Dec. 9, 2008
LAS VEGAS, NV – The University of Iowa nominated Hawkeyes senior offensive lineman Rob Bruggeman for the Second Annual College Football Rudy Award, it was announced today by The Rudy Foundation 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The award honors student-athletes who demonstrate exemplary CHARACTER, COURAGE, CONTRIBUTION and COMMITMENT as members of their collegiate football teams. These same traits were immortalized in the blockbuster film “RUDY” in 27 seconds and against all odds on a gridiron in South Bend, Indiana, enabling Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger to carve his name into college football lore.
Every Division I Conference and 53 of its 120 football programs submitted nominations for the 2008 Award, nearly double the number of applications from the inaugural year in 2007.
Bruggeman joined the Hawkeyes football team as a walk-on in 2004. As a hard worker, he showed everyone, including the coaching staff, that he could have a bright future in Division I football. Early in his career, however, he sustained multiple injuries including a broken hand, a major foot injury and tearing his ACL and MCL. This all contributed to sidelining him for practice and games for nearly three seasons and would have been enough for most to throw in the towel. Bruggeman, however, never gave up faith that he would again see the football field and play the game he grew up loving. While maintaining a 3.4 GPA in Finance, Bruggeman made the Dean’s list and rehabbed his way back onto the field. His hard work paid off, as he eventually earned a starting position on the O-line for the 2008 season and was named a team captain.
Three Rudy Award finalists will be chosen by the Selection Committee and honored at a breakfast to be held in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Association Convention on January 12, 2009, at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Rudy Ruettiger will personally present the awards.
Each finalist will be presented with a beautiful award and an academic scholarship, as well as have travel expenses paid to the event. An overall winner will be chosen and presented with the top scholarship and trophy.
“We established this award as a special way to honor and recognize college football players for the size of their hearts instead of the enormity of their stats,” said Rudy Ruettiger. “It is great to see such a huge increase in the number of nominations, as we continue to build the RUDY AWARD into one of the top collegiate honors. Our society looks to athletes as role models… and I cannot think of a better role model than one who demonstrates great character, courage, contribution and commitment.”
The recipient of the 2007 Inaguaral College Football Rudy Award was Terry Clayton, then a senior linebacker at the University of Kentucky, who, despite losing his hearing at the age of five, persevered as a walk-on for the Kentucky football team for five seasons and twice was named to the Southeast Conference Academic Honor Roll.
The 2008 Award Selection Committee includes football coaches David Bailiff, Gary Barnett, Fisher DeBerry, Dennis Franchione, June Jones, Chuck Knox, Gary Patterson, Buddy Pough and Dick Tomey. Former Washington Redskins quarterback and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams and former Los Angeles Rams running back and Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Dickerson also join the committee for 2008. Prominent businessman Peter Murphy, Jr., will again serve as Chairman.
A full list of nominees is available at www.RudyAwards.com. Finalists will be announced on December 16. If a finalist presently is receiving a full scholarship, or graduates prior to the award presentation, the award will be made in the player’s name to the general scholarship fund of the college or university.
About The Rudy Foundation
The Rudy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and recognition of those who aspire to fulfill their dreams through character, courage, contribution and commitment. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger and his wife Cheryl founded The Rudy Foundation in 1997. Members of the board of directors include Jerome Bettis, Ross Browner, Rick Mirer and Aaron Taylor.
The son of an oil refinery worker and third of 14 children, Rudy Ruettiger rose from valleys of discouragement to the pinnacles of success. Today, he is one of the most popular motivational speakers in the U.S. It took years of fierce determination, yet Rudy achieved his first dream — to attend Notre Dame and play football for the Fighting Irish. As fans cheered RU-DY, RU-DY, he sacked the quarterback in the only play in the only game of his college football career. Rudy Ruettiger remains the only player in the school’s history ever to be carried off the field on his teammates’ shoulders.
In 1993, TRISTAR Productions immortalized his life story with the blockbuster film, “RUDY.” Written and produced by Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh, the critically acclaimed movie continues to inspire millions worldwide.
In addition to his motivational speaking, Rudy Ruettiger has co-authored several books, including: “Rudy’s Insights for Winning in Life,” “Rudy’s Lessons for Young Champions,” and “Rudy & Friends,” and has produced the Dream Power tape series. For more information, or to make a donation visit: www.RudyAwards.com.