| November 15, 2007 - Alex Kroll, who was an All-America center and linebacker at Rutgers in the early '60s, has been named the 2007 winner of the President Gerald R. Ford Legendary Center Award.
To be considered for the President Gerald R. Ford Legendary Center Award candidates must have either played the Center position at the collegiate or professional level; made extraordinary contributions to his team during his football career; or have proven to be an exemplary citizen, philanthropist or business leader.
"It is a thrill and an honor just to be named in the same paragraph with President Ford, Dave Rimington and Jim Otto," said Kroll. "Of course, the award means a great deal to me. I loved playing center. Ever since I was a 13 year old, 115 pound high school freshman, spending hours snapping footballs through an old rubber tire, I loved (and sweated) the uniqueness of the position - the special tests, challenges and responsibilities it gave me."
Kroll is the third winner of the award - following Ford (2005) and Jim Otto (2006). Kroll will be presented the award at this season's Rimington Trophy banquet, scheduled for Jan. 12 in Nebraska. The Rimington Trophy, named for former Nebraska All-America center Dave Rimington, honors the top center in college football.
"Alex Kroll is truly a legendary center on and off of the field," said Dave Rimington. "His accomplishments on the playing field at Rutgers and in the business world at Young and Rubicam are exceptional. His establishment of programs such as "Play It Smart" illustrates his tireless commitment to improving the lives of others around him. We are pleased to recognize Alex as this year's recipient of the President Gerald R. Ford Legendary Center Award," said Dave Rimington.
Kroll graduated from Rutgers University in 1962, where he was a Henry Rutgers Scholar in English Literature, captained Rutgers' first undefeated football team and was named to every All-American football team as a center and linebacker after the 1961 season. He played one year as a starting lineman for the New York Titans (now Jets.)
Kroll then joined the Young & Rubicam advertising agency and spent his entire business career there, rising from "cub" copywriter in 1963 to worldwide Creative Director in 1970 and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman in 1985.
At Young & Rubicam, Kroll oversaw the United Negro College Fund advertising from its inception. The campaign has helped raise over two billion dollars in scholarship money for the 41 historically black colleges. He also served both as Chairman of the American Association of Advertising and, in 1996 and 1997, as Chairman of the Advertising Council, the organization which produces most of the important public service advertising in the US.
At the end of 1994, Kroll retired as Chairman and CEO of Y & R, then the largest employee-owned marketing communications company in the world. It's subsidiaries included Burson-Marstellar Public Relations, Wunderman Direct Marketing, Sudler and Henessey Medical Communications, Landor Design, and Young & Rubicam Advertising, each a leader in its field. During his tenure as Chairman, the company nearly tripled in size, to over eight billion dollars in billing.
In 1997, Kroll fused his interest in sports and the problems of American youth by originating a groundbreaking program called "Play It Smart." This program is now working successfully in 140 public schools, most of them in tough, disadvantaged communities across the country. It is unique in using scholastic sports, primarily football, in a systematic way to improve academic performance and community service among the players. In the last nine years, 98% of its 25,000 participants have graduated from high school (compared to 50% in typical inner city schools) and 81% have gone on to college, 50% better than the student body overall.
Kroll has received numerous awards for his achievements. He is one of three Rutgers' players ever inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and in 1998 became of one of 150 advertising leaders who have been inducted in the Advertising Hall of Fame. He has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rutgers and as one of the original six members of the Rutgers' Football Hall of Fame. He has been elected to the Horatio Alger Society and been honored with the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award and the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given to individuals who have enjoyed outstanding careers following athletic success in college.
About the Rimington Trophy
The eight-year old trophy is presented by Canon and The Cornhusker Marriott. The award is presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Esiason created his foundation in 1993 to support research and treatment of cystic fibrosis. Esiason and Dave Rimington were teammates on the Cincinnati Bengals from 1984-87. Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first team All- America center at Nebraska in 1981 and 1982 during which he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's premiere college interior lineman.
Past recipients include Dominic Raiola (Nebraska. 2000), LeCharles Bentley (Ohio State, 2001), Brett Romberg (Miami, 2002), Jake Grove (Virginia Tech, 2003), co- winners David Baas (Michigan, 2004) and Ben Wilkerson (LSU, 2004), Greg Eslinger (Minnesota, 2005) and Dan Mozes (West Virginia, 2006). Since its inception the Rimington Trophy Award has raised over $1.03 million for its benefactor, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It, in turn, is hosted by the Boomer Esiason Foundation which, to date, has raised nearly $60 million for Cystic Fibrosis research.
The Rimington Trophy is a fully accredited member of the National College Football Awards Association.
About the President Gerald R. Ford Legendary Center Award
The inaugural "Legendary Center Award" was presented to and named after President Gerald R. Ford who played Center at the University of Michigan. Prior to serving as the 38th President of the United States, Ford was an offensive standout for the Wolverines and was a member of the 1932 and 1933 National Championship teams, both of which went undefeated. In 1934, Ford was named the Wolverines' MVP and later starred in San Francisco's East-West Shrine Game and the Chicago Tribune College All- Star Game. In 2006 the award was presented to legendary center Jim Otto.
Triton Sports Management
Vice President of Publicity