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NFL legends and Houston stars score big at college football awards gala

NFL legends and Houston stars score big at college football awards

2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
Spencer Tillman, Joe Montana, Wallis Marsh, Hallie Vanderhider, Ronnie Lott, and Rick Slemaker. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
Lombardi Award winner Ugochukwu Amadi. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
Joe Montana, Spencer Tillman, and Ronnie Lott. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
Tony Casillas and Keith Jackson. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
Laura Stein, Elizabeth Stein, Alan Stein, and Jacob Stein. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats
2019 Lombardi Awards Gridiron Greats

What: The Lombardi Award and Conversation with Gridiron Greats

Where: The Post Oak Hotel

The scoop: Houston society A-listers Wallis Marsh and Hallie Vanderhider scored a major touchdown with their football-themed event, Conversation with GridIron Greats at the Post Oak Hotel. A highlight of the night was the presentation of the Lombardi Award, presented to an NCAA Division 1 football player, regardless of position, based on performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency.

Seven finalists were up for the award, including Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, and Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II. Two-time Super Bowl champion Tony Casillas being named the winner, standout college safety Ugochukwu Amadi (from the University of Oregon), who offered a heartfelt acceptance as he was presented with the prestigious award — named for legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and fellow 49er and Hall of Famer, defensive back Ronnie Lott, were both inducted as Lombardi Fellows. Montana and Lott were joined by co-captain of the Super Bowl XXIV team, Spencer Tillman, in a lively conversation led by award winning Fox sportscaster Tim Brando. The group discussed winning big games, teamwork, friendship, and leadership on and off the field. Sports Radio 610 talk show host Sean Pendergast emceed the evening.

Football star power continued following the interview as awards were presented to one of the most recognizable voices in college sports legendary broadcaster, Tim Brando. Legendary coach Bob Stoops, whose 18-year record of 190-48 at the University of Oklahoma made him winningest coach in school history, was also honored. College Coach of the Year was awarded to Jeff Monken of Army for his leadership in building a successful team with integrity, honor, and respect. 

The Lombardi Foundation is recognized for leadership, commitment and determination on the football field and in the medical field for victory over cancer through research and treatment especially for children. The event raised over $300,000. Proceeds support cancer research and treatment organizations including Texas Children's Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Harris Health Cancer Treatment Centers.

Seen in the crowd: DeeDee Marsh, Trini Mendenhall, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Brian Bosworth, Keith Jackson, Fred Zeidman, Regina Rogers, George Masi, Anne Clutterbuck, Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, Rick Slemaker, Jeff Baker, Alicia and Lance Smith, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Fady Armanious, Bill Baldwin, Norman Lewis, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Michael Vanderhider and Madelyn Bramlet, Dennis and Susan DeBakey, George Masi, Nate Griffin, Dr. Katherine Pisters, Ali and Stephen Lewis, and Beth Wolff.