As Brad Sham noted toward the end of yesterday's presentation of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee's "Century in the Making" list at Woodrow Wilson High School, the thing ran a bit long -- more than hour, and folks got a big fidgety. Shame. Because at the end of the presentation, Tim Brown and David O'Brien, son of of the great Davey, were presented with a plaque commemorating the school's place in history as the first public high school to produce two Heisman Trophy winners. The presentation was rushed and turned into little more than a photo op. Which is why this morning I called Super Bowl XLV communications director Tony Fay for a little more info.
Says Fay, the Dallas native who started working for the Mavs in '87 as a media relations intern, when the host committee first paid Woodrow a site visit in advance of the event, he was struck by what "an amazing school" it is. Alas, he also noticed that in the school's estimable trophy case, there was little mention of its place in Heisman history.
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"They have pictures -- and they look like photocopies -- of [Brown and O'Brien], but when you consider the relevance of having two Heisman Trophy winners, it was surprising they didn't have a more elaborate presentation," Fay says. "We came back to the office and said, 'Since they're going to all this trouble to host this event, it'd be nice to have a leave-behind to commemorate that in style.'"
Fay called the Heisman Memorial Trophy higher-ups in New York and asked if the Super Bowl XLV host committee could buy two replicas to present to the school. "They were very nice," Fay says, "but their board had made the decision a few years ago to mint two and only two per winner." Allowing further replicas, he was told, would devalue the trophy's significance.
At about the same time, Fay says, Mike Berry, a marketing manager at KXAS-Channel 5, stopped by the offices, during which point Berry mentioned his side gig: making statues commemorating significant sports events, like one of Brett Hull scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal against Buffalo in '99. Berry asked Fay if he was interested in anything like that for the Super Bowl committee. "And we said, 'Funny you should come by,'" Fay recounts.
Berry went back and created the plaque pictured above, which Fay says cost about $3,500. I e-mailed DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander to ask when it'll be installed -- which Fay says will be done by a foundry -- and haven't heard back. Still, says Fay, better late than never: "If you have two Heisman Trophy winners from your high school, you need a good way to display that."