Dec. 14, 2012
After not holding an end of the year football banquet since 2008, a storied tradition the community was passionate about bringing back, 619 attendees packed the Scottsdale Plaza Resort Saturday, Dec. 8 to celebrate the 2012 Sun Devil football team.
A number of individuals played influential roles in resurrecting the event, which was spearheaded by a Football Banquet Committee consisting of Sun Devil Club board members, community members and former players.
“We are indebted to the board for their tireless work within the Sun Devil community to bring this great event back,” Sr. Associate AD for External Relations Rocky Harris said. “Their passion and support for not only the football program, but Sun Devil Athletics in general, is truly motivating and gives me great hope for the future.”
Sun Devil Club Board Member Mike Polachek, who led the committee, embraced the idea four months ago, and quickly went to work organizing and coordinating with fellow board members, SDA employees and past letterwinners. The committee was active in all aspects of the evening from inviting the emcee, selling tables and securing donations for the silent auction, to determining centerpieces and setting up for the event.
"We have a new coaching staff, new discipline and have hopefully re-established some traditions," Polachek said. "Part of that is a great end of the year experience for the team and football staff. This is just part of the Sun Devil Club's way of showing its appreciation for the way they’ve represented the university all season.
Polachek and the committee’s desire to restore the banquet was backed by Head Football Coach Todd Graham and Vice President for University Athletics/Athletics Director Steve Patterson. Both understand the importance of celebrating the commitment and sacrifices the student-athletes make, while also honoring team traditions.
“The coaches asked for a lot from these young men this past season,” coach Graham said. “So it’s important they know that not only we appreciate their hard work and sacrifice, but everyone in the Sun Devil community does as well.”
Thirteen postseason awards were given out throughout the program, honoring each position group and the team captains. Click here for a complete list of award winners.
“I think honoring these student-athletes, especially the seniors, is what this is all about,” Polachek offered. “We want to make sure they leave ASU with a great experience and will want to participate in some capacity in being an alumni of ASU for the rest of their lives.”
In addition to honoring the current student-athletes, the event also included a Ring of Honor portion that paid tribute to standout players from the football program's past, highlighted by the 2012 Ring of Honor inductees; Junior Ah You, Bob Breunig, JD Hill and Jim Jeffcoat.
“Implementing Sun Devil traditions has been a focal point for both the athletic department and the football program,” Patterson said. “From returning to Camp T to bringing back the Victory Bell – and now adding new life to the postseason football banquet – we feel like we are continuing to help bring generations of ASU fans together.”
The evening also included a silent auction prior to dinner, which showcased nearly 80 items collected by the Football Banquet Committee. A live auction portion was also conducted by Sun Devil football’s first lady, Penni Graham. Both helped raise more than $100,000 to support Sun Devil Football and the Ring of Honor scholarship program.
“Watching people at the banquet - from the football players to the Ring of Honor members to everyone else in attendance – it looked like everyone really had a good time,” Polachek shared. “I think it is back to stay and I look forward to it being an even bigger success next year.”
Whether it is fans packing the hillsides at Camp Tontozona, former players lining the tunnel before home games or donors sitting with players at the banquet, it’s clear everyone in Sun Devil Nation is All In.
A Special Thank You to the Football Banquet Committee!
- Mike Polachek – Chair (SDC Board)
- Jim Barrett (SDC Board)
- Dean Jacobsen (SDC Board)
- Ray Artique (SDC Board)
- David Harbour (SDC Board)
- Tom Gardner (SDC Board)
- John Langbein (SDC Board)
- John Vandevier (SDC Board)
- Tracy Uffelman (Ring of Honor)
- Steve Matlock (Board Member/Former Player)
- Bob Kohrs (Former Player)
- Stein Koss (Former Player)
- Jim Watson (Former Player)