FBA BESTOWS ITS HIGHEST HONOR, THE CHAMPIONS AWARD, TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL LEGENDS ARCHIE MANNING, TOM OSBORNE
HOUSTON — Archie Manning, whose quarterbacking accomplishments at Ole Miss preceded a stellar 15-year National Football League career; and Tom Osborne, the architect of one of the most successful programs in college football history, will each be honored April 11 at the FBA’s annual Champions Award dinner in Houston. The fete is held each April as the signature event of the FBA’s annual meeting.
The Champions Award is presented annually to a coach or administrator who ‘over a long career furthers the cause of the college football bowl industry, with special emphasis on the student-athlete experience’.
“Archie is a dear friend who was my neighbor in New Orleans,” recalled Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters. “His impact on college football and postseason football goes back over forty years. He has always led by example and his commitment to college football has never wavered. From his work with the Sugar Bowl to the Football Foundation to the Manning Passing Academy, all have been done with class and excellence.”
A native of Drew, MS, Archie Manning played three seasons at Mississippi, achieving All-America status and becoming the first and only Rebels player to have his jersey number  retired.
He was the second player selected in the 1971 NFL draft, in which college quarterbacks went 1-2-3 [Jim Plunkett, Manning, Dan Pastorini] by the New Orleans Saints. He played 10 seasons in New Orleans over the course of a 15-year career that spanned 1971-84.
Archie and his wife Olivia are the parents of three sons, Peyton, Eli and Cooper. Archie and his sons direct the Manning Passing Academy for young quarterbacks whose graduates include several NFL signal callers.
He was voted Mississippi’s greatest all-time athlete in 1992 and was also named his home state’s most popular athlete of the century. Additionally, he was named one of the top 25 athletes of the century in Louisiana and he and Peyton were named among the 100 all-time greatest college football players. He’s a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and is a member of other Halls of Fame in both Louisiana and Mississippi.
Manning joined the NFF Board of Directors in 1993 and currently serves as board chairman. In 2016, he received the NFF’s highest honor, the Gold Medal.
Directing the Nebraska football program from 1973 through 1997, Tom Osborne reached zenith level among college coaches. His overall record [255 wins, 49 losses, three ties] give him the most wins in the fewest years of any coach, regardless of division. His teams went to 25 bowl games during the length of his coaching tenure; in 15 of those years, the Huskers posted double-digit-win seasons.
“Tom Osborne achieved milestones that we may never see again in college football,” said Waters. “When you look back at what he and his Nebraska teams accomplished, what they did has more than passed the test of time. Coach Osborne created a culture that literally enveloped the entire state of Nebraska, a culture that remains to this day.”
Osborne guided the Huskers to back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995, then concluded his career by sharing the 1997 title with Michigan. In his final game, the Huskers defeated Tennessee 42-17, the victory leaving Osborne as the first coach in college football history to retire as a reigning national champion.
Osborne’s last five Nebraska teams put together the best five-year run in college football history with a 60-3 record that included five consecutive seasons of at least 11 victories. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 2007, Osborne took the reins of the entire Nebraska athletics department, being named the school’s 12th director of athletics, a position he held until 2013.
Osborne still provides leadership within the college football industry. He served on the College Football Playoff Committee in the CFP’s first two years of existence.
Osborne additionally spent 2000-06 representing his home state’s Third District in the United States Congress.
He and his wife Nancy have three adult children, Mike, Ann and Suzanne.
Manning and Osborne join a distinguished list of previous Champions Award recipients. They include:
2009– – Roy Kramer, Southeastern Conference commissioner
2010-– Tom Hansen, Pacific-12 Conference commissioner
2011 – LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young head coach
2012 – Bobby Bowden, Florida State head coach
2013 – Grant Teaff, Baylor head coach/AFCA president
2014 – Dennis Poppe, NCAA administrator
2015 – Lee Corso, Indiana head coach/ESPN commentator
2016 – Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference commissioner
2017 – Frank Beamer, Virginia head coach
2018 – Donnie Duncan, Oklahoma athletics director/Iowa State head coach
2019 – Mack Brown, North Carolina/Texas head coach
FOOTBALL BOWL ASSOCIATION