SOURCE: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

August 31, 2011 17:42 ET

Oklahoma Football Legend JC Watts Joins Lou Holtz, Doug Flutie and Lynn Swann as Co-Chairs of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation National Football Coin Toss

SIMI VALLEY, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 31, 2011) - Today the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced that Oklahoma Football great JC Watts joins College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz; Boston College and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie; and four-time Super Bowl Champion and MVP Lynn Swann as Co-Chairs of the Ronald Reagan Centennial National Football Coin Toss.

This event is part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, a historic, year-long tribute to honor the 100th birthday of America's 40th President. It is sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

In honor of President Reagan's 100th birthday, 32 NFL teams, 120 NCAA D1 football teams, all NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) teams, and nearly 14,000 high school teams will be invited to flip a Ronald Reagan Centennial Commemorative Coin at the start of each game played the weekend of September 23-26, 2011.

"I am honored to be a part of this historic -- and fun -- tribute to the 100th birthday of America's 40th President," said former Oklahoma Sooners Quarterback and Congressman JC Watts. "Ronald Reagan led America, like he led his college football team, with courage and conviction. He understood that, although it was always better to win, what mattered most is how you played the game. That's an example we could all learn from today."

Already, over 70 major universities such as the University of Alabama, University of Southern California and the University of Texas have signed up to participate that weekend. Schools from coast to coast and nearly every state will toss the Reagan Centennial Coin that 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).

As part of the Coin Toss ceremony there will be a:

  • Loudspeaker announcement honoring the Centennial birth of Ronald Reagan;
  • Reagan Football Tribute Video shown on stadium jumbo screens; and an
  • Opportunity for teams to select an Honorary Captain to flip the Ronald Reagan Centennial Coin at the start of the game.

Honorary Captains exemplify the values held by the organization. This role would be ideal for a member of the US Armed Forces, government official, former athlete or other respected friend of the team. This, combined with the video and broadcast-box tribute from the football announcers, will enhance pre-game excitement for the athletes and fans.

For more information on how your program can participate in the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commemorative Coin Flip, please visit

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

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

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.

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