NEWPORT BEACH, Ca. –On Friday, May 17, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation held its annual luncheon to announce the 42 nominees for the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy.
The event, as it has in years past, was a wonderful tribute to the game of football, complete with a roomful of dignitaries, a series of charity donations and a distinguished panel of luminaries.
Ronnie Lott, the namesake of the trophy, was all smiles as the luncheon unfolded in a cavalcade of highlights.
First the 42 players, from 41 different universities (only Michigan had two candidates) were announced via the big screen. In its first 15 years, it was noted, the award has honored players who have gone on to success both on and off the field. Some, like J.J. Watt (Wisconsin, 2010) and Luke Kuechly (Boston College, 2011), have become NFL stars. Others like David Pollack (Georgia, 2004), Jim Leonhard (Wisconsin, 2004) and Myron Rolle (Florida State, 2008) have excelled in other fields. Pollack as a respected broadcaster on ESPN, Leonhard as the defensive coordinator at his alma mater and Rolle as a neurosurgeon at Harvard Medical School. The Foundation has also raised $1.5 million for various charities throughout the country, including $688,000 for universities.
An additional $25,000 was donated to four high schools and one youth football program in Southern California.
A new program, the Alumni Ambassador Program was introduced with Joshua Perry (Ohio State, 2015) speaking on behalf of the program that will reach out to former winners and finalists to keep them involved in the Lott Trophy.
The highly entertaining panel was made up of former Harvard All-American Pat McInally, former USC and Los Angeles Ram Coach John Robinson, three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots Willie McGinest and the general manager of the Los Angeles Chargers, Tom Telesco.
Their stories and comments proved to be insightful with four different perspectives on the game.
Also in attendance were Darrin Nelson (Stanford All-American), Mike White (Coach of Cal, Illinois and the Raiders), Stan Morrison (USC Basketball Coach), Pat Harlow (USC All-American), Bruce Rollinson (Mater Dei Football Coach), Neale Stoner (Cal State Fullerton, Illinois Athletic Director) and several former NFL players.