The History of Maxwell Football Club

The Maxwell Football Club is an organization involved not only in football at all levels but the community in general, not just once a year, but all year. It’s an organization dedicated to the concept that young people are the potential of this nation. The Maxwell Football Club wants to help young people realize that potential as leaders now, and as the future leaders of this country.

In November of 1987 on a national ESPN broadcast, the Maxwell Football Club was initially described as “The Other Award.”

Things have certainly changed since then. The Maxwell Award for College Player of the Year is the premier award on the ESPN Home Depot College Awards Show, which is nationally televised from Disney World in Florida each December. The Club’s Bednarik Award for College Defensive Player of the Year is also featured along with “The Davey O’Brien Award” (Nation’s Finest Quarterback), “The Outland Trophy” (Outstanding Interior Lineman), “The Jim Thorpe Award” (Nation’s Finest Defensive Back), and “The Doak Walker Award” (Nation’s Finest Running Back).

The Maxwell Football Club is a founding member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of major collegiate football awards. The purpose of the NCFAA is to protect, preserve, and enhance the integrity, influence, and prestige of college football’s various awards. The NCFAA also encourages professionalism and the highest standards possible for administration of college football awards and their selection of winners.

We are not just the presenters of the “Other Award”, as we were once described in November of 1987 by ESPN. The Maxwell Football Club is much more and we need you to become part of our team.

In 1935 when the Club was founded, weekly meetings consisted of informal sessions with football officials, coaches and the public to talk about the previous weekend’s games. At these meetings local high school and college players were honored. The end of the 1937 football season was highlighted by the presentation of the First Maxwell Award for the Outstanding College Player of the Year to Clint Frank of Yale.

Throughout the ensuing years, weekly awards to local high school and college players became an integral part of the Club’s activities.

In 1959, following the death of its founder Bert Bell, The Maxwell Football Club’s Professional Player of the Year Award was instituted and it presented the Bert Bell Trophy. The first winner of the Bell Trophy was Johnny Unitas of the then Baltimore Colts. In 1985, the Club named an award after its Chairman of the Board and a founding member of the Maxwell Football Club, Jim Henry. This award is presented to the area Outstanding High School Student-Athlete. The first winner of the Henry Trophy was Mark Dianno of Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.

In 1989, additional awards were established. The Maxwell Football Club’s College Coach of the Year Award, named for George A. Munger was instituted. The first winner of the Munger Trophy was Glenn “Bo” Schembechler of the University of Michigan. The Maxwell Football Club’s Professional Coach of the Year Award was named for Earle “Greasy” Neale. The first winner of the Neale Trophy was Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Maxwell Football Club’s Outstanding Contributions to the Game of Football was named for Francis J. “Reds” Bagnell. The first winner of the Bagnell Trophy was Pete Rozelle, the former Commissioner of the NFL.

In 1995, the Club introduced an award for the College Defensive Player of the Year, which was named in honor of our 1948 Maxwell Award winner and member of the College and Pro Halls of Fame, Chuck Bednarik.

In 1998 an award to honor the Tri-State Coach of the Year was added, and in 2000 an award to honor the Tri-State Player of the Year was also added. In 2004, the Club decided, in keeping with its motto “Honoring Excellence at all Levels of Football,” it would give an award to the Arena Football Player of the Year.

The Club has made special presentations of the Spirit Award which is given for leadership, dedication, and inspiration.

In 2007, The Maxwell Football Club instituted another special award for Contributions to High School Football. The first award, named after Executive Director of the Maxwell Club, Robert T. Clark, was given to Jim Algeo, Coach of Lansdale Catholic for over 40 years.

In 1985, The Maxwell Club founded its Scholarship Fund, financed by donations to the Club’s Lifetime Membership Program. This Fund is responsible for the Maxwell Football Club’s High School Jim Henry Trophy.

Community Involvement
The Maxwell Football Club is an active participant in football at all levels 52 weeks of the year. Several years ago, the Club provided a grant that led to the development of the short cleat that greatly reduces knee injuries. The development of the cleat was just the beginning of the Club’s involvement in research into football injuries. Injury clinics were held at Swarthmore College, Tiny Maxwell’s Alma Mater, West Chester University, the University of Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley College. The Club joined with Temple University’s Sports Medicine Clinic providing a traveling trainer who went to area high schools to establish injury prevention programs there. Lankenau Hospital Sports Medicine pre-testing program for high school students to help prevent and reduce injuries was another beneficiary of the Club’s support.

In the fall of 1985, the Maxwell Club took a major stand on the proliferation of drug and alcohol abuse among the young people of this nation. The Club founded FAD (Footballers Against Drugs which involved into Fight Against Drugs and Families Against Drugs). FAD had been recognized by former President Ronald Reagan with an invitation to the White House and by President George Bush who recognized the FAD program when he was in Philadelphia in July of 1990 for an anti-drug rally that was orchestrated by FAD and the Maxwell Football Club. In June of 1990, the FAD program became an independent anti-drug program and is known as TEAM FAD.

High School Programs
The Maxwell Football Club has expanded its High School Awards program by inviting high school athletic directors and football coaches to nominate a player from their school who in their opinion meets the qualifications to become the Jim Henry Award winner as High School Player of the Year. The program is open to portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The winner of the Jim Henry Award is announced at the High School Dinner which is now held in January.

In 2007, The Maxwell Football Club instituted national awards at the high school level. The Club recognizes a player nationally.