In February, Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, Texas, was announced as the top team in the nation after being chosen from the 62 teams that were selected as the state recipients of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards. The 62 teams were all selected as the top academic winners from each division of play in 13 states. The inaugural presentation of the NFF Hatchell Cup trophy will take place July 19 during the 2022 Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) Convention & Coaching School in San Antonio.
 
Steve Hatchell's career in athletics administration spans more than five decades and includes countless accomplishments, including serving as the first commissioner of the Big 12 Conference in Dallas and holding the top jobs at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the Southwest Conference, the Orange Bowl and the Metropolitan Collegiate Athletic Conference.
 
Since taking over the helm of the NFF in 2005, Hatchell has overseen numerous programs that expand the NFF's reach and impact, specifically in the context of today's announcement to promote the scholar-athlete ideal. 
 
These programs include: the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, which has helped raise and distribute millions of dollars for the NFF scholarship programs; the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which has honored 14,655 student-athletes since its 2007 inception; the NFF Faculty Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments; and the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards, with the top prize now bearing his name as the Hatchell Cup.
 
Hatchell has significantly raised the profile of the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy®, which recognizes the nation's top scholar-athlete, finding an official home for the trophy at the prestigious and historic New York Athletic Club. He also worked with the leadership of the College Football Playoff to make sure that the recipient of the trophy is recognized each year on the field during the national title game, and he led the launch of the Campbell Trophy Summit, which takes place at Stanford University in August.
 
Hatchell's vision and leadership led to the launch of the NFF Future For Football campaign, which includes a robust presence in social media and a series of public service announcements and video features that highlight the positive and lifelong impact that football has had on those who play and support the game. Millions of people have been exposed to the campaign with the TV spots airing on ESPN, FOX, the NFL Network, Bally Sports regional networks and countless college and university jumbotrons across the country.
 
Hatchell has been honored numerous times for his leadership. Pop Warner Little Scholars presented him the Warner Award in 2014 as an individual who has achieved excellence in athletics, scholarship and life's endeavors with integrity and humanity. The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) named him the 2015 recipient of the FWAA Bert McGrane Award for his contributions to the coverage of college football and his advocacy on behalf of those who cover the sport. Also in 2015, he claimed a NACDA Golden Anniversary Award, representing the NFF and its efforts in supporting the organization during its first 50 years. He was named a 2018 member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame class, recognizing his numerous contributions to the profession of sports information.
 
A graduate of the University of Colorado, Hatchell was inducted into the University of Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017, and he received an Honorary C Club award from the university in 1983.
 
For more information on the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Award, the Hatchell Cup or to learn how your state high school coaches association can participate next season, please contact the NFF at news@footballfoundation.com.
 
ABOUT The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters in 47 states, NFF programs include the selection and induction of members of the College Football Hall of Fame; the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta; Future For Football; The William V. Campbell Trophy®; the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments; the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards; and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Jostens, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the New York Athletic Club, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at footballfoundation.org.
 
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Preserving the Past, Promoting the Present, Preparing the Future, and Protecting the Game Through Programs and Initiatives that Support
• 774 Colleges & Universities • Over 81,000 College Football Players
• 15,810 High Schools • Over 1.04 Million High School Football Players