Mike Ditka, better known as “Iron Mike” to his associates in the NFL, had an urgent plea for Dexter Heyman during the Paul Hornung Award ceremonies Thursday at the Galt House.
“Young man, if you don’t carry on in professional football, get your ass into politics,” said the former coach of the Chicago Bears. “We need people like you in public office.”
Heyman, who played defensive linebacker at the University of Louisville, was the recipient of the Howard Schnellenberger Award which is presented to the outstanding player in the annual U of L-Kentucky football game. He had four tackles and four tackle assists and forced a fumble in U of L’s 24-17 win.
Before accepting the award, the well-spoken Heyman had described the unselfish atmosphere in the U of L football program, the emphasis on academics and the importance of applying lessons learned in football and school to life.
Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford introduced Heyman in his own inimitable way, describing Heyman as a rock solid citizen who will do well in whatever he chooses to do. He also promised the packed Archibald Cochran Room that Louisville would never relinquish the Howard Schnellenberger trophy.
The Paul Hornung Award for college football’s most versatile player during the 2011 season went to Brandon Boykin of the University of Georgia.