Legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, was honored as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance on Wednesday, Oct. 2, during a special ceremony at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, N.Y. St. Francis Prep students, staff and esteemed alumni joined members of the New York community in the school’s auditorium to honor the iconic football figure with a special plaque presentation.
Following the singing of the national anthem by one of the school’s students, Brother Leonard led the audience in a prayer. Rutgers University football coach and St. Francis Prep alum, Kyle Flood, served as the event’s emcee and discussed how proud he is to be a St. Francis Prep alum amongst the many legends that have come from the school.
After a highlight video of Lombardi’s epic career, Allstate representative Kevin Spann took the stage, reciting several well-known Lombardi quotes. “I would like to thank the Pro Football Hall of Fame for their partnership and St. Francis Preparatory School for hosting us as we recognize the great Vince Lombardi in the place where it all began,” Spann said.
St. Francis Preparatory School’s legendary high school football coach, Vince O’Connor, served as the ceremony’s plaque presenter, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd as he approached the podium.
John Lombardi, Vince Lombardi’s grandson, was in attendance at the ceremony to accept the plaque on his late grandfather’s behalf. He talked about his grandfather’s personality and ability to push those around him to succeed.
“Let this plaque inspire you to find the one thing that you want to do,” John said. “Find what you want and go after it with every fiber of your being.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises President and CEO, George Veras, was also on-hand at the ceremony. “This program was designed to give back and honor the communities that raised Hall of Famers like Vince Lombardi,” Veras said.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Vince Lombardi “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Queens.
After serving as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants for five years, Lombardi accepted the head coaching position with the dispirited Green Bay Packers in 1959. Lombardi had an immediate and profound impact on the team helping them turn their 1-10-1 record to 7-5 in his first year as coach.
Under Lombardi’s direction, the Packers went on to dominate the NFL over the next eight years, winning six divisional and five NFL championships, and achieving victories in Super Bowls I and II. Known for his stylish, thorough and imaginative craftsmanship on offense, Lombardi never had a losing season throughout his career.
Lombardi retired as the Packers coach in 1968, but retained his general manager duties. In 1969, he signed on as head coach of the Washington Redskins. In his one year with Washington, Lombardi broke the Redskins’ string of 14 losing seasons and laid the foundation for Washington’s early 1970s success.
Lombardi passed away in 1970 at the age of 57. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
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