Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Football A-listers react to death of UConn's Toner

Yesterday Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun, the Hall of Fame basketball coaches John Toner hired during his time as UConn's director of athletics, weighed in on his legacy after news hit of Toner's death at the age of 91.

Today courtesy of the National Football Foundation, there are more tributes coming in for Toner, who was UConn's football coach from 1966-70 and the AD from 1969-87.

Toner, a former NFF vice chairman and winner of the organization's Distinguished American Award in 1986, made enough of an impact through his service to the NFF that they established the John L. Toner Award in 1997 given out annually to a college athletic director.

Here are some quotes from Archie Manning, NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell and Columbia AD Dianne Murphy.

“John Toner stood as a giant among athletic administrators, and the mere mention of his name meant integrity and respect,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “He brought immediate credibility to the efforts of the National Football Foundation, and he served on the NFF board with extreme passion and enormous impact. He put the scholar-athlete first, and his opinions and actions helped shape the NCAA and the college football landscape for decades. Today marks a very sad day for the NFF and all of college athletics. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“John Toner was a good friend and supporter long before I arrived at the National Football Foundation,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “And that trust only grew as we served together on the NFF Board. His insights and guidance helped frame the direction of our organization during the past two decades, and he provided critical counsel on numerous occasions, especially as it related to NCAA matters. When John spoke people listened, and it is a fitting tribute that the ultimate award in college administration is given in his name each year. We extend our deepest condolences to his family. We share their loss, and we will work hard to carry on his legacy.”

“I was privileged to know John Toner as both a mentor and friend.  The world of collegiate athletics and Columbia Athletics has lost a wonderful advocate and giant in the business,” said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education at Columbia in a statement on the school’s website.  “John had an amazing and prestigious career at the University of Connecticut.  He was a beloved part of the Columbia Athletics Family and we were always so happy to have him with us at Homecoming and The Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame.  We will miss him.  I will miss him.”


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