Andrew Way, the 2013 Award for Excellence winner, with his parents Gregory and Janice.

The U.S. Army and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today the third year of their partnership for the national Award for Excellence.

The program has been expanded to include 20 outstanding high school student athletes who will be chosen as finalists based on their excellence in academics, athletics and community service.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is pleased to renew our partnership with the U.S. Army for the third year,” commented George Veras, executive vice president, chief revenue officer and executive producer for the Hall of Fame. “We look forward to further expanding our relationship to continue to offer such meaningful programs like the Award for Excellence.”

Each of the finalists will be honored during an event at their high school, highlighted by a Pro Football Hall of Famer presenting him or her with a finalist plaque. The Hall of Famer will discuss the importance of excellence and what it has meant during their illustrious careers.

The following “Gold Jackets” (living Hall of Famers) have participated in the Award of Excellence recognitions during the first two years of the program: Bobby Bell, Nick Buoniconti, Joe DeLamielleure, Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Darrell Green, Bob Griese, Mike Haynes, Floyd Little, Anthony Muñoz, Barry Sanders, Charlie Sanders, Art Shell, Lynn Swann, and Rod Woodson.

“This is a great award for these young people for what they have accomplished,” Muñoz stated.

In addition, for the first time, all of the finalists will be in Canton, Ohio, where they will be honored during the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. The 20 finalists will be on hand at the Enshrinement on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, during which time the overall winner of the Award for Excellence will be selected. The 2015 Award for Excellence winner then is the center of attention the next day during a tribute at halftime of the NFL Hall of Fame Game. The NFL’s preseason opener is played at Pro Football Hall of Fame Field, adjacent to the Hall. 

“This program celebrates excellence everywhere,” said David Baker, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s president & executive director. “The Pro Football Hall of Fame is privileged to join the U.S. Army in recognizing these great students who exemplify the same values as our Gold Jackets and who make the future of our country so promising.”

The Award for Excellence program is open to all sophomore, junior and senior high school student athletes in the United States. Past finalists have been selected from 14 different states including: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“The U.S. Army is committed to America’s youth and finding ways to celebrate excellence, character and commitment to community,” said Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant Secretary of the Army for marketing. “The nominees for the Award for Excellence, like Army Soldiers, aren’t just physically and mentally fit, they are leaders in their communities, strive to be the best and adhere to a core set of values that set them up for life-long success.”

Download the U.S. Army - Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence Program Nomination Form (PDF)>>>

Download the U.S. Army - Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence Program Overview (PDF)>>>

2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame & U.S. Army "Award For Excellence">>>

Related links:

2013 Award for Excellence Winner

Inaugural Award for Excellence Winner
Online exhibit: Football & America