Sports | Football

Prestigious award renamed after Bill Campbell, CC ’62

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame renamed its most prestigious academic-based athletic scholarship, the Vincent dePaul Draddy Trophy, after William V. Campbell, CC ’62, last Wednesday. Campbell, who led Columbia football to its first and only Ivy League title as team captain, received the honor in response to his unwavering commitment to football and philanthropy.

Few people have made a greater impact on Columbia’s football program than Bill Campbell. Campbell, who hails from Homestead, Pa., entered Columbia in 1958 determined both to play on the gridiron and thrive academically. While he exuded ambivalence in the classroom, his steadfast confidence on the field quickly made him a prominent member of the struggling Lions football team.

By his junior year, the five-foot-11-inch, 170-pound Campbell had earned himself the role of team captain. That same year, Aldo T. Donelli took over as head coach and emboldened the team with his “don’t make excuses” attitude. A former football team MVP and member of the state champion volleyball squad at Homestead High School, Campbell was used to being in the limelight. Nevertheless, in order to take home the Lions’ first Ivy title in football, Campbell would have to take his leadership to the next level. Campbell was a poised, confident, and motivating captain, and when he was put together with exceptionally talented teammates and Coach Donelli, the Light Blue made a run for the championship. After suffering a painful 30-20 loss to Princeton in a tumultuous October contest, Columbia proceeded to win five consecutive games and secure a shared piece of the Ivy title with Harvard.

Campbell graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in economics but continued his studies at Columbia’s Teachers College. While earning his master’s degree, Campell assumed the role of assistant football coach until taking a coaching position at Boston College in 1968. After a brief hiatus in Beantown, Campbell returned to Morningside Heights to serve as the Lions’ head coach from 1974-1979, ending his coaching career with a record of 12-41-1. While Campbell’s football achievements didn’t extend to coaching, he nonetheless left an indelible mark on the Columbia athletics program.

After his coaching career, Campbell worked with several high-profile tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple and Google. He also served as CEO of Claris, GO Corporation, and Intuit Inc. Campbell’s ability to see value in high-tech corporations soon earned him the nickname “The Coach of Silicon Valley.” Over the years, Campbell mentored over 30 CEOs from various tech companies such as Adobe and VeriSign. He now works as a consultant to numerous firms, including drugstore.com and Tellme, and is chairman of the board of directors at Intuit.

Campbell, who now resides in Palo Alto, Calif., never forgot his roots and, after building his fortune, realized he wanted to give back to the places and people who contributed to his success. His philanthropy ranges from giving tens of millions of dollars to Columbia for athletic facilities to subsidizing new computers for Homestead High School. Campbell’s dedication to community service and entrepreneurial accomplishments as well as his commitment to academic and athletic excellence embody the essence of the newly renamed Campbell Trophy award.

“The William V. Campbell trophy, to be given to the American college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance, is a fitting tribute to a special Columbian,” Columbia’s Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, director of athletics and physical education, said in a press statement.

Some of football’s top stars have been awarded the Campbell Trophy, including Peyton Manning in 1997, Chad Pennington in 1999, and, most recently, Alex Mack in 2008. Student athletes must be nominated by their school and have a minimum 3.2/4.0 grade point average to be eligible for consideration. The actual scholarship is for $25,000 and is awarded to athletes who have, “demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship” according to footballfoundation.com.

“No one exemplifies the best qualities embraced by the National Football Foundation better than Bill Campbell.  Every recipient will have a very special feeling of pride from having received an award in Bill’s name. We salute Bill on this tremendous honor,” said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger in a press statement.

The 68-year-old Campbell, whose daughter is a Columbia College first-year, is currently serving as the chairman of Columbia board of trustees.

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