Harvard’s Bob Scalise and Yale’s Thomas Beckett Named Recipients of 2018 NFF John L. Toner Award

Harvard’s Bob Scalise and Yale’s Thomas Beckett Named Recipients of 2018 NFF John L. Toner Award

IRVING, Texas - The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that Yale University Director of Athletics Thomas Beckett and Harvard University's John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise have been named the 2018 recipients of the NFF John L. Toner Award.

Presented annually by the NFF since 1997, the John L. Toner Award recognizes athletics directors who have demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. The award is named in honor of its inaugural recipient John L. Toner, former athletics director and football coach at Connecticut and NCAA President.

Beckett and Scalise were surprised with the announcement this morning during the Ivy League annual spring meetings in New Paltz, N.Y., and they will officially be honored Dec. 4 during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City. They become the first-ever-sitting athletics director from the Ivy League to claim the honor in the award's 21-year history.

"Harvard-Yale is one of the most storied rivalries in college football, and it seemed fitting to honor both university's athletics directors with the Toner Award," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The leadership of Tom Beckett and Bob Scalise has spawned great success on the field and in the classroom at both universities. Their accomplishments place them at the forefront of their profession, and we look forward to honoring their impact on college athletics and the game of football in December." 

Bob Scalise – Harvard 

Robert L. Scalise, Harvard's John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, has overseen an era of tremendous success for the nation's largest Division I athletics program since taking over in July 2001. The seventh person to hold the position, Scalise leads an organization made up of 42 varsity sports, a myriad of club and intramural programs, more than 1,200 intercollegiate athletes and a broad array of wellness and recreation programs and facilities.

In 17 years as director of athletics, Scalise has seen Harvard win 19 national team championships and 129 Ivy League titles, including a school-record 14 conference crowns in both the 2004-05 and 2013-14 seasons. In addition, the 46 Ivy League championships won by the Class of 2017 set a new Harvard record for most conference titles by a graduating class. While Harvard puts special emphasis on Ivy League championships, the department has had considerable success on a national level under Scalise by winning team and/or individual national championships in nine of the last 11 seasons. 

During his tenure, Harvard has claimed at least a share of the Ivy League football title eight times under the guidance of head coach Tim Murphy, most recently in 2015. Harvard has beaten archrival Yale 14 times in the 17 editions of "The Game" since Scalise took over as AD in 2001, including nine consecutive wins from 2007-15.

His tenure has also encompassed the induction of former Harvard greats William Lewis (2009) and Pat McInally (2016) into the College Football Hall of Fame, and the recognition of former Crimson cornerback Andrew Berry as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 2008 for his combined effort on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Harvard has had 73 players honored overall during the 12 years (2007-18) of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers.

Under Scalise, Harvard has hosted several high-level NCAA tournaments, including the 2006 women's basketball Final Four at the TD Bank Garden, four men's lacrosse championships at Gillette Stadium and the 2010 fencing championships at Gordon Indoor Track.

Born in New York City, Scalise has extensive ties to Ivy League athletics. A 1971 Brown alumnus, Scalise was selected three times to the All-Ivy League lacrosse team and twice named All-America and All-New England. He led the nation in scoring as a junior, then co-captained the squad in 1971 when he set an NCAA record by scoring 11 times against Connecticut while helping the Bears advance to the inaugural NCAA men's lacrosse tournament. Scalise was inducted into the Brown Hall of Fame in 1991.

Scalise entered the coaching ranks at Brown in the fall of 1971 as an assistant for the men's soccer and lacrosse teams. He was just 24 when he was named head coach of Harvard's men's lacrosse team in 1974. He led the Crimson to the 1980 Ivy League championship, the program's first league title in nearly two decades and an accompanying NCAA tournament bid. He coached 25 All-America selections and completed his tenure in 1987 with a 98-79 overall record. 

Scalise was also the first coach of Harvard's women's soccer program, which began varsity play in 1977. He led that team to three Ivy League crowns and two NCAA tournament berths. In 1985, Scalise became the nation's first women's collegiate soccer coach to amass 100 victories, and he finished with a 113-38-11 overall record.

Scalise left coaching in 1987 to enroll in the Harvard Business School, where in 1989 he was awarded a Master of Business Administration. Later that year, he became director of MBA placement services, managing processes and products at the Business School. He held that post until 1992, when he accepted a position at Bain & Company to become director of recruiting, career development and alumni relations.

Scalise returned to Harvard Business School in 1995 as its executive director of MBA program administration. He then assumed the role of Senior Executive Officer where he oversaw an annual operating budget of $200 million before being named director of athletics.

A leader in intercollegiate athletics, Scalise works as a member of the NCAA lacrosse rules committee. 

Scalise is married to Maura Costin Scalise '80, an All-Ivy swimmer at Harvard who coached the Crimson women's swimming and diving team from 1985-98. In addition, four of Scalise's children were student-athletes at Harvard.

Thomas Beckett – Yale

As a player, coach and athletic administrator, Tom Beckett has spent much of his life mentoring young people. The Pittsburgh native has served as the director of athletics at Yale University since 1994, overseeing 35 varsity sports and approximately 850 student-athletes, and he announced his retirement effective June 2018.

Under Beckett's tenure, Yale has led the nation in teams honored by the NCAA for Public Recognition Awards (Academic Progress Rate - APR) more than half the years of its existence. He has helped recruit outstanding student-athletes to a world-class university while building a highly successful sports program.

