The nation's longest-running attempt to bring glory and notoriety to the normally innocuous men who toil in the trenches during the college football season, the Outland trophy has been awarded annually since 1946.

Each year, the Football Writers Association of America identifies a list of 20 interior linemen candidates for the award. From this Outland Checklist, a series of conference calls among the members narrows the list of choices to three finalists who are then invited to the award announcement, which has been part of ESPN's College Football Awards show in December.

The trophy is named in honor of Dr. John Outland. A life-long football fan and athlete, Dr. Outland always lamented the lack of recognition that the linemen received even in the earliest days of the college game. To that end, he donated $1,000 to the Football Writers in 1946 to sponsor the award.

Outland began his own athletic career at the University of Kansas, where he started in both football and track. He then moved on to Penn, where he continued his athletic exploits while pursuing a degree in medicine. While at Penn, Outland earned honors from Walter Camp as a lineman one year and a back the next. He also participated in the Penn Relays and then decided to import the idea back to Lawrence, founding the Kansas Relays.

Notre Dame's George Connor was the first recipient and the only one that Outland lived to see win the award. Since then, a total of 31schools have produced at least one winner as determined by the Football Writers Association of America But no school can claim more than half the winners that the University of Nebraska has produced.

Although the Huskers did not produce their first winner until the 1971 season when Larry Jacobson was selected, Nebraska's trophy room will now boast nine pieces of hardware denoting a winning candidate.

The Huskers also produced the only two-time winner of the award, when Omaha native Dave Rimington captured the honor in both 1981 and 1982.

During his own brilliant career as a surgeon based in Kansas City, Dr. Outland traveled to Nebraska many times in his own plane when called upon to use his surgical skills. It is only fitting that same state has produced the most winners of his award and has now become its home.


An unknown fact about the Outland Trophy Award is that winners from 1946 through 1989 did not receive the famed trophy football fans see modern day winners presented with on a national stage. So again this year the Outland Trophy Award Dinner Committee will honor a previous Outland winner with an authentic trophy.

The Downtown Rotary Club, working with the Outland Trophy Committee, determined that a fitting way to be involved was to present past award winners their own trophy. Therefore, each year a former winner who did not receive an actual trophy will be recognized and presented a trophy by the Downtown Rotary Club.

Downtown Rotary President makes the presentation during the evening event. In addition, members of the Downtown Rotary are serving as your hosts and assisting in table seating.

The Downtown Rotary Club of Omaha was founded in 1911 and currently has approximately 220 members. Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Should you be interested in learning more about Rotary and how to become a Rotarian, please call the Rotary office at 402-342-0281