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Several highlights at Lott Trophy luncheon

IMPACT Foundation surpasses $1 million barrier for scholarships and donations raised; Watch List announced.

May 16, 2013|By Steve Virgen

NEWPORT BEACH — A special moment took place at The Pacific Club Thursday during the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list luncheon.

Lott opened an envelope that revealed the recipient of a $5,000 check that put the IMPACT Foundation over the $1 million barrier for money raised for scholarships and donations.

Lott, the Hall of Famer and former NFL star safety, smiled as he made the announcement that his alma mater, Rialto Eisenhower High School, would receive the money.

Lott stood and smiled, along with a big check, standing with Eisenhower football coach Vinny Fazio and the school's Athletic Director Steven Johnson.

Lott was pleased that over $1 million had been raised within 10 years.

"Let's see if we can get another million," Lott told a packed banquet hall.

People were there to hear the good news, as well as to receive the watch list. UCLA's Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, and USC's Devon Kennard are among the 42 to be named to the watch list for the award that will be announced in December.

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Fazio was grateful to receive the $5,000 check that will help a program that captured the Citrus Belt League title in Fazio's first year this past season. He said the money will be used for helmets.

In the past, Fazio said he had turn away players because there weren't enough helmets.

"For us, we're a program that's in a low-income area," Fazio said. "We're in a low-income district, a low-income school. So, for us this is just a huge deal. This just revolutionizes the health and safety for our kids. We're going to be able to protect our kids and let them to keep on playing."

Fazio said it was "cool" to be the recipient that put the IMPACT Foundation over the $1 million barrier.

IMPACT is the basic purpose of the Lott Trophy, which awards college football's best defensive player who exemplifies Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

A video was shown at the luncheon that also explained the Lott Trophy.

The late Bill Walsh delivered a reason in simple terms in the video.

"The winner of the Ronnie Lott Trophy must be a great player because Ronnie Lott was a great player," said Walsh, Lott's coach while with the San Francisco 49ers.

Lott and the IMPACT Foundation have been able to do great things since the award began in 2004.

At Eisenhower, Lott is held in high regard. The football stadium is named after him.

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