Tom Hurney fondly remembers his first Touchdown Club awards dinner in 1947. Hurney was coaching football at Georgetown University and attended the dinner as an honorary member of the club.
"In the early days, we gave six or seven awards, mostly to high school kids," Hurney said. "Our two big awards were the Walter Camp Memorial Award to the best college back of the year and the Knute Rockne Award, which we gave to the best lineman. Notre Dame's Johnny Lujack got the Walter Camp award and Pennsylvania's Chuck Bednarik got the Rockne Award."
The only after-dinner speaker that year was the late Jimmy Counselman, then the coach of the Chicago Cardinals, who also doubled as the entertainment when he played the piano.
Since that time, the Touchdown Club's dinner has evolved into one of the highlights of the winter banquet circuit, Hurney has served as president of the Club, chaired one of its annual dinners, and attended all 37 dinners.
And tonight, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Eric Dickerson, Jeff Kemp and Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards are among more than 30 sports VIPs who will receive awards when the Touchdown Club of Washington hosts its 50th Annual Awards Dinner at the Sheraton Washington Hotel. The club sold nearly 2,000 tickets, at $125 per plate.
Although the event has changed dramatically over the years, its centerpiece -- star athletes -- remains very much the same.
"We still give the Timmie awards," Hurney said. "Daniel Zanger will get the same trophy as Don Shula." Zanger, from St. Jude's in Rockville, is being honored as the Living Timmie, Shula as the NFL coach of the year.TOUCHDOWN CLUB AWARDS
Living Timmie -- Daniel D. Zanger, St. Jude's, Rockville.
Local Schoolboy -- Brian Haley, Maplewood Sports Association.
Local Prep Player -- Eric Metcalf, Bishop O'Connell.
Suburban Md. Player -- Jonathan Holloway, Churchill.
Suburban Va. Player -- Bren Lowery, T.C. Williams.
Washington D.C. Player -- Delmar Chesley, Anacostia.
High School Coach -- Roy Lester, Magruder H.S.
Redskins Offensive -- Art Monk.
Redskins Defensive -- Darryl Grant.
Special Contribution -- Armin Dassler, Puma Corp. Worldwide; Paul Schrage, McDonald's Corportation.
Arch McDonald -- Jeff Kemp, L.A. Rams.
Clark Griffith -- Dave Winfield, N.Y. Yankees.
NCAA Division III Team -- Augustana (Ill.).
NCAA Division II Team -- Troy State.
NCAA Division I-AA Team -- Montana State.
Local College Player -- Eric Wilson, Maryland.
Dial High School Players -- Hart Lee Dykes, Bay City, Tex.; Nora Lewis, Peoria, Ill.
NFC Player -- Eric Dickerson, L.A. Rams.
AFC Player -- Dan Marino, Miami.
Military Athlete -- Alonzo Babers, Air Force.
NFL Coach -- Don Shula, Miami.
College Coach -- LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young.
College Quarterback -- Doug Flutie, Boston College.
NFL Rookie -- Louis Lipps, Pittsburgh.
Board of Governors -- Martina Navratilova.
"Mr. Sam" -- Harry Walters, V.A. Administrator.
Hubert Humphrey -- Burt Reynolds.
Prognosticator -- Charles Widman, Touchdown Club.
College Back -- Keith Byars, Ohio State.
College Lineman -- Bruce Smith, Virginia Tech.
Basketball MVP -- Jeff Ruland, Washington Bullets.