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REACHING THE GOAL....for LIFE!

with Sam Rutigliano, Greg Pruitt and Don Cockroft

 

Saturday   April 12, 2014 

5PM Cocktails     6PM Dinner

Right to Life of Northeast Ohio Annual Education & Appreciation Dinner
St. George Fellowship Centre     3204 Ridgewood Rd.    Akron OH

 Seating is limited! 

Tickets are only $40 each, and include dinner, beverages & dessert. 

 

To purchase tickets online, CLICK HERE.

 For sponsorship and advertising opportunities, CLICK HERE.

Sam Rutigliano   

Sam Rutigliano was born in Sheepshead Bay, New York on July 1, 1933.  The son of immigrant parents, Sam was a star football player while in High School and went on to be a great player at both Tennessee and Tulsa.

He coached High School football in New York and from there went to the college level where he coached the University of Connecticut and the Universities of Maryland and Tennessee. The NFL seldom overlooks the talent Rutigliano had and he soon became an assistant coach in Denver followed by the New England Patriots, the New York Jets and finally the New Orleans Saints. Within eleven years he coached four NFL franchises.

In 1978 he came to Cleveland as head coach of the Cleveland Browns and he stayed there until 1984. He was the first non-Browns assistant coach to be named Head Coach of the team. His time with the Browns included The Kardiac Kids, Brian Sipe, Al "Bubba" Baker, Earnest Byner, Hanford Dixon, Greg Pruitt, Don Cockroft, Bernie Kosar, Clay Mathews, Ozzie Newsome, Webster Slaughter and so many more truly memorable football players.

Only two coaches from the Cleveland Browns have ever won the very prestigious NFL Coach of the Year Award. The first was Paul Brown; the second - Sam Rutigliano.  Sam earned this title in 1980 when he led the team to an 11 and 5 season. His record as Cleveland's head coach was 47-51-0 or .480

One of the things Sam is most proud of is his Inner Circle. The late 70's and early 80's were a tough time for a lot of society, and pro football was no exception. Drugs where prevalent and readily available to the players and it was becoming a major problem and concern. At that time there was not so much as a bed available at the Cleveland Clinic for substance abuse. Today there is an entire ward.

When Sam left the Browns in 1984, he went to work for NBC and had his own pre-game show on ESPN. He stayed with sports broadcasting for about 5 years.  In 1989 he went to Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg Virginia.  "This gave me the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do; teach and be around 1950's kids with Christian values and beliefs." He became the winningest coach in the school's history.

Sam is also an author. He wrote the book "Pressure", which not only covers the story of an NFL Coach, but goes on to explain how he, and you, can handle the pressures we are faced with on a day to day basis. He may have been equally well known for his character and personality as a coach. He treated his players well and as individuals. He knew the importance of a healthy atmosphere for the players. He made a great impact on his players.

Sam and his wife always have (and always will) maintained a home in Cleveland. "This is where we want to live."

 

Greg Pruitt

Not since the days of Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly has a running back created as much excitement as Greg Pruitt.  Many think that Greg will go down as one of the most exciting players in Browns history.  He has been inducted into the Cleveland Sports Star Hall of Fame.  As a Cleveland Brown, Greg had three 1,000 yard rushing seasons-missing a fourth by a mere 40 yards despite missing four games to injuries.  Pruitt ranked fifth in the NFL behind Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Franco Harris, and Walter Payton with over 13,000 total offensive yards in his career.  His 4.71 yard average per carry was tops among active players with at least 230 carries.  His 5.7 yard average per carry for players with at least 5,000 yards was a record in NFL history at that time.

In 1974, Pruitt topped the AFC in kickoff returns with a 27.5 yard average.  After suffering a severe knee injury in 1979, Pruitt was placed into a receiving role.  He led the Browns in rushing for five consecutive years.  In 1981, Pruitt caught 65 passes which was the most among AFC running backs.  In 1982, Pruitt was traded to the Oakland Raiders for an 11th round draft pick.  During his first two seasons with Oakland, he led the Raiders in all punt and kickoff return categories.  Highlighting this achievement, Pruitt set a Raider record with 57 punt returns in one season with the longest being a 97 yard return for a touchdown.  During the 1983 season, he was the second leading kickoff returner in the AFC and he ranked third in the NFL with a 27.5 yard average per return, helping the Raiders win the NFL Championship in Super Bowl XVIII.  In addition to excelling on his own team, he was also recognized as one of the top players in the NFL by being selected to five Pro Bowls.  In the 1984 Pro Bowl, Pruitt made history with a 75 yard punt return.

