Karl Schmitt: From Heisman to Hornung

| December 15, 2011
Vinny Testaverde and Karl Schmitt of the Louisville Sports Commission.

Vinny Testaverde and Karl Schmitt of the Louisville Sports Commission.

Five college football standouts awaited anxiously inside the Best Buy Theater in Times Square before the 2011 Heisman Award winner was announced Saturday in front of a crowd that included Louisvillian Karl Schmitt.

“It was great,” the Louisville Sports Commission executive director said of his experience at the ceremony. “I was able to hook up with Vinny Testaverde. It was the silver anniversary of Vinny winning the Heisman in 1986 when I was sports director at the University of Miami (where Testaverde played).”

This wasn’t Schmitt’s first appearance at the event, which has been held each year for the last 77. He also attended three times in the 1980s.

And, while he traveled to New York last weekend to watch Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III grasp the coveted Heisman Trophy, back here in Louisville, just one day before, Schmitt was in attendance at the KFC Yum! Center where another set of finalists were announced for an award that’s also dear to his heart.

Heisman recipient Robert Griffin III with ESPN’s Chris Fowler immediately after Griffin was named the 2011 Heishman winner.

Heisman recipient Robert Griffin III with ESPN’s Chris Fowler immediately after Griffin was named the 2011 Heishman winner.

Last Friday, Schmitt, along with the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung, disclosed the names of the four finalists for the 2011 Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the most versatile player in major college football.

This year’s finalists were chosen by the 16-member Paul Hornung Award Selection Committee, as well as fan votes on Facebook, with the nominees announced at the Louisville Sports Commission’s annual breakfast. The four nominees are Joe Adams of Arkansas, Brandon Boykin of Georgia, LaMichael James of Oregon and Eric Page of Toledo.

Following the announcement of the finalists, Schmitt jet-setted to the Big Apple just in time for the Heisman Award ceremony. But, it wasn’t all fun and games in New York City for Schmitt last week. He was also in town for a business meeting with executives from the network that touts itself as “the worldwide leader in sports.”

Karl Schmitt with Dinn Mann, editor in chief of MLB.com.

Karl Schmitt with Dinn Mann, editor in chief of MLB.com.

“One of the other reasons I went to New York was to visit with some of the executives of ESPN to talk about the Paul Hornung Award,” Schmitt said. “It went well.”

The second annual Paul Hornung Award Banquet Presented by Jewish Hospital Sports Medicine will be held Thursday, Feb. 2, at The Galt House Hotel. Tickets are $75 or $1,250 for a table of ten. Schmitt hopes to attract even more national attention to the accolade in 2012.

“It’s a young award. We’re only two years into it. It’s for guys who have achieved tremendous things in football,” said Schmitt, “and we feel like this award will have a long life.”

For tickets and information, call 502.587.6742. For more information on the Louisville Sports Commission, visit www.louisvillesports.org or follow the Louisville Sports Commission on Twitter (@SportsinLou).

courtesy photos

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Ashley Anderson

Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).

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