DALLAS, TX — The National Football Foundation (NFF) Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter announced today the 2019 major award winners who will be honored during the club's 11th Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, March 24, at 6 p.m. CT at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria. Award-winning sportscaster Scott Murray will emcee for the 11th consecutive year.
The 2019 major award winners include:
- Drew Pearson, Legendary Dallas Cowboys and University of Tulsa wide receiver – Distinguished Texan Award ( previously announced )
- G.A. Moore, Legendary Football Coach who led the programs at Bryson, Pilot Point, Celina, Sherman and Aubrey High Schools – Legends Award
- Craig Way, the Voice of UIL high school football and the Texas Longhorns – Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award
- Jim Ely, NFL, collegiate and high school official and timekeeper – Steve Storie Official of the Year
- Greg Tepper, managing editor of “Dave Campbell's Texas Football” and FOX Sports Southwest broadcaster – Media Person of the Year
- Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor – College Coach of the Year
- Reggie Samples, Duncanville High School – High School Coach of the Year
- Eric Mach, Hebron High School – Assistant High School Coach of the Year
- John Towels, Duncanville High School – Assistant High School Coach of the Year
The awardees will join the collegiate and high school scholar-athletes who will be announced soon. A number of scholarships will be distributed to several of the high school scholar-athletes at the event.
“All of our 2019 honorees have built tremendous careers geared toward making football in North Texas great,” said Gerald Brence, president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter and athletics director for the Plano Independent School District. “They have all enjoyed considerable success, and it is our pleasure to recognize each of their efforts.”
The event will showcase the great stories in North Texas that will inspire future student-athletes to excel in the classroom and become more involved in their communities. The event also provides a key platform for recognizing the contributions of the football leaders in the region who have placed North Texas football among the best in the nation. This year's honorees have been selected for their outstanding accomplishments and lasting community impact.
The event has attracted a sellout crowd of 500-plus people each of the past 10 years. For more information on 2019 tickets and/or banquet sponsorship opportunities, please contact club president Gerald Brence at 469-878-5370 or via email at Gerald.Brence@pisd.edu .
The NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas is one of 120 nationwide chapters of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The NFF is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. NFF programs include Football Matters®, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy®, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future.
2019 NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Major Award Honoree Bios
Distinguished Texan Award – Drew Pearson
Legendary Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson is the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Texan Award, the chapter's most prestigious award. Pearson began his football career at South River High School in New Jersey and eventually earned a scholarship to the University of Tulsa, where he would end his career among the top 10 receivers in school history. In 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Pearson rose from undrafted free agent rookie to one of the club's all-time leading receivers – from unknown to legend. A three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, Pearson helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII while guiding the team to two other Super Bowl appearances. A member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, Pearson is enshrined in multiple halls of fame, including the Texas Sports and University of Tulsa. Since retiring from the NFL, Pearson has had success as a coach, businessman, broadcaster, motivational speaker and author. Click here for the full release on Pearson being named the Distinguished Texan Award recipient.
Legends Award – G.A. Moore
G.A. Moore established himself as a legend during 45 seasons as a high school football coach, finishing with a remarkable 426-92-9 career record and eight state championships. He currently ranks second all-time in coaching wins among Texas high school football coaches after holding the record from 2002-16. An All-State football player at Pilot Point High School, Moore attended the University of North Texas on a football scholarship, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He started his coaching career in 1962 at Bryson High School, a team he elevated from losing 21 games in a row to 5-5 his first season. Moving home to Pilot Point the following year, he took the Bearcats from six losing seasons in a row to becoming a respected and legitimate team in 2-A football. After taking a year off from coaching and becoming an ordained minister, Moore returned to the football field in 1972 as head coach at Celina High School. With an impressive 52-5-2 record over the first five years, Moore led the Bobcats to a state title in 1974. In 1977, Moore returned to Pilot Point for nine seasons and guided the Bearcats to back-to-back state championships in 1980 and 1981. In 1986, he led a massive turnaround at Sherman High School by taking a team that had gone 0-10 the previous season to a 6-4 record, which earned him the Dallas Area Coach of the Year. Moore spent the next 14 years back in Celina, leading the Bobcats to a 163-22 record, five state championships (including a state-record-tying four in a row) and a 57-game winning streak. In 2002, he returned one last time to his hometown Pilot Point, serving as athletics director and head football coach for three years and returning the team to the playoffs. After a short retirement, he served as Aubrey High School's head coach from 2009-11 highlighted by a school-record 11 wins during his first season. Moore is a member of the Texas Sports and Texas High School Football halls of fame.
Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award – Craig Way
Among the foremost authorities on high school football in Texas, Craig Way has left a lasting impact on the game broadcasting UIL state championships for more than 27 years while also serving as the “Voice of the Texas Longhorns.” The Greensboro, North Carolina, native got his start at the University of North Texas, where he worked a variety of duties for the school’s radio station before graduating in 1985. Way sparked a revolution in how high school sports were broadcast and marketed during 13 years as a talk show host, sports anchor and play-by-play broadcaster at KRLD in Dallas. Broadcasting UIL state championship football games for FOX Sports Southwest since 1992, Way has called more than 200 state title games in football and basketball for the network, and all told more than 5,000 high school football, basketball and baseball games on TV and radio. He can also be seen as a host and analyst on FOX Sports Southwest’s “High School Scoreboard Live.” Since 2001, Way has called countless memorable games as the “Voice of the Texas Longhorns” for football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball radio broadcasts, and he is now the Sports Director of the Austin Radio Network. He is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
Steve Storie Official of the Year – Jim Ely
Jim Ely spent nearly four decades as a football referee and timekeeper. The Oklahoma native excelled in multiple sports in high school, including football, and he was later inducted into the Durant Public Schools’ Athletic Hall of Fame. A full-time banker, Ely worked weekends for more than 38 years as a football referee at the junior high, high school, collegiate and pro levels. He had to leave the field as an official in 2005 due to his failing kidney, but he continued to work as a timekeeper for Dallas Cowboy and college football games at AT&T Stadium. Some of the notable games Ely worked include the 2003 NFC Championship, the 2006 AFC Championship, the 2011 Super Bowl and the memorable 2009 Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska. In January 2015, just five weeks after undergoing a successful kidney transplant, he worked as the clock operator for the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship between Ohio State and Oregon at AT&T Stadium. Ely’s expertise as a referee led to roles in “Any Given Sunday,” “Invincible” and the TV series “Friday Night Lights.”
Media Person of the Year – Greg Tepper
Greg Tepper is the managing editor of “Dave Campbell's Texas Football” – the Southwest's leading football source since 1960. He also co-hosts “Fox Football Friday Powered by Dave Campbell's Texas Football” and “High School Scoreboard Live” on Fox Sports Southwest, for which he won a Lone Star EMMY in 2018. Tepper also hosts “Texas Football Today,” a daily live show dedicated to football in Texas, on TexasFootball.com. He previously worked for The Dallas Morning News, Tulsa World and ESPN Radio. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Tepper resides outside Dallas with his family.
College Coach of the Year – Pete Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor
In 21 years as the head coach at Mary Hardin-Baylor, Pete Fredenburg has taken the football team from start-up program in 1998 to two NCAA Division III national titles in the past three seasons. The 2018 national title came after he guided the Cru to a 24-16 victory over Mount Union (OH) in Stagg Bowl XLVI in December. UMHB finished the season with a 15-0 record and was a unanimous No. 1 in both national polls. Fredenburg led the Cru to the 2016 national championship after a win over Wisconsin-Oshkosh. During his tenure, he has guided UMHB to a 222-39 record, 16 American Southwest Conference championships and 15 NCAA Division III playoff appearances, including two other national championship game berths. Fredenburg is a 10-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and an 11-time conference coach of the year. Before coming to Mary Hardin-Baylor, he served as an assistant coach at Baylor (1982-93), LSU (1994) and Louisiana Tech (1995-96). After playing football at Texas State (then known as Southwest Texas State), Fredenburg began his coaching career in Texas at several high schools, including Canyon, New Braunfels and Giddings. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
High School Coach of the Year – Reggie Samples, Duncanville
Since taking over as the head coach at Duncanville High School in 2015, Reggie Samples has turned the football team into a perennial winner while going 39-12 in his first four seasons. In 2018, his 14-1 Panthers finished as the 6A Division I State runner up following a shootout in the title game against North Shore. For his success, Samples was nominated by the Dallas Cowboys as the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. His Duncanville teams have won at least 11 games in the last three seasons while winning two district championships. In 2017, he became the all-time winningest black football coach in UIL history. Samples previously served as a head coach in the Dallas Independent School District for 25 seasons where he quickly transformed two schools known for winless streaks and playoff droughts into contenders, amassing a 232-70-1 combined record at Lincoln (1990-2003) and Skyline (2004-14). His 2004 Lincoln team made the state final, and two of his Skyline squads reached the semifinals. Samples attended Dallas South Oak Cliff high school, played football at UT-Arlington and was an assistant coach at Dallas Madison from 1983-89.
Assistant High School Coach of the Year – Eric Mach, Hebron
Eric Mach has been teaching science and coaching at Hebron High School since the fall of 2002, and he currently serves as the team’s defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach. In 2018, he helped the Hawks finish with an 8-5 record and reach the regional round of the 6A Division II playoffs. With Mach as a member of the coaching staff, Hebron has won five district titles and made 14 playoff appearances highlighted by a 16-0 perfect season in 2005 to win the state championship in just its fifth year of varsity football. He previously coached at Lincoln Pius X Catholic High School in Nebraska from 1998-2000 and at Northern State University (SD) in 2001, where he also earned his master’s degree. Mach received his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska.
Assistant High School Coach of the Year – John Towels, Duncanville
John Towels has served as Duncanville’s defensive coordinator since 2016 while also teaching English at the high school. In 2018, he helped guide the Panthers to a 14-1 record as the 6A Division I State runner up following a shootout in the title game against North Shore. With Towels as a member of the coaching staff, the Panthers have won at least 11 games in the last three seasons while winning two district championships. He has spent more than 20 years in education and came to Duncanville after two years as the head football coach at Dallas Lincoln High School. Towels is a graduate of Langston University (OK) where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.