May 2, 2001|
Lengyel Selected as Recipient of the 35th Corbett Award
The award is presented annually to the collegiate athletics administrator who "through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment." Corbett, athletics director at Louisiana State University, was NACDA's first president in 1965. The award is considered the highest honor one can achieve for collegiate athletics administration.
Additionally, Lengyel will receive an honorary degree from the Sports Management Institute (SMI), an educational institute sponsored by the universities of Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Southern California and Texas, and NACDA.
Jack Lengyel was selected as the 27th AD at the Naval Academy in 1988 and was the first non-Naval Academy graduate named to the post. During his tenure, the Academy has won more than 60 percent of all of its athletics contests. Additionally, the Midshipmen have won more than 70 percent of their contests versus rival Army in the last four years.
In addition to the on-field success of Navy athletics, Lengyel has overseen tremendous facility improvements. These include completion of the $30 million Alumni Hall, which houses men's and women's basketball; the Rear Admiral Thomas Hamilton Locker Room complex at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with the Football Walk of Fame; the Zachary Fisher Rowing Center, renovations to Hubbard Hall; and improvements to the Naval Academy Golf Course facilities and watering system. Other upgrades have included the $8 million Armel-Leftwich Visitors Center; opening of the Admiral Fitzgerald Baseball Clubhouse at Bishop Stadium and the $9 million renovation and addition to Ricketts Hall. Most recently, the $4.2 million Glenn Warner Soccer Facility was completed.
Prior to joining the Academy, Lengyel served as the director of athletics at the University of Missouri (1986-88) and Fresno State (1984-86). He was an associate director of athletics at Missouri (1981-84) and Louisville (1974-78) after working as the director of commercial sales for Gamble Brothers. Prior to his administrative appointments, Lengyel coached multiple sports, including football, lacrosse, swimming, track, baseball and wrestling. He was the head football coach at the College of Wooster for four years, prior to rebuilding the Marshall University football program. In 1971, he served as Marshall's first head coach after the team and many of its staff and administrators were killed in a plane crash the previous year.
A leader in athletics, Lengyel serves as chair of NACDA's Preseason Football Games Committee. Additionally, he is on the Association's Continuing Education, Finance-Management, Strategic and Long Range Planning, Inter-Association Liaison and Site Selection committees. He is also a past president of the Division I-A Athletics Directors Association, serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame (NFF) and has been a part of the United States Sports Academy's Board of Visitors and Trustees. Lengyel has been honored with the NACDA/NIT Athletics Directors Award (1999) and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Akron (1998). Additionally, he was the NFF's Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football honoree in 1997 and was inducted into and the University of Akron and Akron/Summit County Sports halls of fame in 1991 and 1990 respectively.
Lengyel earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Akron in 1957 and his master's in education from Kent State University in 1963. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the United States Sports Academy in 1999.
On receiving word of this award, Lengyel said, "Being the recipient of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award is the highest honor one can receive in our chosen profession as directors of athletics. I humbly accept this award on behalf of all my mentors, assistant directors of athletics, administrative assistants, staff and student-athletes that I've had the privilege of working with throughout my career. I also want to thank my wife Sandy and my children David, Julie and Peter for their support during the long hours and days away from them as a coach and director of athletics. Nothing is more certain than change. However, nothing is also more certain than the fact that the critical elements of success are the loyalty, dedication and commitment of those you serve. And for that I say thank you and share this award with all of you."
Past winners of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award and their affiliation at the time: