WEST POINT, N.Y.
-Army West Point fullbacks coach and military veteran Mike Viti
has been named the eighth recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award, it was announced by the Football Writers Association (FWAA) on Veteran's Day.
Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 to honor an individual and/or a group within the realm of the sport of football.
Brant Ringler, executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and Matt Fortuna, FWAA president, announced Monday that Viti was selected from a list of 38 nominations (33 individuals and five programs) as the 2019 recipient by a seven-person committee made up of FWAA members and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl officials.
"Coach Viti has distinguished himself as a collegiate football player, an Army veteran and now as a coach," said Ringler. "More importantly, Coach Viti has given of himself with his work with Legacies Alive in support of families of our nation's fallen heroes."
Fortuna added, "Coach Viti joins a list of remarkable individuals and programs that have been recipients of the Armed Forces Merit Award. He has been successful in each phase of his life as a player and coach at Army West Point, along with his service in the military and his support of Legacies Alive. With so many deserving individuals and programs, it is difficult to honor only one recipient annually."
"Mike is a tremendous asset to our program as a coach," said head coach Jeff Monken
. "But to have a guy like him who played here, was a team captain, so well respected here at West Point and not only for what he did here but what he also did as a soldier in the Army. And he's just a tremendous leader, very humble."
Viti, who is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Army West Point football, co-founded Legacies Alive (LA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The mission of the Legacies Alive is to strengthen and support the Gold Star families of our nation's fallen heroes and brings national awareness to the life and character of all service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Viti oversees the strategic and executive direction of the organization.
"Legacies Alive has allowed me to passionately honor the sacrifice and service of my heroes," said Viti. "The interactions I have had with their Gold Star Families are some of the most powerful and influential experiences I have had in my life. It has inspired me to continue to connect our mission with more Americans so that our country's sons and daughters forever connect the freedoms and liberties they are afforded, with the sacrifice and service our fallen and their families."
As a player at Army West Point (2004-2007), Viti earned four varsity letters and was a team captain. He carried the ball 91 times during his career for 321 yards and three scores while catching 30 passes for 198 yards. Viti also served as a Regimental Commander during his senior year.
Following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 2008, Viti was stationed in Oklahoma and Colorado after being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He served with the 4th Infantry Division as well as the 214th Fires Brigade. He served in combat in Afghanistan where he was a platoon leader in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Viti has earned a bronze star and a combat action badge.
After retiring from the military as a captain, Viti embarked on Mike's Hike For Heroes, a cross country trek where he walked one kilometer for every service member killed in action in the global war on terror. He concluded the walk covering 7,100 kilometers or 4,400 miles beginning in Washington and wrapping up at the Army-Navy Game presented by USAA in Baltimore, Md.
, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 16 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event, an esports event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and Tampa, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. For more information, visit the official website
The Football Writers Association of America(FWAA, http://www.sportswriters.net
) consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. Founded in 1941, the membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and an All-America team. Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest. Behind the leadership of President Matt Fortuna of The Athletic, Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists.
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army senior linebacker and second-year captain Cole Christiansen has been named one of nine semifinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, it was announced by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation on Thursday night.
The award, now in its 16th season, recognizes a defensive player who makes the biggest IMPACT on his team both on and off the field. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
A national voter panel will choose the winner for the award that will be presented by Ronnie Lott at the Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Show on December 15th at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. Four finalists will be invited to attend the event.
Joel Klatt, with FOX Sports, will serve as the master of ceremonies and Marcellus Wiley, also with FOX Sports, will be the keynote speaker. The winner's university will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund while the three runners-up will each receive $5,000 for their schools.
Joining Christiansen as semifinalists are Derrick Brown (Auburn), Jordan Fuller (Ohio State), Brandon Jones (Texas), Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma), Chris Orr (Wisconsin), Isaiah Simmons (Clemson), Curits Weaver (Boise State) and Evan Weaver (Cal).
Christiansen leads Army's linebacker unit and has made 33 career starts. In 42 career games, Christiansen has made 262 total tackles (22ndin program history), 148 solo stops (21st), 19.5 TFLs (28th), 2.5 sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and four pass breakups.
The senior is tied for 13th nationally in both total tackles (99) and solo stops (58). He has nine career double-digit tackle games.
Christiansen made a career-high 16 tackles (7 solo) to go along with a TFL at Air Force. He was named the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week for his efforts against the Falcons.
About the Lott IMPACT Trophy:
Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott IMPACT Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and a distinguished group of former college football head coaches.
To date, the Foundation has donated more than $1.5 million to various charities throughout the country. The 16th Annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Ceremony will be held Dec.15th at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, California. For more information on The Lott Trophy visit: www.LottImpactTrophy.