Hall of Fame announces 17 recipients of 'Awards of Excellence'

General Published on : 3/22/2023

Award winners will be recognized June 28-29 in Canton 

Individuals from five groups – with the addition of Film/Video Directors this year – that have propelled the success of individual teams and the sport of professional football have been identified for Awards of Excellence under a program the Pro Football Hall of Fame launched last year to recognize significant contributors to the game.

“This year’s group of 17 Assistant Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Equipment Managers, Film/Video Directors and Public Relations personnel have impacted their Clubs and the game of professional football positively, and this program is a way to recognize that,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. “Each recipient has dedicated decades of time to creating meaningful change for their respective field, their teams and the National Football League.” 

Receiving Awards of Excellence for 2023 are: 
  • Assistant Coaches Sherman Lewis, Tom Moore and Dante Scarnecchia.
  • Athletic Trainers J. Lindsy McLean, Bob Reese and Lamar “Bubba” Tyer.
  • Equipment Managers William T. “Buck” Buchanan, Robert “Bob” Noel and Bill Simmons.
  • Film/Video Directors Mike Dougherty, Milan “Mickey” Dukich, Thom Fermstad, Henry Kunttu and Al Treml.
  • Public Relations personnel Greg Aiello, Kevin Byrne and Budd Thalman. 

Winners were announced Wednesday afternoon on “The SiriusXM Blitz” program with hosts Bruce Murray and Mark Dominik. Hall of Fame coach TONY DUNGY joined the broadcast and spoke about his relationships with members of the new class, particularly assistant coaches Lewis and Moore.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will recognize the 17 recipients in Canton with an evening reception June 28 and an awards luncheon June 29 emceed by Hall of Famer DAN FOUTS.

The five groups presenting the Awards of Excellence created their own selection committees and set their own criteria for choosing their class members. The Hall of Fame did not participate in any nominating or voting. 

Assistant Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Equipment Managers and Public Relations personnel also were part of the Awards of Excellence program in 2022, each selecting five to that inaugural class. Those groups each named three to the Class of 2023. The category for Film/Video Directors was added this year, with its inaugural group composed of five members.

Below are brief biographies for the winners:



Began his 34-year coaching career as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Michigan State, from 1969 through 1982. He then made the jump to the NFL under San Francisco 49ers head coach BILL WALSH, winning three Super Bowls between 1983-1991. In 1992, he became the offensive coordinator for Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Holmgren. Following seven seasons in Green Bay, Lewis went on to be the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions and was an offensive assistant for the Washington Redskins in 2009.


Moore’s lengthy career started in 1961 when he began working for his alma mater, the University of Iowa. After spending 13 seasons in college football, he entered the NFL in 1977 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, eventually leading to a profession that currently spans over 45 years. He appeared in the postseason 24 times, including 15 division title appearances, five Super Bowl teams and four Super Bowl rings (XIII, XIV, XLI, LV). Coached for nine different NFL teams. Plans to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive staff for the 2023 season at age 84.


With more than 30 years of NFL coaching experience, Scarnecchia spent most of his years with the New England Patriots as an assistant coach. Before the NFL, he coached for 12 years (1970-1982) at the collegiate level at five institutions. During his three decades in the NFL, Scarnecchia was a part of six Super Bowl championship teams (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII), serving as the offensive line coach in each of those seasons. He left New England to be the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line coach for two seasons before returning to Foxborough. 



Spent over 40 years as an athletic trainer, both at the collegiate and professional level. While working for the University of Michigan, McLean was named the first chair of the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification, where he was instrumental in developing certification standards for the profession. He became the head athletic trainer for the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, a position he held for 24 years, and was a part of five Super Bowl-winning teams. In 1988, he was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame. The 49ers’ staff was named the Ed Block NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 2001 and given the Tim Kerin Award for Athletic Training Excellence in 2007. 


Reese was hired by the Buffalo Bills in 1972, serving as their assistant athletic trainer for five seasons after working at Boston College. For 19 seasons (1977-1996) Bob worked for the New York Jets as their head athletic trainer, where his staff earned the inaugural Ed Block NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year award in 1985. He was recognized in 1994 by the National Athletic Trainers Association, earning the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 1994. An advocate for player health and safety, Reese directed the first mass pre-draft physical screening of college players and later instituted the NFL Concussion Committee, briefly serving as its secretary (1994-95). 


Member of Washington’s athletic training staff for 38 seasons, Tyer spent 25 of those years as the club’s head athletic trainer. He originally was hired in 1971 as one of the first staff members brought on by Hall of Fame coach GEORGE ALLEN. Named head athletic trainer in 1976 and later was named director of sports medicine. His department earned the Ed Block NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year award in 1995. Tyer saw Washington appear in five Super Bowls and win three championships. Served as the second president of the Professional Athletic Trainers Society. Recipient of the Fain-Cain Memorial Award from the NFL Physician’s Society in 2004.



