November 7, 2004
Phone: (504) 865-5506
Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson was in New York City on Tuesday, November 7, to accept the 2004 Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
The award was presented at the National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Luncheon in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in advance of the College Football Hall of Fame induction that night in the same locale, during which Dickson was seated on the dais and recognized. Dickson was announced as the recipient of the award, which honors an individual whose efforts and activities have supported amateur football and the National Football Foundation on a local basis, in May.
He earned the award for his efforts in preserving the Division I-A status of Tulane's football program through a review by the school's Board in 2003.
"I'm accepting this award on behalf of a large group of people who stood up to keep us at Division I back in 2003," Dickson said. "A lot of people stepped up during that time--our staff, who worked tirelessly, our fans, our student-athletes, the New Orleans community, our alumni, and our former student-athletes. I'm pleased that that effort is being recognized, but cognizant of the amount of work still to be done."
During the review, which concluded with a unanimous resolution re-affirming the institution's NCAA Division I-A status, options of dropping the athletics program to Division III and dropping the football program were considered. Dickson mobilized the supporters of Tulane, including alumni, civic leaders and former student-athletes, through the "Think Green Campaign" while crafting a detailed plan to cut the athletics department's budget deficit to $2 million within five years.
That five-year, $65-million, multi-pronged fundraising effort has been titled the "Perpetual Wave Campaign." "Although the whole process and review seems like a long time ago now, the work started by that effort is ongoing," Dickson said. "We made a great start in year one, but we still have a lot of hard work to do. The key is that as a group, we have strong resolve, maybe the strongest resolve ever, in saying let's do it, and do it right, and do it once and for all."
In addition to Dickson, others honored at the Awards Luncheon were National High School Scholar- Athletes, Outstanding Officials and former Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley, who received the John L. Toner Award, given annually to an athletic director in Division I-A who has shown outstanding dedication to college athletics, particularly college football.
Previous winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award, which was first presented in 1974, include Chris Schenkel (1987), Lindsey Nelson (1988), Bob Woodruff (1989), Don Canham (1991), Eddie Robinson (1992), Fred Jacoby (1995), Jack Lengyel (1997), Chuck Neinas (1999) and Thomas Hansen (2001).
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