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Six-time NFL Executive of the Year & NFL Hall of Fame Inductee William “Bill” Polian, Jr. Named 2015 Bud Selig Mentoring Award Recipient

Bill Polian
July 29, 2015

CLEVELAND - Bill Polian, one of the most accomplished front office executives in NFL history, was voted the recipient of this year’s Selig Mentoring Award by the McLendon Scholarship Steering Committee, composed of 26 minority athletics administrators. The award will be presented in conjunction with Polian’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 7.

The award was established in 2007 and named in honor of Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig and is presented biennially to a person in athletics administration who has been at the forefront in creating equal opportunities for minorities in the field of athletics. Selig has placed diversity and equal employment opportunity among his top priorities throughout the years to great effect in Major League Baseball.

“Bill is a passionate person who cares deeply about the sport he loves. Bill's true gift lies in developing the next generation of leaders and he has been a champion of hiring and promoting minorities at all levels,” said Tony Dungy, former Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. “Bill granted me the opportunity of a lifetime when he hired me as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. My seven years working day-by-day with Bill to build a championship team was the highlight of my coaching career.”


 

 

Polian helped build multiple successful franchises during his 24 years as a general manager in the NFL. In all, his teams made 17 playoff, eight conference championship games and five Super Bowl appearances, including the Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts. He also has the distinction of having drafted four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, arguably one of the top players ever to play the quarterback position.

Praised as both a top talent evaluator and influential executive, Polian is the first six-time recipient of the NFL Executive of the Year award from The Sporting News, an honor bestowed on him by his peers. Throughout his career in the NFL, he served on several league committees: Competition Committee, Diversity Committee, Management Council Senior Executive Committee and Chairman of the College Relations Committee.

Polian joined ESPN in March 2012 and appears throughout the year on NFL Live, NFL Insiders and SportsCenter in addition to regularly contributing to ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio and other platforms.

 

What people around the NFL are saying about Polian:

  • In his letter to the McLendon Foundation, Jim Caldwell, head coach of the Detroit Lions stated that Bill Polian “may be the most “color blind” individual I have ever encountered in my professional career.  It was never color, but rather competence and character, that most mattered to Bill.”
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee from the class of 2003, James Lofton, said “Bill Polian always seemed to me to be one step ahead” “in trying to level the playing field for minorities.”
  • Ray Anderson, former NFL Executive Vice President for Football Operations and current Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director at Arizona State University, commented that “Bill has been a superb contributor to the NFL’s impactful work in advancing opportunities for minority coaches, and consistently has validated his commitment in words and deeds.”

Previous recipients include Mike Krzyzewski, Head Basketball Coach at Duke University; Grant Teaff, Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); Dan Rooney, Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Vince Dooley, NACDA Past President and former director of athletics and coach at Georgia; and Pat O’Conner, President of Minor League Baseball.

About the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Program:  The John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards are presented to minority students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in athletics administration.  If you have any questions regarding this program, please visit www.mclendonminorityfoundation.com.

About NACDA:  NACDA, now in its 51st year, is the professional and educational Association for more than 12,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.  More than 6,000 athletics administrators annually attend NACDA & Affiliates Convention Week.  Additionally, NACDA manages 15 professional associations and three foundations.  For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com