Nov. 21, 2000
LOUISVILLE, KY –
University standout quarterback Chris Weinke has been named winner of the
2000 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation’s top
senior collegiate quarterback by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny
Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
Weinke triumphed over four other equally impressive finalists — Drew Brees
(Purdue), Bart Hendricks (Boise State), Josh Heupel (Oklahoma), Marques
Tuiasosopo (Washington — for the award named in honor of the former
University of Louisville and Baltimore Colts signalcaller.
Weinke tops all Division I-A passers with 4,167 yards while leading his
Seminoles to an 11-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in current Bowl
Championship Series standings.
A native of St. Paul, Minn., Weinke has completed 266 of 431 passes this
season, connecting on 33 touchdowns passes. His 33 TD strikes rank second
nationally behind Hendricks’ 35.
As an offense, Florida State ranks No. 1 nationally in passing averaging
384 yards a game and tops the nation in total offense posting 549 yards per
The nation’s top senior quarterback is selected for the award from a list
compiled by a select committee of football experts from across the United
Weinke will receive his Golden Arm Award in Louisville on December 8. NFL
Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas will attend the ceremony to make the
official presentation at the Grand Ballroom of the Galt House East Hotel in
The organization is currently accepting ticket orders for the award dinner
(502-587-7222 or 502-485-3331). Tickets are $30 each or tables of eight for
The prestigious award bears the name of who many refer to as the finest
quarterback to ever play the game of football. Established in 1987, the
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award has previously honored 13 outstanding young
The impressive list of past recipients includes Don McPherson (Syracuse,
1987), Rodney Peete (USC, 1988), Tony Rice (Notre Dame, 1989), Craig
Erickson (Miami, Fla., 1990), Casey Weldon (Florida St., 1991), Gino
Torretta (Miami, Fla., 1992), Charlie Ward (Florida St., 1993), Jay Barker
(Alabama, 1994), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska, 1995), Danny Wuerffel (Florida,
1996), Payton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Cade McNown (UCLA, 1998) and Chris
Redman (Louisville, 1999).
In addition to honoring a player with the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award,
the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational
Foundation has presented more than $300,000 in scholarships to deserving
scholar athletes from high schools and colleges. The organization was
formerly associated with the National Football Foundation and College Hall
of Fame. Caritas Health Services serves as the corporate sponsor for the
award and organization.
The namesake of the award has a storied history which has earned him
recognition by many as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
An 18-year veteran of the NFL, Unitas played his collegiate career at the
University of Louisville (1951-54), passing for 3,007 yards and 27
touchdowns. Unitas, who wore number 19 as a professional, had his No. 16
collegiate uniform retired at Louisville, the lone number retired by the
He began his 18-year pro career with the Baltimore Colts in 1956 and played
there until joining the San Diego Chargers for his final season. His career
passing figures are mind boggling. He completed 2,830 of 5,186 passes for
40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns during his 18-year NFL career. Among his
many records is one that may stand forever, throwing a touchdown pass in 47
Unitas was selected as the top quarterback of all-time by the Pro Football
Hall of Fame 36-member selection committee. In commemorating the NFL’s
25th, 50th and 75th anniversaries, he was also honored as the greatest
quarterback of all time. A Pro Bowl participant 10 times and a three-time
Most Valuable Player honoree, Unitas was inducted into the Professional
Football Hall of Fame in 1979. In turn of the century listings, Unitas was
featured among Sports Illustrated’s top ten athletes, Time’s ten most
influential athletes and in ESPN’s series on the 50 greatest athletes of
Additional information on the award or organization may be obtained from
Frank Gitschier (phone: 502-897-1599).