We’re always happy to pay tribute to the giants of the past whose shoulders we proudly stand on. With a tradition of recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of the brightest and best from our industry, we are happy to present the past winners below. If you’d like more information, feel free to get in touch.
Born on February 3, 1950, in Fulton, New York, Walt Patulski was a gifted athlete who excelled at every level of football he played. He made a name for himself in high school as a fullback at Christian Brothers Academy, where he was a prep All-American and received more than 60 college scholarship offers. He ultimately chose to play for the prestigious Notre Dame football program, where he became one of the top linemen in the country.
During his time at Notre Dame, Patulski started every game in his collegiate career and racked up an impressive 186 tackles as a defensive end. In 1971, he received numerous accolades, including the UPI Lineman of the Year award and the prestigious Lombardi Trophy given to the nation's most outstanding lineman. Patulski was also named a unanimous All-American and finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
After being drafted by the Buffalo Bills as the first overall pick in 1972, Patulski had a solid career. He sat out the 1976 season with the St. Louis Cardinals because of a knee injury and played in 70 career games from 1972-77. Though he had a short NFL career, Patulski's contributions to the game were significant, and he was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Patulski's achievements on the football field were impressive, but his success didn't end there. After retiring from football, he built a successful career in the securities and insurance industries and became a well-respected member of the Syracuse community. Patulski served for six years as Commissioner of the Syracuse Board of Education and has been a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He also helped start Little League Baseball in Poland and was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Walt Patulski's impressive football achievements and contributions to his community make him a true role model for aspiring athletes and community leaders. His legacy as a gifted athlete and successful businessman will be remembered for years to come.