Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best




It is hard to believe that we packed so much into such a short period of time!  Our final day in Canton, Ohio was just as magical as the first.  Watching Julian and Ronnie attend their first NFL game from the sidelines was truly a sight.  Especially since PFHOF member Mike Haynes was breaking down all of the happenings right beside them.  My personal favorite moment was watching both teams rally together before the coin toss as they celebrated their newly inducted members of the PFHOF.  Only in Canton, Ohio can opposing NFL teams join together before going to battle on the field!

Many people ask me what happens to young men who complete our program.  I can assure you that it’s not just an amazing trip.  It’s a transformative experience.  One of this year’s coaches, Mike Maceranka from Segerstrom High School really summed it up well:

I can honestly say this was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I watched Julian and Ronnie grow as young men over such a short period of time. The love and care the people of Canton, the volunteers, the Hall of Fame, and Hall of Famers and their families showed us was unfathomable. It was not about football, it was a celebration of a city, a place and lives that football has brought together to make everyone better people. Julian and Ronnie will be forever changed for the better and will never forget how kind and down to earth these bigger than life people really are.”

IMG_3290This year I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand the power of being seen.  Julian and Ronnie were seen, acknowledged, and appreciated by men who happened to be inducted members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The IMPACT of that contact was extraordinary.  In just a few days, these young men changed.  They transformed from quiet, often reserved high schoolers to confident leaders who knew how to approach ANYONE.  Here is how Coach Maceranka described the change:

“The following morning (Day 2) we attended the Nitschke Luncheon. Before having lunch we attended a cocktail hour with many Hall of Famers and NFL owners. They met Jerry Jones, Michael Strahan, Ronnie Lott and several others, but the most impressive thing to me was how they interacted with four Hall of Famers in particular. Willie Roaf, Jim Otto and Fred Belitnikoff were all seated at a table talking. We told Julian and Ronnie who they were and they decided to go over and introduce themselves to the table. As I watched I was amazed at what I saw. Julian and Ronnie politely interrupted the men and explained who they were and as they were doing that Julian pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. Willie Roaf looked a little stunned and as they sat down, Willy asked who they were again, then for the next 20 minutes all five of them had a great conversation. Where could that happen in the outside world and who were Julian and Ronnie, not the kids who stepped on the plane a day and a half earlier!”

The Legacy Leadership Project is very proud and thankful to have the support of the people of Canton, Ohio year after year.  The entire city is warm and devoted to these festivities.  We thank you all for including us in your family during the first week of August.  A special thanks to The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. David Baker, Tammy Owens, Jerry Csaki, the Transportation Committee, the Hospitality Committee, the Canton Chamber, the PFHOF Board of Trustees, and of course, the PFHOF Inductees for a magical week.  Let’s do it all over again in 2015!

-Casey Cooper, Ph.D., Director of Community Programming, PCIF