NEW HAVEN, CT – Former Walter Camp All-American and Pro Football and College Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff (Florida State) is the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation's 2015 "Man of the Year" award.
The Walter Camp "Man of the Year" award honors an individual who has been closely associated with the game of football as a player, coach or close attendant to the game. He must have attained a measure of success and been a leade r in his chosen profession. He must have contributed to the public service for the benefit of his community, country and his fellow man. He must have an impeccable reputation for integrity and must be dedicated to our American Heritage and the philosophy of Walter Camp.
Biletnikoff joins a distinguished list of former "Man of the Year" winners, including Roger Staubach (Navy), Gale Sayers (Kansas), Dick Butkus (Illinois), John Elway (Stanford) and last year's recipient Jerome Bettis (Notre Dame ).
"Fred Biletnikoff the wide receiver is synonymous with excellence," said Foundation president Robert Kauffman. "However, his passion and commitment to helping others in need is what makes him a worthy Man of the Year recipient."
Raiders look back on a victorious 1977 Super Bowl XI as the Minnesota Vikings come to Oakland in Week 10. Oakland bested Minnesota 32-14 on January 9, 1977, earning the franchise's first championship title.
A native of Erie, Pa., Biletnikoff attended Florida State University, where he played three seasons on both sides of the ball. In 1964, he earned Walter Camp All-America honors after recording 57 receptions for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Seminoles finished 9-1-1, including a Gator Bowl victory over Oklahoma.
Drafted in the first round (second selection) in the 1965 NFL Draft, Biletnikoff played his entire professional career with the Oakland Raiders (1965 to 1978). He led the Raiders to three berths in the then - American Football League championship game (winning in 1967 ), and later earned Super Bowl XI Most Valuable Player honors when the Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 32-14.
During his career, he earned All-Pro honors twice (1969 and 1972 ) and wa s selected to play in six Pro Bowl s. Biletnikoff finished his career as the Raiders' all-time leader in career receptions (589), receiving yards (8,974) and receiving touchdowns (76).
A durable and consistent player, Biletnikoff shared the NFL record with 10 consecutive seasons with 40 or more receptions, and he missed just eight games over his 14-year professional career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
The Fred Biletnikoff Award, awarded annually since 1994 to the best wide receiver in the nation, was named in his honor by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.
Following the untimely death of his daughter in 1999, Biletnikoff started the Tracey Biletnikoff Foundation, whose mission is to help teenage girls who are battling addiction, domestic violence and sexual abuse. In August 2015 , the Foundation modernized Tracey's Place, located in Loomis, Calif., to offer additional help to girls as they recover and prepare for the outside world.
Biletnikoff as well as all of the major award winners (Alumni Award recipient Eric Dickerson and Distinguished American Tim Shriver) and members of the 2015 Walter Camp All-America team will be honored at the organization's 49th annual national awards banquet on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. Please visit www.waltercamp.org for ticket information.
Walter Camp, "The Father of American football," first selected an All - America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation ( www.waltercamp.org ) – a New Haven - based all - volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.