Since Beckett came to New Haven, Yale teams have produced 128 championships, including 28 national titles, 73 first-place Ivy League finishes, 10 ECAC events and numerous other postseason victories. He has seen 43 Olympic athletes and 337 All-Americans, while Yale has averaged more than 10 nationally ranked teams during his tenure.

Yale has claimed at least a share of the Ivy League football title three times during Beckett's tenure, including sole possession in 2017 under head coach Tony Reno, who Beckett hired in 2012. In the 24 editions of "The Game" since he took over as AD in 1994, Yale has beaten archrival Harvard seven times, including the last two meetings in 2016 and 2017. Beckett oversaw the final two seasons of College Football Hall of Fame coach Carm Cozza (inducted in 2002), and he kept on the legendary coach as a special assistant while Cozza handled radio color commentary for Yale football.

His tenure also saw the induction of former Yale great Dick Jauron into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015, and the recognition of five Bulldogs as NFF National Scholar-Athletes for their combined effort on the field, in the classroom and in the community: Peter Lee (2001), Ed McCarthy (2006), Casey Gerald (2008), Patrick Witt (2011) and Tyler Varga (2014). 

Yale is one of 29 colleges and universities to have at least one player honored in all 12 years (2007-18) of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers. Yale set a new single-year record for the Hampshire Honor Society with 22 honorees in 2018, and a total of 113 Bulldogs have been recognized overall.

The Yale AD has also been successful in fundraising to transform the school's athletic facilities into one of the nation's best. He has supervised the renovation, restoration or construction on 20 major projects, including the restoration of the historic Yale Bowl. Eleven new facility projects have been completed with nine other venues getting major renovations since 1994.

Beckett has made community involvement at Yale a high priority, and his leadership helped create the award-winning Thomas W. Ford '42 Community Outreach Program, which has brought youth from the New Haven area to the campus for events such as the National Youth Sports Program and Yale Youth Days.

A 1968 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Beckett earned three varsity letters in baseball, serving as the captain of the Panthers' 1968 team. He received a master's degree in education from his alma mater in 1972, and he is a 1975 graduate of Harvard's Summer Institute of Life Science. 

Beckett played professional baseball in the San Francisco Giants' organization for five seasons before embarking on a career in college athletics. He coached at the University of Pittsburgh and Butler Community College (Pa.), and was an athletic administrator at San Jose State University before moving to Stanford University, where he served from 1983 to 1994 as associate director of athletics. During his tenure at Stanford, Cardinal teams won 32 NCAA championships, and the program received seven NCAA "Champion of Champions" awards.

Beckett, a Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) national advisory board member and his wife, Kim (Craddock) Beckett, a special education advocate and PCA New England board member, reside in the Town of Guilford with their son, Alex, a Special Olympics Unified Sports multi-sport athlete.

61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner

Beckett and Scalise will be honored during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York alongside the recipients of the other NFF Major Awards, including the yet-to-be announced recipients of the organization's highest honor, the NFF Gold Medal, and the NFF Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner will provide the stage for the induction of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2018 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity; and the bestowing of the 29th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, to the nation's top football scholar-athlete.

This year's College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Trevor Cobb (Rice), Kerry Collins (Penn State), Dave Dickenson (Montana), Dana Howard (Illinois), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), Paul Palmer (Temple), Ed Reed (Miami [Fla.]), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia), Aaron Taylor (Nebraska), Charles Woodson (Michigan) and coaches Frank Beamer (Murray State, Virginia Tech), Mack Brown (Appalachian State, Tulane, North Carolina, Texas) and Mel Tjeerdsma (Austin College [Texas], Northwest Missouri State). The 2018 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, will be announced this fall, and the winner of the Campbell Trophy® will be announced live at the event on Dec. 4.

For ticket information regarding the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner, please contact NFF Director of External Relations Will Rudd at 972.556.1000 or wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

Recipients of the NFF John L. Toner Award include:

2018 – Thomas Beckett (Yale)
2018 – Bob Scalise (Harvard)
2017 – Dan Guerrero (Cal State Dominguez Hills, California-Irvine, UCLA)
2016 – Chet Gladchuk (Tulane, Boston College, Houston, Navy)
2015 – Mark Hollis (Michigan State)
2014 – Kevin White (Loras [Iowa], Maine, Tulane, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Duke)
2013 – Joe Castiglione (Missouri, Oklahoma)
2012 – Mal Moore (Alabama)
2011 – No Honoree
2010 – Robert E. Mulcahy III (Rutgers)
2009 – Jim Weaver (UNLV, Western Michigan, Virginia Tech)
2008 – Gene Smith (Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Arizona State, Ohio State)
2007 – Jeremy Foley (Florida)
2006 – DeLoss Dodds (Kansas State, Texas)
2005 – Jack Lengyel (Fresno State, Missouri, Navy)
2004 – Vince Dooley (Georgia)
2003 – John Clune (Air Force)
2003 – Andy Geiger (Brown, Penn, Stanford, Maryland, Ohio State)
2002 – Bill Byrne (Oregon, Nebraska, Texas A&M)
2001 – Milo R. "Mike" Lude (Kent State, Washington, Auburn)
2000 – Frank Broyles (Arkansas)
1999 – Jake Crouthamel (Syracuse)
1999 – David M. Nelson (Delaware)
1998 – Doug Dickey (Tennessee)
1997 – John L. Toner (Connecticut) 

ABOUT The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, PrimeSport, the SportsBusiness Journal, SportsManias, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at footballfoundation.org.