Worked as equipment manager under two of the Dallas Cowboys’ winningest head coaches from 1973-1994 – Hall of Famers TOM LANDRY and JIMMY JOHNSON – and more than 20 Hall of Fame players. Buchanan arrived with the Cowboys after serving his country with the United States Army (1953-55) and United States Air Force (1956-73). He earned the rank of Senior Master Sergeant with the USAF Special Services and received the Bronze Star Medal, which is bestowed for heroic achievement, heroic service or meritorious achievement. Buchanan was a part of five Cowboys Super Bowls, including three Super Bowl championship teams (XII, XXVII and XXVIII).


Started with the Green Bay Packers in a part-time role in 1951. Hall of Fame coach VINCE LOMBARDI later hired Noel as the first full-time employee in the Packers’ equipment department, leading to a 43-year career with the franchise. Bob worked as the assistant equipment manager until the 1977 season, when he was promoted as the head equipment manager, a position he held until after the 1993 season. During his tenure, Noel worked alongside 19 of the 28 Green Bay Packers enshrined in the Hall of Fame and was a part of five NFL championship teams. 


Equipment manager for the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 seasons (1966-1987). Bill taught and coached in Missouri at Milan, Trenton, Ferguson and Bowling Green and was a member of the Missouri, Illinois and Iowa High School Officials Associations. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he was assigned to the Air Corps, serving as an armorer/gunner on B-24s with the 328th Bomb Squadron of the 8th Air Force in England. Under first year head coach Charley Winner, Simmons helped transition the club into the newly opened Busch Memorial Stadium.



A veteran of service with the United States Navy, Dougherty spent 37 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (1976-2012) after Hall of Fame coach DICK VERMEIL hired him as the team’s first full-time film director. Helped the League with the transition from 16mm film to Betacam videotape in 1986 and was a member of the Video Directors Committee for 18 years that saw the development of instant replay and computerized editing. Recipient of the Billy Driber Award for leadership and was inducted into Sports Video Hall of Fame in 2015. Represented the Eagles at the NFL Draft for 30 years and never missed a game (736). 


Heralded as the first full-time cinematographer for an NFL franchise, Dukich was brought in by Hall of Fame coach SID GILLMAN in 1956 to be the Los Angeles Rams’ first in-house staff  member to film practices and games. He was also the first to incorporate wide and tight end zone camera angles for practice and coined the term “cut ups,” as individual plays were cut from game film and placed on a wall. During his 40-plus-year career, Dukich saw the Rams claim the 1979 NFC Championship and appear in Super Bowl XIV. He died Sept. 3, 2016, at the age of 92. 


Fermstad was the original film/video director for the Seattle Seahawks, a position he held for 36 seasons (1976-2012). He came from Minnesota, where he worked part time as Assistant Film Director for the Vikings. Fermstad was co-chairman of the NFL Video Directors Committee for several years, working closely with all NFL Video Directors to make film/video exchanges more efficient for all teams. He was instrumental in helping with the transition from film to video for the 1986 football season and again with the transition to computer-generated editing.


Worked for the Buffalo Bills for 41 years beginning in 1969. Kunttu spent 15 years as an outside contractor handling all film/video for the team, followed by 27 years as the club’s full-time video director. He went to four Super Bowls under Hall of Fame coach MARV LEVY. Was the former chairman of the NFL Video Directors Technical Research Committee and member of the NFL Video Directors Committee for over 20 years. He was a vital part of NFL transitioning from 16mm film to Betacam videotape and eventually digital editing. Helped adopt the “Interop” group, which created the software that enabled teams to exchange metadata from various software vendors.


Hired by Hall of Fame coach VINCE LOMBARDI in 1967, Treml filled the posts of film/video director for 34 years. He started filming Packers games in 1964 on a part-time basis while working for WBAY-TV in Green Bay. When Lombardi hired him full time three years later, Treml became only the second full-time film director in the NFL. Under his watch, the Packers were the first NFL team to utilize non-linear digital editing. In 1986, Treml was elected the first chairman of the NFL Video Directors Committee. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Sports Video Hall of Fame in 2014. 



Aiello joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1979 as a public relations official and joined the NFL’s headquarters in 1990. He spent the bulk of his career as the NFL’s primary spokesman. His role eventually would transition to senior vice president of internal communications, where he was a top advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Aiello focused on the internal communications for the organization, tying together the three league offices in the United States, international offices and the Clubs’ owners and personnel, along with the League’s former and current players.


Began his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 1981 and followed then-owner Art Modell to Baltimore in 1996. Byrne's career with the Browns started after working as the director of public affairs for Trans World Airlines. Led by Byrne, the Ravens’ public relations staff was a three-time winner of the Pete Rozelle Award (2010, 2012, 2016), given by the Pro Football Writers of America in recognition of the public relations staff within the NFL that consistently strives for excellence in its service for and relationships with the media.


In 1973, Thalman was named vice president for public relations with the Buffalo Bills after 11 years with the U.S. Naval Academy. During his 13 seasons (1973-1986) with the Bills, he oversaw a public relations staff that worked seven Super Bowls, and Thalman twice served as the AFC’s public relations director at the Pro Bowl. After his tenure with the Bills, he spent 15 years as Associate Athletic Director for Communications at Penn State University.