SOURCE: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

September 21, 2011 06:00 ET

Nearly 5,000 High School, College, and NFL Football Teams Participating in the Ronald Reagan Centennial National Football Coin Toss September 23-26, 2011

"I love football!" -Ronald Reagan, November 23, 1990 at a College Football Scholarship Luncheon in Los Angeles, CA

SIMI VALLEY, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 21, 2011) - Nearly 5,000 High School, College, and NFL teams across America are participating in the Ronald Reagan Centennial National Football Coin Toss. They will honor the 100th birthday of America's 40th President by tossing a Ronald Reagan Centennial Commemorative Coin bearing the President's image at the start of games played this weekend, September 23-26.

This national, grassroots event is part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, a historic, year-long tribute sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. It is co-chaired by four football legends:

  • College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz;
  • Boston College and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie;
  • Four-time Super Bowl Champion and MVP Lynn Swann; and
  • Oklahoma football great and former US Congressman JC Watts.

A number of elected officials and dignitaries are participating such as:

  • South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham at Clemson University on September 24;
  • Joanne and Jimmy Kemp, wife and son (respectively) of Jack Kemp, with the Buffalo Bills on September 25;
  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert at Desert Hills High School in St. George, Utah on September 23; and
  • Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker at the University of Mississippi on September 24.

Major universities such as the University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama, University of Southern California and the University of Texas are participating. Schools from coast to coast and every state will toss the Reagan Centennial Coin this coming weekend.

President Reagan played high school football in Illinois, started his career as a radio college football broadcaster, and played a number of iconic football roles in movies such as Knute Rockne: All American, where he uttered the famous line, "Win one for the Gipper!" In 1985, via live video feed from the Oval Office, he also flipped the coin to start Super Bowl XIX. (See below for more information on Ronald Reagan's football ties).

"The National Football Coin Toss celebrates the values that football teaches such as leadership, teamwork, and drive, which Ronald Reagan embraced and exemplified throughout his life," said Stewart McLaurin, Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration. "We are so honored that Coach Lou Holtz, Doug Flutie, JC Watts, and Lynn Swann will join with us to spearhead this historic commemoration."

"If all my players had the heart and the drive on the field that the Gipper showed in the Oval Office, we would have won every game," said College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz. "I want to encourage every football organization in the United States to stand together and honor the legacy of this great American, Ronald Reagan. We all could learn a thing or two from his example."

For more information on how your program can participate in the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commemorative Coin Toss, please visit http://www.reagancentennial.com/#/Coin.

About Football and Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was a guard for the North Dixon (Illinois) Dukes high school. He would later write in his memoirs that, "filling out one of those purple and white jerseys became the noblest and most glamorous goal in my life." In college, he played guard and also punted for the Eureka College Red Devils.

In 1932, Ronald Reagan was a broadcaster for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Soon, he transferred to sister station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and was promoted to be a regular announcer for the station. He would later write, "for a twenty-one year old fresh out of college, broadcasting the Big Ten games was like dream." Ronald Reagan recalled in his memoirs that one of his most memorable games during his college football announcing career was one in which Gerald Ford played Center for the University of Michigan.

Ronald Reagan's first film was playing a radio announcer in Love Is on the Air, which jumpstarted his acting career. In Hollywood, he played the role of Notre Dame legend, George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American; (1940) from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname, "The Gipper."

President Reagan taped a public service announcement about college football http://www.youtube.com/reaganfoundation#p/a/u/�XyZnpAagzA.

In 1983, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) bestowed upon President Reagan the prestigious Tuss McLaughry Award. The Tuss McLaughry Award, established in 1964, is given to a distinguished American (or Americans) for the highest distinction in service to others. It is named in honor of DeOrmond "Tuss" McLaughry, the first full-time secretary-treasurer of the AFCA and one of the most dedicated and influential members in the history of the Association.

In 1985, President Reagan flipped the coin for Super Bowl XIX via video from the White House http://www.youtube.com/reaganfoundation#p/a/u/0/xkB1hiUyWqc.

In 1987, President Reagan signed into law legislation that allowed the AFCA to set up a qualified pension plan. Then-president of AFCA, Lavell Edwards of Brigham Young, called the signing, "One of the most significant events in the 65-year history of the Association."

In 1990 President Reagan received the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's highest honor to recognize an individual for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being thereafter have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.

www.reagancentennial.com

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Robert Bauer
    310-994-5280
    Sean McCabe
    703-969-7975
    Jon Show
    704-953-3381