Courtney Hall, who anchored the Rice offensive line as a four-year starter at center from 1985-88 and went on to star in the NFL before entering a successful business career has been named the recipient of the 2014 Gerald R. Ford Award. Hall will receive the award as part of the annual Rimington Award presentation in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 17, 2015.
"We are excited to honor a former center who has shown such excellence not only on the football field, but also in his academic and business careers and in the non-profit community," says Dave Rimington, namesake of the Rimington Trophy.
Created in 2005, the Ford Award was named for the 38th President of the United States who played center in college at Michigan. The annual honor is presented to a former collegiate or professional centers who, in addition to standout football careers, have also made significant contributions to the football and/or business communities, or through philanthropic endeavors.
This year, the presentation will also feature special guest speaker, Gunnar Esiason - son of former NFL MVP quarterback Boomer Esiason, who will share his story about living with cystic fibrosis. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2.5 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The fifteen-year old award is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and has raised over $100 million for CF Research.
Hall came to Rice in 1985 out of Banning High School in Wilmington, California where he was a teammate of former Oklahoma quarterback Jamielle Holloway. Despite entering two-a-day practices at Rice at just 16 years old, Hall was named the starer days prior to his 17th birthday and made his debut vs. the Miami Hurricanes. He remained entrenched in the middle of the Owls' offensive line over the next four years.
He was a two-time, All-SWC selection and was the first center to win back-to-back George Martin Awards as the Owls MVP. He was the recipient of the 1988 American Airlines Spirit Award and a member of the Southwest Conference 1980s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. He graduated from Rice with a BA in Economics and Managerial Studies.
Drafted by San Diego in the second round (37th selection overall), Hall played , Hall played for the Chargers from 1989 until 1997. He was a four-time Pro Bowl alternate and was a captain during the Chargers' 1995 Super Bowl appearance. He received the Ed Block Courage Award in 1996 and was a finalist for the 50th Anniversary All-Team Chargers team.
He currently resides in New York City, where he is the co-founder of Hillcrest Venture Partners.