Chuck Fusina was proud to represent his university, Morgan Wootten fulfilled a boyhood dream and Jim Zorn just had fun.
They were among more than 20 individuals honored last night at the 44th annual Touchdown Club Awards dinner at the Sheraton Park Hotel.
Fusina, the Penn State quarterback who was named college back of the year, and woh will attend five banquets this week alone, was joined by his coach, Joe Paterno.
"I think attending these dinners is a duty to my school and team," said Fusina. "Penn State gave me the oppotunity to play and I represent the accomplishments of our team."
"We all have that ego," said Paterno. "It's still nice to be honored. And, of course, favorable publicity can only help our program."
Wootten, honored as "local boy who makes good," had the opportunity t again meet his boyhood idol, Bob Hope, who received the Hubert H. Humphrey Award
"As a kid my folks would let me stay up to watch him," said Wootten. "Years later, I met him if he remembers that.'
Hope, in receving his award, said, "Of all the awards I've received, how lucky I've been to receive one in Humphrey's name. Here was a man that was something else. He always came back smiling, and made you proud to be an American."
Jerry Claiborne, who presented the local college football player of the year award to Terrapin Steve Athins, spent much of the pre-dinner hours helping his football recruiting cause for the University of Maryland. He talked with St. John's defensive tackle Peter Speros, one of four area football prep stars honored. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior also received a pat on the back from Paterno.
The other high school players honored were Largo's Eric Wade. Annandale's Phil Denfeld and Dunbar's Freddie Wagoner.
For Greg Roberts, Oklahoma's All-America LINEMAN, THE DINNER WAS A TIME "TO MEET GOOD PEOPLE." But he said his Timmie Award would remair in the closet for awhile.
"Not until after pro ball practice camp," said Roberts, "will I worry about a trophy case. Once I've made it, then I'll build one."
Zorn and Coach Jack Patera were pleased to represent the Seattle Seahawks.
"It's a great thing and brand new for us," said Patera, named pro football coach of the year. "This reflects on our organization."
"I didn't recongnize the magnitude of these dinners," said Zorn, named AFC player of the year. "We don't have anything like this in Seattle. I'm just having so much fun."