The 2011 Rimington Trophy was formally awarded to the University of Michigan’s David Molk earlier this month at the Rimington Trophy Presentation in Lincoln, Neb. The trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division FBS.
In addition, former University of Nebraska and Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff was on hand to formally accept the 2011 President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award.
“This award is something special to me. It’s something that I played every down for. I lifted every weight, every set for this. I was striving for this ever since I got into college,” said Molk, who was unable to attend the banquet, after undergoing surgery for a torn tendon in his foot. Molk suffered the injury during pre-game warm-ups prior to the start of this year’s Sugar Bowl.
Molk’s father, Thomas, and University of Michigan Sports Information Director Justin Dickens were on hand to accept the award on David’s behalf. Dickens recalled those uncertain moments before the Sugar Bowl for the audience.
“He didn’t think he was going be able to play, and I think he’d be the first to tell you, along with our trainer, that there was no way he should’ve been able to play in that game. But he didn’t want to watch his final collegiate game go by like that. It spoke to his fight, his sacrifice and what a true Michigan man he is. On the field, it’s probably an understatement to say he was the unquestioned leader of our football team,” said Dickens.
Molk is the second player from the University of Michigan to receive the Rimington Trophy, joining 2004 recipient David Baas.
He broke into the staring lineup in 2008, earning his first varsity letter as the Wolverines’ starting center. The 2010 season was a breakout year for Molk, having started all 13 games at center and being named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy.
Dickens recalled his first encounter with the future winner.
“I got to Michigan in April of 2011. So when I first met Dave Molk I asked him, ‘Who are you? What’s your story, and how can I help?’. He said,’I want to win the Rimington Trophy,” said Dickens.
Molk’s father, Thomas thanked the Rimington Trophy committee and said nothing seemed to stand in the way of his son’s achievements.
“You’ve awarded a very special young man with this trophy. He’s a tough, smash-mouth football player. He sees every obstacle not as a setback, but as an opportunity to reach the next level. He’s a fierce leader and a fierce competitor. He demands perfection from his peers, from his players on and off the field,” said Molk.
After receiving the Ford Award, Mick Tingelhoff recalled snippets from an illustrious career he enjoyed with the University of Nebraska. After leaving Nebraska, he would later snap the ball to Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton while the two were with the Minnesota Vikings.
“It truly is a great honor to be with you here tonight and accept this award bearing the name of a great man, President Gerald R. Ford,” said Tingelhoff, who received a video introduction from Tarkenton himself.
Former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon gave the keynote address.
Cystic fibrosis survivor and Boomer Esiason Foundation volunteer Jerry Cahill spoke to the crowd and encouraged them to continue their support in fighting the disease, which affects nearly 30,000 people in the United States.
In its twelfth year, the Rimington Trophy has raised nearly $3 million for the cystic fibrosis community in Nebraska.