In college, Greg rewrote college football history at the University of Oklahoma.  Pruitt was a consecutive All-American and all Big 8 as both a junior and senior while rushing for over 2,600 in two years.  Pruitt led his Sooners team in three bowl games throughout his college career- the Sugar Bowl twice and the Bluebonnet Bowl, where he received the Most Valuable Player Award.  As a junior student, Pruitt was the third runner-up in the 1971-72 Heisman Trophy balloting.  In his senior season (1972-73) as the team captain, Pruitt was the Washington Touchdown Club Player of the Year.  Furthermore, Pruitt was asked to join the other top college stars as a member of the College All-Star Team in the Hula Bowl.  As if making the team was not enough of an honor, Pruitt managed to win Most Valuable Player honors in this game.  Throughout his career at Oklahoma, Pruitt scored 40 touchdowns, and set several school records.  His 294 rushing yards versus Kansas set a record at Oklahoma for rushing in a single game.  He also set a school record for yards per carry with 7.4 and his best average per carry per yard of 9.4 yards was not only tops at the University of Oklahoma but also landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.  In addition, Pruitt was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.  Pruitt showed his athletic diversity by running on the track team where he finished second in the Big 8 Indoor Track Championships in the 60 yard low hurdles with a time of 6.6 seconds.

Greg Pruitt’s high school career at B.C. Elmore High School in Houston, Texas was marked with excellence which paved the way for his induction into the Texas High School Hall of Fame.  As a multidimensional student athlete, Pruitt earned All-State and All District honors in football, basketball, and track as a senior, and he earned All-District honors in baseball as a third baseman.  As a wingback in football, Pruitt caught over 100 passes in his senior season.  He also finished second in the 120 high hurdles at the State Championship track meet with a time of 13.6 seconds.

Pruitt’s commitment to community surpasses his sports accomplishments.  Greg is sincerely dedicated to helping people live happier lives, especially those less fortunate than him.  Greg has volunteered his time and provided leadership roles in a vast array of charitable and civic organizations.  Some of these groups include: Red Cross Blood Donor programs, the MOTEP Foundation, The United Way, The Lutheran Society, The Marines Toys for Tots drive, the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, the United Negro College Fund, Boy Scouts of America, March of Dimes, Swinging for Sight, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the Marion Motley/Earle Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the Governor’s Athletic Program.

Greg has a special attachment for youth and devotes much enthusiasm to the development of sportsmanship, leadership, and other desirable character traits in his “little” fans.  A degree in Journalism serves to broaden his appeal while his cheerful responses and informed presentations make him a winner at the podium like he was on the field.  He maintains an ever-present smile that reflects strong self-assurance in describing the accomplishments of his team and himself.

Greg is currently president of Pruitt & Associates General Contractors Company.  He personally supervises as well as performs on-site appraisals and labor on numerous residential projects throughout the Greater Cleveland area.  He formerly was president and CEO of Pruitt Vaughn, Inc. located in Houston, Texas.  Greg remains active in the sports world by making numerous appearances as a guest commentator on sports talk shows, as a celebrity player in charitable golf tournaments and speaker at athletic awards programs.  On December 11, 2010 Greg was inducted into the Texas African American Museum’s Black Sports Hall of Fame.  He divides his residency between Cleveland, Ohio and Houston, Texas.

Don Cockroft

Donald Lee Cockroft was born on February 6, 1945, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He spent much of his childhood living and working on the family farm near Delta, Colorado, with his four brothers.  His beloved mother, Eileen, and his stepfather, Bill Cockroft, raised Don and his brothers in a simple yet Christian based family environment.

A walk-on athlete at Adams State College (ASC) in Alamosa, Colorado, Don was awarded an athletic scholarship his freshman year, having earned a place on the football team as a punter/kicker. Wearing the number "O," he soon became known to his teammates and ASC fans as "Donny O" (Donny-Oh). In addition to his duties as punter--where his four-year career average was 44.5 yards per punt--Don also served as a backup quarterback and defensive back.

During his senior year in 1966, he earned a starting position as the team's strong safety. Don still holds the ASC single-season record of averaging 48.1 yards per punt which he accomplished during his senior year…a feat which earned him NAIA All-America honors and national recognition. In 1977, his football jersey ("O") was retired, one of only three retired in the history of the college. In 2000, Don was inducted into the Adams State College Athletic Hall of Fame and, in June of 2008, he was inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

Don's professional career in the NFL began in 1967 when he was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns (55th overall pick). During his 13-year association with the Browns, Don led the team in scoring during 12 of those seasons. He also set a franchise record with a 57 yard field goal in 1972 against the Denver Broncos. In addition, he kicked five field goals in one game against the Broncos in 1975.

Considered the last double-duty kicker in the NFL, Don averaged a respectable 40.4 yards per punt during his nine seasons as the Browns' punter. He was also the next-to-last straight-on kicker that the NFL would ever see. When his career ended in 1981, Don had amassed 1,080 points, second only to the legendary Lou "The Toe" Groza.

In 2002, Don was inducted into the Cleveland Sports Stars Hall of Fame and, in October 2007, he was inducted as a member of the Cleveland Browns Legends.

Throughout his professional and personal life, Don's faith in God, through Jesus Christ, has been a driving force behind all he has done. From public speaking before smaller groups to over 40,000 attendees at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1972, Don passionately shares his faith and what God is doing in his life. His 40-year involvement with the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) has afforded him the privilege of addressing innumerable audiences across the country.

Since his days in the NFL, Don is remarried and lives with his wife, Barb, in Canton, Ohio.  Don is the author (with Bob Moon) of The 1980 Kardiac Kids—Our Untold Stories.

 

 

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